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Horizon Forbidden West's new accessibility features address the fear of deep water

The latest update arrives just as Guerrilla releases the 'Burning Shores' expansion.

Guerrilla Games/PlayStation Studios

Horizon Forbidden West is a fantastic game. Along with upgraded gameplay and visuals and an even wilder story, it builds on the vast open world of Horizon Zero Dawn by introducing fresh environments to explore, including flooded areas and the open ocean.

However, those who have a fear of deep bodies of water (thalassophobia) may not have found it easy to play the game, which requires players to explore underwater as part of the main story. Guerrilla is finally addressing that and other accessibility issues in the latest patch.

The update, which arrives alongside the Burning Shores expansion, adds a thalassophobia mode to Horizon Forbidden West. The studio wrote in an FAQ that this "aims to ease thalassophobia symptoms by improving underwater ambient visibility and allowing you to breathe indefinitely, regardless of story progression."

Other updates include additional color blindness settings and the option to make waypoints and quest icons larger. There's now a way to reorientate the camera in Focus mode to point it towards the current objective, along with an auto camera function that follows Aloy based on how you move the left thumbstick. In other words, you won't need to use the right stick to move the camera.

In addition, there are larger subtitles and the ability to darken the edges of the screen to boost the contrast. The update rolls in one more very welcome quality-of-life feature in the form of automatic pickups. So, Aloy can grab items without you having to press or hold a button every single time.

Sony has placed a greater focus on accessibility in its first-party games in recent years. The likes of The Last of Us Part II, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart and God of War Ragnarok have extensive accessibility options. The company hasn't quite perfected accessibility — a review of The Last of Us Part I on PC criticized that version for not offering full control remapping. But, as this update to Horizon Forbidden West over a year after the game's debut shows, the company is willing to keep improving its games' accessibility over time.