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EA adapting Dead Space 2 for disabled players

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Dead Space 2

While the year's barely underway, Dead Space 2 is already standing out as one of the must-have titles for 2011. But some players, like Gareth
Garratt, have found themselves left out of the action.

Garratt, who has cerebral palsy, tried the game on his PC but was unable to customize the controls enough to play. The frustration led him to post about his experience on a U.K. gaming board.

Generally, that's about as far as these stories go -- but in
this case, developer Visceral Games caught wind of the complaint and
immediately began working on a way to fix it. Gareth, they say, should be
playing the game shortly.

"The Dead Space 2 team is aware of the issue that disabled players are having with Dead Space 2 PC," executive Producer Steve Papoutsis told Joystiq. "In fact a number of folks on our team are so passionate about getting this fix done that they are currently working hard to allow players to re-map key bindings to the mouse which should help disabled players enjoy the game. … Thank you for taking up the cause for our disabled players and letting
us know about this problem. Once the patch is fully tested we will announce a
release date."

Garratt's story has turned attention to an online petition -- started by quadriplegic gamer Chuck Bittner -- to make the controls of any game re-mappable (in other words, able to assign any function to any button they desire). To date, that petition has received over 26,000 signatures. More importantly, publishers are starting to pay attention.

As video games have become a more significant part of the entertainment landscape, there has been an increased focus on their accessibility for people with disabilities.

Sony's MLB 11: The Show, due in stores March 8, will feature a new mode specifically designed for disabled gamers. In the "Association for Disabled Virtual Athletes" mode, a single button will handle bat swings, pitches and fielding, while the game's A.I. will control base running. The method came about when Hans Smith, a 25-year old with cerebral palsy, wrote a fan letter to the developer several years ago.

Last year, The AbleGamers Foundation acknowledged 2009's Forza 3 for its wide range of options for players with disabilities, such as auto braking, single-tap acceleration and the ability to play with only two buttons.

Wondering how Garatt plays? Check out his racing game
skills:

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