The Vale: Shadow of the Crown Will Force You To Survive Without Your Sight

It’s always been the case that audio is key to good horror. What would Jason be without his “sh sh sh, ha ha ha…” Or Jaws without his “duh nun.” Or The Exorcist without “da dun da do da do dah do dun, da do da do dah do dun.” I have a few blind friends, and their favorite genre is horror. They say it’s the only genre they don’t really need to see to feel. It makes sense. How much of horror is the actual kill, and how much is waiting in silence for the slightest creak and footstep?

Accessibility is becoming a big topic in gaming lately. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, accessibility is a catch-all term for how playable your title is to people with disabilities. This can be having a colorblind mode, subtitles for the hearing impaired, or functionality of adaptive controllers for those without the full function of their hands. It’s a wonderful emerging field. My hats always go off to those working to make their games more accessible. Or, in developer Falling Squirrel’s case, a game entirely tailored for a specific group. Here’s more details from the official press release:

Developed in close consultation with the Canadian Institute for the Blind (CNIB), The Vale: Shadow of the Crown utilizes the latest in assistive technologies, including binaural audio and haptic controller feedback, to create an immersive experience and a thrilling action-adventure game. Falling Squirrel is committed to their mandate to develop inclusive and accessible games — its development features sincere and deliberate representation by employing visually impaired voice actors and developers.

The Vale: Shadow of the Crown is a distinct gameplay experience that foregoes traditional visual gameplay, utilizing binaural audio technology and haptic controller feedback to create an immersive world that brings high-caliber gaming to visually impaired and sighted gamers alike. Players surround themselves in an emotional story of the Second-to-the-Throne — blind from birth and recently exiled to the edges of the kingdom upon the coronation of their elder brother as King of the land. Through the ears of the hero, players must embark on a treacherous journey as they explore the world around them, fight off enemies in challenging, interactive combat, hunt resources, acquire gear, and lose themselves in the rich narrative supported by top-tier voice acting.

If you’re worried the game is just an audioplay, think again. The Vale will feature full RPG elements, including character customization, branching magic paths, looting, quests… you know, RPG stuff. Combat will be entirely audio-based, featuring both scripted and random encounters from a variety of enemies. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they all do it myself. It’s hard enough to make a normal RPG. Having to do all that through audio is impressive.

If you want to check out The Vale: Shadow of the Crown, you can play it when it launches Q2 2020 for Xbox One and PC. Until then, check out the Steam store page for more info. This is the kind of game I love to support, so definitely support the devs if you have the chance.

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