Spyro Reignited Trilogy's Lack of Subtitles Explained: "There’s No Industry Standard for Subtitles"
Activision released a statement regarding the lack of subtitles in Spyro Reignited Trilogy.
The Spyro Reignited Trilogy launched last week and since then I’ve seen a fair amount of people on Twitter talking about the lack of subtitles. At first, I thought that the developers hadn’t put any in at all, but then people were talking about how it wasn’t consistent. Finally, I looked into it and learned that the little purple dragon game doesn’t feature subtitles at all for the cutscenes.
Being a Deaf gamer myself, this was a bit of a kick in the gut especially after Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy lacked any subtitles at all. As it happens though, Gamepitt also noticed the lack of subtitles in Spyro Reignited Trilogy and reached out to both Activision and Toys for Bob for a comment.
A spokesperson for Activision responded to Gamepitt with the below statement:
“When Toys For Bob set out to make an awesome game collection, there were certain decisions that needed to be made throughout the process. The team remained committed to keep the integrity and legacy of Spyro that fans remembered intact. The game was built from the ground up using a new engine for the team (Unreal 4), and was localized in languages that had not previously been attempted by the studio. While there’s no industry standard for subtitles, the studio and Activision care about the fans’ experience especially with respect to accessibility for people with different abilities, and will evaluate going forward.”
Now, subtitles have been around for years. Be that through Teletext on your TV, DVD’s, and even Netflix. In fact, part of Netflix’s FAQ details that subtitles and closed-captions are “Primary Assets” which is why the majority of Netflix’s content has CC available. I believe all subtitles should be treated as such.
Additionally, according to SSIP, a multi-wave panel survey conducted annually by the U.S. Census Bureau, they looked into the “percentage of persons who report difficulty hearing normal conversation by age group in the United States in 2002.”
The below figures and statements were sourced from Gallaudet University
Across all age groups, in the United States, approximately 1,000,000 people (0.38% of the population, or 3.8 per 1,000) over 5 years of age are “functionally deaf;” more than half are over 65 years of age. About 8,000,000 people (3.7%) over 5 years of age are hard of hearing (that is, have some difficulty hearing normal conversation even with the use of a hearing aid). Again, more than half of those who are hard of hearing are over 65 years of age. We emphasize that these estimates are based upon self-reported (or informant-reported) hearing difficulty and not on independent audiometric measurements.
Furthermore, the NHIS which is conducted annually by National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) looked into the “percentage of persons who report some level of hearing trouble by age group, United States, 1997-2003”
“Across all age groups, approximately 600,000 people in the United States (0.22% of the population, or 2.2 per 1,000) are “deaf;” more than half are over 65 years of age. About 6,000,000 people (2.2%) report having “a lot of trouble” hearing with, again, more than half over 65 years of age. Over 28,000,000 people (10%) report having “a little trouble” hearing with just less than a third over 65 years of age, but more than half over 45 years of age. Altogether, more than 35,000,000 people (13%) report some degree of hearing trouble.”
I was unable to find a recent look at the figures, but it goes without saying that a large deal of the US population have trouble with hearing and would benefit from subtitles. The fact that subtitles are still being overlooked, especially by large companies is rather irritating.
The above statement from Activision’s Spokesperson is correct in the regards to the fact that subtitles are not industry standard for video games. It is, however, especially in today’s day and age, common decency to include subtitles as video games are played by a wide range of players.
The ending of the statement does give hope that there may be subtitles introduced in a later patch to the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. It just feels as if the social backlash has spurred the developer and publisher into adding it with no previous intention to do so.
The Spyro Reignited Trilogy is now available on Xbox One and PS4.