Blizzard to create Hearthstone accessibility tools after dev bows out

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You might not know it, but it’s been a strange week for visually impaired Hearthstone fans. The delight they might have had at the reveal of the Lich King expansion last week was almost immediately dulled by the announcement that Hearthstone Access, a third-party add-on developed to assist screen-reader users in playing the game, would no longer see updates in the future.

Of course, this is a very big deal for the Hearthstone accessibility community and should be for any gaming community, so it sent shockwaves through those who use it to play every day. The end of the project comes as a result of the solo dev behind the project, known as GuideDev, releasing a statement explaining their current circumstances, and why it’s no longer possible for them to keep updating Hearthstone Access, especially with the bi-monthly updates to the game.

Then, just a few days after the announcement that Hearthstone Access would see no further updates, Blizzard shared some good news. It seems the developer has been listening to its audience and put out a long statement on how Hearthstone Access features are to be picked up by the team at Blizzard, and while there might be a while to wait for full implementation, the team are committed to delivering an experience playable by the visually impaired.

Better still, Blizzard is actively seeking the feedback of those who have used or would prefer to use Hearthstone with accessibility features to create more effective tools to engage players, including changes to the sound balancing to make gameplay more coherent for those who need to listen to effect text. The short statement from the Hearthstone devs ends with a thank you to GuideDev, something echoed by the wider Hearthstone accessibility community, in what should be seen as a rare win for all parties involved. You don’t see much of that in this industry.

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With that, you’re up to date on the state of Hearthstone accessibility. For more quick-fire card games, see our picks for the best Marvel Snap decks.

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