Guerilla Games has added a thalassophobia accessibility mode to Horizon Forbidden West, to make underwater parts easier to manage.
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Earlier this week, Guerilla Games took to the Horizon series’ subreddit to discuss Patch 1.21 for Horizon Forbidden West. Along with preparing the game for the PlayStation 5-exclusive Burning Shores DLC, a variety of accessibility features were included. These include larger subtitles, auto-pickup, color blindness settings, auto camera, navigation assist in Focus Mode, and other options that further improve player experience.
One of these additions is “Thalassophobia mode.” In a later FAQ post for Burning Shores, Guerilla Games explains “This feature aims to ease thalassophobia symptoms by improving underwater ambient visibility and allowing you to breathe indefinitely, regardless of story progression.”
Thalassophobia is the fear of the sea and other deep bodies of water — typically when it appears vast and with land being very distant or out of sight.
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Horizon Forbidden West features sections where players can explore deep underwater, with some missions and objectives taking place beneath the waves. Though usually brightly colored, some locations can get dark at night. Even so, the game did showcase diving underwater in promotional images and trailers even from it’s announcement.
Underwater gameplay and cutscenes were also shown in the Gameplay Trailer, New Threats Gameplay Trailer, Story Trailer, Cinematic Trailer, and Launch Trailer for the Burning Shores DLC.
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Some may question why someone with thalassophobia would play a game that features the seas and ocean so prominently. Even so, games have introduced special modes to help their players deal with various phobias.
Most notably, arachnophobia modes have been included in games such as Grounded, where the player is shrunk down to a few millimeters in height. Evil West also allows players to disable spiders in area where sheer swarms of them exist. While the Cleaveland Clinic estimates 3% to 15% of the US population are arachnophobic, professional figures for thalassophobia are harder to find.
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