Making Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR an accessible experience: A chat with game director Olivier Palmieri

The team behind Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR set out with a clear goal: to deliver the full Assassin’s Creed experience in virtual reality while making it as widely accessible to as possible.  

Since its release on November 16 for Meta Quest 2, Meta Quest Pro, and Meta Quest 3, the game has been praised for its cutting-edge accessibility features.  

A few weeks after speaking at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), game director Olivier Palmieri shared insights with us about his team’s strategy, their key takeaways, and why it’s vital to talk about accessibility in gaming.  


VR typically has unique challenges when it comes to accessibility. How did you and your team address those challenges?  

Olivier Palmieri: From the start of the project, one of our priorities was to make Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR accessible and comfortable to as many players as possible.  

We defined three pillars for our accessibility features: motor, visual, and auditory. For example, we developed a feature called Holster Assist to allow the player to select weapons without having to physically reach above the shoulders. Another feature called Auto-Parkour allows for continuous parkour without having to hold down buttons and sticks. For visuals, for instance, there is an option to tune the brightness of the game up or down. For audio, we have, among others, advanced subtitles, and the possibility to switch the entire game to mono.  

Finally, we also developed features to mitigate a potential fear of heights, with the option to display a grid at the user’s feet to show where the player’s real ground is. This grid can also appear as a three-dimensional cube around the player. Finally, during the Leap of Faith, or falls, a tunnel-vision effect comes into play to hide parts of the world, to mitigate the fear of jumping from up high into a haystack.  


Playing as an Assassin in VR evokes a lot of physicality. Yet Assassin’s Creed Nexus can be played sitting down. How did you achieve this?  

OP: Indeed, among the many features we developed for accessibility is a seated mode. This allows a player to fully play the game while seated. We then adapt several systems, such as the grabbing distance, for the experience to be adapted and equivalent to the standing mode in terms of gameplay and mechanics and difficulty, such as for combat, parkour, and stealth.  

Locomotion modes such as Teleport can also be combined with seated mode to navigate the game world with ease and comfort.  

How did you approach the issue of motion sickness in Assassin’s Creed Nexus?  

OP: One of the key aspects to enjoying virtual reality is to be comfortable and avoid motion sickness. So, it was crucial for us to make it a priority from the start of the game’s development.  

Based on continuous research on causes and solutions to motion discomfort, from our almost 10 years of experience developing VR, we implemented many features for Nexus VR to try to make it as comfortable to play as possible.  

We have developed many features that can be combined or customized and regrouped in presets to make it simpler.  

Examples of comfort features are “dynamic vignettes,” which sense when there is motion in the player’s field of view, and dynamically hide the peripheral vision, which is the most sensitive to motion in the human vision system.

Another comfort feature is the “virtual nose.” Indeed, when wearing a VR headset, users generally don’t see their real nose anymore, as it’s covered by the headset. This can be a bit disturbing for the brain, as our vision system is used to seeing our nose constantly in our field of view; you may see it appear in your field of view as you are reading, for example. Recreating a virtual nose allows to put back this reference in the field of view of the players in VR and helps with comfort.  


Which feature are you most proud of when it comes to accessibility in Assassin’s Creed Nexus?  

OP: Beyond the features that allow for more comfort with locomotion through the game’s world, we developed a locomotion method called Teleport, which allows players to teleport from one location to another, removing potential remaining motion sickness.  

It works by replacing motion through space with instantaneous teleportation from one point to another. We made it on par with standard locomotion in terms of game systems, rules, and difficulty, but we also developed what we call the Climb Teleport, which we believe is a first in VR, to allow players to climb anywhere, selecting the next opportunity and teleporting directly there.  

Reflecting on all the work done on Assassin’s Creed Nexus in terms of accessibility, what lessons do you think could be applied to non-VR productions? 

OP: Some accessibility features we developed are a perfect fit for virtual reality’s unique, physically-drive control schemes. Yet, these features could also enhance games on platforms with similar mechanisms, such as motion-based games on the Nintendo Switch. Other features—targeting visual, auditory, and cognitive needs—could be universally applied.
Broadly speaking, accessibility features can enrich gameplay for everyone, offering new ways to play or control your character. Take our Auto-Parkour feature, designed for motor accessibility. It lets players navigate complex movements with a simple glance—no physical exertion or button-pressing required. This is a feature that could appeal to a broad audience, adding a fresh twist to gameplay.  

Why did you feel it was important to discuss accessibility at the GDC?   

The broader our games’ reach, the more people from all walks of life can dive into and enjoy our creations. For Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR, fostering an immersive and enjoyable VR experience for the widest possible audience was a priority. It’s a huge achievement for us, as game developers.  

The GDC was the perfect platform to showcase the accessibility features we woven into our game, potentially inspiring other developers in their own games and experiences. Accessibility is a growing focus at the GDC, and it’s a conversation that deserves to be amplified even further.  


Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR launched on November 16 for Meta Quest 2, Meta Quest Pro, and Meta Quest 3. For more on Assassin’s Creed Nexus, check out the official website.