This is especially impressive given what a complex game Bayonetta 2 is. Yet developer Platinum Games went out of its way to implement a variety of control schemes that made its dazzling hack-and-slash action affair accessible to all, going so far as to include a one-button touch-screen interface.
"Bayonetta 2 pulls out all the stops for accessible game design while staying true to their creative vision, revitalising a genre known for inaccessibility, on a system inherently inaccessible, but ultimately making a near perfect example of game accessibility," AbleGamers stated upon bestowing the award.
"This game allows players to choose from a plethora of options with the WiiU GamePad, Pro Controller, the GamePad's touch screen, or in any combination that is most comfortable for the player. Some might say this is a visual masterpiece with astonishing graphics, top tier subtitles, and a visual style carefully crafted to not impede the enjoyment of the game for those with colourblindness.
"Bayonetta 2 stands out among other accessible mainstream games by paying careful attention to user friendly game experience. The inclusion of a one-button combat mode creates an experience other character action titles should implement. As a proof of concept, this game demonstrates that accessibility can be implemented into a mainstream AAA game without harming any of the gameplay."
AbleGamers also noted that Bayonetta 2's "multiple control schemes interchangeably allow combat to be as streamlined as possible without degrading any of the overarching game play design choices. Touch and motion controls are optional, quick time events are of minimal impact to the game play thanks to the one-button mode, and yet still allows for more experienced players to set up challenges they deem appropriate to tackle."
AbleGamers has a separate category for indie games and this year it settled on a tie between Vegabond Dog's Always Sometimes Monsters and 11 Bit Studios' This War of Mine.
"Always Sometimes Monsters is a game of choices, much like the choice Vagabond Dog made to keep a focus on accessible game design. Game play is never action-based, allowing the player to follow the story and complete objectives at their own pace," AbleGamers said. "Colour never plays into core gameplay elements without other descriptors. The game is entirely text based with fantastically created closed captions. Vagabond has created a world that allows players to follow a story they create from their own choices, and does not let anything stand in the way of accessible options for players to enjoy."
Looking at This War of Mine, AbleGamers stated, "The team at 11 Bit Studios makes the full experience of the atrocities of war accessible by careful consideration of controls and theme. Allowing the game to be controlled only by the mouse creates an amazingly accessible PC title while being very tense. 11 Bit Studios dedicates a conscious effort to a colourblind friendly art style that only increases their game's style. Audio accessibility is carefully considered by the team, turning footsteps into visual information and sticking to their game's theme. This War of Mine is a somber tale, with careful consideration to features that allow anyone to witness that experience."
Other nominations by AbleGamers for 2014 included Hearthstone, Pokemon Alpha Sapphire / Omega Ruby, Tropico 5, The Sims 4, and Civilization: Beyond Earth.
Get your first month for £1 (normally £3.99) when you buy a Standard Eurogamer subscription. Enjoy ad-free browsing, merch discounts, our monthly letter from the editor, and show your support with a supporter-exclusive comment flair!