Sony announces Project Leonardo, a PS5 accessibility controller
During Sony’s CES 2023 presentation, the company shared that it’s working on a new accessibility controller kit, codenamed “Project Leonardo”.
Sony shared in an official blog post that it consulted with video game accessibility advocates like AbleGamers and SpecialEffect to create a controller that is “highly configurable” and “works in tandem with many third-party accessibility accessories.”
Leonardo’s kit features PlayStation 5 face and trigger buttons that can be swapped around a wide circular gamepad as well as a joystick which can be repositioned relative to the gamepad. It will also come with accessories in a variety of shapes and sizes for “players to find a configuration that works for their strength, range of motion, and particular physical needs,” and has four 3.5mm aux jacks to plug in third-party accessibility accessories, similar to Microsoft’s Adaptive Controller.
Leonardo can be used as a standalone controller, as a pair, or in concert with the PS5’s bundled DualSense wireless controller, making it adaptable for a range of accessibility needs. Leonardo’s physical customization capabilities are matched by its software options; Leonardo will allow players to map functions to various buttons and save three different configurations as profiles for ease of use.
While Sony’s first-party games have been pretty good at offering a robust suite of accessibility options — both The Last of Us and God of War Ragnarök have won Game Awards for accessibility — it’s lagged in terms of accessible hardware. Microsoft released its Adaptive Controller in 2018 and in 2021, it launched a program in which developers can submit their games to Microsoft to have them evaluated for accessibility and tested by gamers with disabilities.
Project Leonardo is still in development with no word yet on a release date.