Final Fantasy 14’s New Sage Icon is a Big Step Toward More Inclusivity
Popular MMORPGsFinal Fantasy 14The icon for its new character class has been changed to better suit trypophobic gamers. This is a welcome step towards inclusivity in video gaming. Square Enix has revealed details about the new classes, reaper, and sage, which will be added to the game’s upcoming expansion.Final Fantasy 14 – EndwalkerWebsite. Although most people were happy with the information, some fans felt uncomfortable about the icon representing the sage class.
Trypophobia is a fear or disgust that results from seeing small holes or irregular patterns. Although trypophobia is not something that many people have ever heard of, it is more common than most people realize. In 2013, 16 percent of 286 participants felt discomfort when they were presented with trypophobic imagery (e.g., a photo of a lotus seedpod). This was according to an Association for Psychological Science (APS). Some other possible triggering imagery could include honeycombs, strawberries, or pomegranates.
Recently, Naoki Yoshida, producer of Final Fantasy 14 published a blog post on the Final Fantasy 14 site in which he explained that the development team had received a lot of feedback from trypanophobia users about the sage symbol. The Final Fantasy 14 team revised the sage icon in light of the feedback. Yoshida stated that he believes it was the right decision to make, given the fact that job icons can be seen throughout the game and are displayed on merchandise. Yoshida requests that players be understanding of others and the original icon design for the Sage Job.
Final Fantasy 14’s Decision is Big
Understandably, Square Enix and Yoshida are trying to avoid bad publicity with Final Fantasy 14 Endwalker due to be released at the end of the year. Final Fantasy 14 is a top-rated MMORPG, surpassing World of Warcraft’s player count. Square Enix must be open and inclusive to keep that popularity. Online games, especially MMORPGs, are shaped by their fans. A few players leaving leaves fewer fans, which is a defeat for a “Massively Multiplayer Online” game. It is admirable that Square Enix and Yoshida dealt with the trypophobia issue so quickly and professionally.
Final Fantasy 14 is not the only game making efforts to make accessibility easier. Ratchet and Clank’s Rift Apart was also praised for its accessibility options. For example, a HUD allows players to change the color of each element, which improves the accessibility experience for color-blind gamers. Microsoft recently emphasized inclusive features. Microsoft has also announced the Xbox Accessibility Insider League. This league allows players with disabilities to give feedback to studios regarding accessibility. Psychonauts 2 will feature an invincibility toggle, which allows gamers of all skill levels to play the entire game.
Some gamers might argue that some game development decisions that prevent certain players from playing games are made because of an artistic vision or to deliver a specific experience. This is the case with Dark Souls’ famous static difficulty. These thoughts are valid. However, in the case of Final Fantasy 14, the redesign of the Sage icon should allow more people to enjoy the game and participate in the growing hobby.