Activision defends deliberate decision not to subtitle cutscenes in Spyro Reignited Collection

Activision has responded to criticism that Spyro Reignited Collection lacks subtitled cutscenes by stating there is "no industry standard for subtitles".

Gaming blog GamePitt (via reported that while there are instructional subtitles when you’re talking to NPCs, "when you enter any of the newly created pre-rendered cutscenes, there are no subtitles to be found. You know, the parts which actually set up the story and tells you what’s been happening and what’s about to happen!"

As this makes much of the story inaccessible for deaf or hard-of-hearing players, GamePitt reached out to Activision for clarification on why the subtitles were missing from the action-orientated cutscenes and received this 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."

"It absolutely is an industry standard, Activision’s statement is simply incorrect," countered accessibility specialist Ian Hamilton on Twitter. "It doesn’t have to be a legal or cert requirement for it to be standard. We’re in 2018 not 1998, the entire industry voluntarily including subtitles means including them is an industry standard."

"The uproar over lack of subtitles in the first Assassin’s Creed game back in 2007 resulted in Ubisoft introducing a publisher level certification requirement requiring all Ubi games to have subtitles," Hamilton added. "I hope Activision can take the current uproar as a cue to implement the same."

This week’s charts saw the Spyro Reignited Trilogy debuting at No.1, a first for the franchise since the release of the original PlayStation game back in 1998. However, Pokémon Let’s Go has technically sold more units, but chart company GfK treats Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee as two separate entries in the charts.

“We’ve always had an affinity for Spyro,” Paul Yan, studio head at Activision-owned Toys for Bob, the developer tasked with recreating Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage and Spyro: Year of the Dragon for this remastered trilogy told MCV. “Even though the Skylanders universe is heavily inspired by the original Spyro games, when the time came to return to Spyro’s roots with Spyro Reignited Trilogy, we consciously decided these were two different characters. We want to make sure we’re returning to classic Spyro and making the distinction really helped guide our creative decisions.”

“The team at Vicarious Visions did an amazing job on Crash Bandicoot – they’ve set a high bar!” 

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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