PlayStation makes gaming on the PS5 more accessible with Project Leonardo, a customizable controller kit. Accessibility experts made vital contributions to the kit’s design, as PlayStation aims to help gamers with disabilities play games with greater comfort and ease.
“Accessibility is an important topic to us at PlayStation, and we want to continue raising the bar to enable every gamer to experience the joy of play,” states PlayStation in a blog post.
According to Sony Interactive Entertainment Designer So Morimoto, Project Leonard gains inspiration from the vision of all players worldwide enjoying PlayStation together. After testing more than a dozen potential designs, the Project Leonardo team chose a split controller design.
Project Leonardo’s Split Controller Design
“Because players can customize Project Leonardo according to their needs, there is no one ‘right’ form factor,” says Morimoto. “We want to empower them to create their own configurations. The controller can also flexibly accept combinations of accessibility accessories to create a unique aesthetic. I am excited that the design will be completed through collaboration with players rather than presenting them with a single form factor.”
Due to the spilt controller design, players can use the controller without holding it and swap buttons and stick caps to create their ideal setup. Buttons come in various shapes and sizes and players can reposition the analog sticks to be as close together or far apart as they prefer.
Though Project Leonardo is still in development, the kit is already compatible with a plethora of third-party accessibility accessories.
Players can also program buttons to support different functions, including mapping multiple functions to a singular button. Additionally, programmed button functions can be saved to control profiles that the user can easily switch between.
Project Leonardo works as a standalone controller. However, it can also pair with a Dual Sense wireless controller and a second Project Leonardo kit. Players can mix and match to create a controller that works for them. A friend or family member can also assist the gamer by controlling their characters via a Dual Sense controller or a secondary Project Leonardo controller.
Microsoft launched tools in 2022 to aid developers in making their games more accessible. With the announcement of the upcoming accessible controller, one wonders if PlayStation will roll out similar tools soon.