Game director Eric Williams has explained that the incredible number of God of War Ragnarok accessibility options came from being pressured by Naughty Dog. It was revealed by lead UX designer Mila Pavlin in September that God of War Ragnarok has over 60 accessibility features, including audio cues, auto-sprinting, direction indicators, and a high contrast mode.
Santa Monica Studio wanted to keep up with other first-party PlayStation developers
Williams describes how much Santa Monica Studio wanted to match Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us in terms of accessibility options in an interview with GamesRadar:
So it wasn’t like ‘oh, we’ll take a couple of times to get up to Naughty Dog’s level’. No, we’re just going to go match them one-for-one, right now, with this game. We’re part of the first-party studio system – we have to lead the way. [Naughty Dog] put out the first flag, and we need to go right behind them. Then it’ll push more studios to do this and more people can play games.
On a personal front, the developer also recounts a letter the studio received from a kid who loved the God of War reboot but was stuck “in a desert for like four hours.” The reason was because it had an audio puzzle, and he was deaf. That realization made him push the team to make God of War Ragnarok better for players with various disabilities.