Cyberpunk 2077 epilepsy warning

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gkhan

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#1  Edited By gkhan

This short article from Game Informer is really disturbing: https://www.gameinformer.com/2020/12/07/cyberpunk-2077-epileptic-psa

When "suiting up" for a BD, especially with Judy, V will be given a headset that is meant to onset the instance. The headset fits over both eyes and features a rapid onslaught of white and red blinking LEDs, much like the actual device neurologists use in real life to trigger a seizure when they need to trigger one for diagnosis purposes. If not modeled off of the IRL design, it's a very spot-on coincidence, and because of that this is one aspect that I would personally advise you to avoid altogether. When you notice the headset come into play, look away completely or close your eyes. This is a pattern of lights designed to trigger an epileptic episode and it very much did that in my own personal playthrough.

This seems to be the part of the game the article refers to (WARNING! EPILEPSY TRIGGER!): https://youtu.be/mCAhG52Fe50?t=137

I get that games by their very nature are dangerous to people with epilepsy (which is why there's that warning on every game and console), but this really seems like they've gone out of their way to create specific epilepsy triggers. Like, it's entirely conceivable that many players will find out they have it from playing this game.

I can't believe this was allowed to pass cert in this state, this seems outright dangerous. CDPR needs to fix this, and if they don't, I kinda think both Microsoft and Sony should pull it from their stores. This is just not ok.

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dudeglove

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People with epilepsy are well aware of being careful about screen flicker and proper lighting, but deliberately reproducing something akin to the EEG strobe test in a game is wilfully ignorant and irresponsible. CDPR aren't some janky developer - they're worth more than Ubisoft nowadays.

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bigsocrates

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This is completely and utterly irresponsible and frankly needs to be patched immediately much more than any bugs that impact gameplay.

What a horrible thing to do. It's 2020 and anyone who pays the least attention to electronic entertainment of any kind should know about epilepsy triggers at this point. A company as big as CD Projekt Red should have someone on staff with responsibility to make sure there are no high probability epilepsy triggers in their game (not as a full time job but as part of like their QA responsibilities.)

They need to patch this before release if possible but if not it should be the #1 priority and they should at the very least put in a stronger warning to the game until it can be patched out.

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MezZa

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#4  Edited By MezZa

Yeah this has got to be patched out. I get that for those sequences they're trying to evoke a whole stimulating your brain through this headset kinda deal but it's incredibly irresponsible to create something so similar to an actual test that induces seizures to detect epilepsy. Putting some flashing lights in the headset adds nothing of significant value and is a health risk to people affected by this, so yeah, it's gotta go. Can't believe they couldn't catch that or even just question it when deciding to implement.

I like CDPR's work on other games and I'm sure this will be a fun game, but they have been doing this more than long enough to know better. Kinda baffling really. Hopefully they jump on it asap.

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imhungry

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It's really bonkers that something like this is allowed to make it past cert by the console manufacturers. From the horror stories about what a tough process cert is that have been shared over the years you would really hope they'd catch something outright dangerous like this.

Shame on all involved really.

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Efesell

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@djredbat: This was reported because the person reviewing the game had a seizure.

So get the fuck outta here with probably not a big deal.

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MezZa

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#8  Edited By MezZa

@djredbat: May want to re-read the article. The writer had a seizure. And they also stated that it was flashing red and white lights which doesn't match with the footage of it that we saw back in June. It's possible the light pattern has changed since June.

Also, not all strobing lights are equal. The properties of it are significant. There's a reason why some strobe lights are relatively safer and others are not. It's not just a simple lights flash in all kinds of things what's the big deal situation.

Worth re-iterating: seizures are serious and can be life threatening. Especially in gaming environments since gaming is often a solo experience. Imagine someone getting a seizure in their apartment at night alone playing the game. That has to be avoided on CDPR's part.

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fetchfox

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This is really too bad, I'm sorry for the experience the reviewer had. They seem too working on a fix according to their official twitter:

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PortableDan

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@fetchfox: Good to see action. The way it's implemented, though, it really looks like it was intentional. I bet there could be an amazing oral history of this game some day.

As someone who experiences seizures, I have to say the EULA does not prompt the sort of awareness I'd need to have about this game. I play games, and it's on all the games. This is an entirely different level, and I'm extremely glad to know so I don't put myself in a dangerous situation by playing the game.

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Efesell

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Eh, I don't think it looks intentional. I don't believe CDPR is adding features they know would be dangerous to people.

What I do believe is that they probably had a very myopic vision in mind for this game and that several levels of carelessness let something like this pass through unchallenged.

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bigsocrates

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@efesell: I don't think that CDPR did it intentionally, I think it was just lazy and thoughtless, but...

https://twitter.com/DirtyEffinHippy/status/1336204870970433536

Fanboys can just be the worst. This whole thing is just super depressing and enraging. People need to be better. Both more thoughtful and conscientious (CDPR) and less freakin' psychotic (people intentionally trying to trigger epilepsy in someone because they don't like that she criticized a video game.)

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Efesell

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Yeah all of that was especially a bummer. There's something...predictable about toxicity around review scores. It's not acceptable by any means but it was expected.

I would have liked to think we could all come together and agree that games shouldn't actually be dangerous to anyone who plays them however.

But nah, people out in droves worrying about a company instead.

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Schmollian

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I'm no scientist, but I'm wondering if anyone knows if the type of display could affect an epileptic when it comes to flashing lights in games.

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plan6

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@schmollian: Yes. If you read the article you will find there is a specific sequence of flashing lights that doctors use to trigger a seizure.

I could explain more, but I’m going to encourage you read the article instead.

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Justin258

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I've never had any seizures or any other signs of epilepsy, but I do think flashing lights are irritating (flickering lights in Dead Space, or towards the end of the first Alien, come to mind), and these sorts of things seem to be everywhere. Hard rock concerts and horror movies seem to be the first thing that come to mind. Really, any sort of "harsh" entertainment seems prone to flashing lights.

With that in mind, this doesn't seem intentional, though it does look irresponsible, and extreme crunch for a long period of time probably kept people from even thinking about this.

@efesell said:

@djredbat: This was reported because the person reviewing the game had a seizure.

So get the fuck outta here with probably not a big deal.

I'll agree that it's a big deal, but I'd also like to see someone examine why this wasn't brought up when it was shown a long time ago. That's not an invalid question. Is it just a chance thing? Did there happen to be no overlap between epileptics and people who watched this trailer? Or is it more likely that no one with a public speaking voice had time or inclination to watch the trailer so the people who noticed it just never got their voice heard?

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Humanity

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Im actually a lot more curious to hear why this made it past cert which is supposed to be this end—all gatekeeper.

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plan6

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@justin258: my guy, could you read the article? All your questions will be answered.

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Efesell

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@justin258: There's a threshold to when something like this is especially dangerous. Could be that there's a difference in the trailers and finished product. Could be that there is a general accessibility blindspot in games that we are only now slowly started to focus on more.

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LapsarianGiraff

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So much could be solved by people reading the actual articles linked in forum posts, ha.

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Efesell

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#22  Edited By Efesell

@djredbat: You are probably right, the vast majority of people playing this game most likely will not experience this problem.

But, and I cannot stress enough that it is a very important But..

That doesn't fucking matter.

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LapsarianGiraff

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@djredbat: You're responding to a criticism no one has. This won't affect the majority of players -- but anyone prone to seizures has a much higher probability to be affected by this than most flashing lights in games, seeing as it's literally a pattern used by medical professionals to trigger seizures.

Have some empathy, dude.

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SethMode

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@djredbat said:

@mezza: Yes that sucks, but the writer is highly prone to having seizures. So its something that will effect a very small amount of people like any other game with flashing lights.

Have you still not read the article?

"When "suiting up" for a BD, especially with Judy, V will be given a headset that is meant to onset the instance. The headset fits over both eyes and features a rapid onslaught of white and red blinking LEDs, much like the actual device neurologists use in real life to trigger a seizure when they need to trigger one for diagnosis purposes. If not modeled off of the IRL design, it's a very spot-on coincidence, and because of that this is one aspect that I would personally advise you to avoid altogether. When you notice the headset come into play, look away completely or close your eyes. This is a pattern of lights designed to trigger an epileptic episode and it very much did that in my own personal playthrough."

Regardless, this idea that it will only be a problem for "a very small amount of people like any other game with flashing lights" feels like it's said without complete information (since the game isn't out yet), and more than that is pretty callous and tone deaf. It's basically "well, it won't effect me, so is it even a big deal?"

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RobertForster

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This is awful. Please be careful. My best friend died of an epileptic grand mal seizure. He had had thousands of seizures before and was always okay, until one day when his parents left him for 20 minutes to go to the grocery store. When they came back, there was nothing anyone could do. He loved video games more than anyone I ever knew and wanted to have a career in them. He wouldn’t want what happened to him to ever happen to anyone else. This is the most serious issue I have ever heard of in a videogame. It is absolutely life-threatening. Be careful, and contact anyone you know who has epilepsy to warn them.

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MezZa

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#27  Edited By MezZa

@djredbat: And why do you think what you're saying changes the conversation? Genuinely trying to understand the purpose of responding to someone's PSA on a health issue the experienced with a game in this way.

Let's assume a very small percent of players are affected because that does seem likely given the general number of people with epilepsy. However, is it not worth discussing and raising awareness about? Is it not worth CDPR adding an additional warning or adding accessibility options that adjust the sequence causing the issue? Is one person saying "hey I had an issue with this specific event moreso than in some other games so be careful" to help others who are also susceptible really a problem worth brushing off as you are? The writer even describes other games that have caused issues to help set a benchmark. Maybe someone who's also struggled with similar games can look at that and say hey maybe I should be extra careful this time.

You're saying that it'll only affect a small portion of people as if that changes anything. It doesn't have to risk the health of a majority of players for it to matter. Even one person harming themselves without proper warning is far too many. We're talking about health risks to other human beings. Which again I reiterate, what is your point to say Oh probably not a big deal cause only some people will deal with it. Is it really just to let us know that you don't care that much?

Does it really have to be at the level of hundred of players in mass for you to care enough to think it's more than "not a big deal"? Guess that's where I don't understand your position or the point you're trying to make. No one is claiming everybody is going to get hurt playing this game.

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MezZa

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#28  Edited By MezZa

@justin258: I mentioned this in an earlier post but it's worth noting that the writer describes the lights differently than what we see in the trailer. As red and white instead of just the white we see in the June trailer. It's possible the content shown in the trailer is different in the final release as often as that happens. I would not be surprised if the trailer did not cause issues but the current state of the scene has an altered potential to do so.

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djredbat

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@sethmode: The person that created this forum said "Microsoft and Sony should pull it from their stores" That's what my comment was aimed at not that this is not important the box should have a warning and every time you do a BD mission there should be a warning. Sorry if what I said gave you the impression that I don't give a shit.

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SethMode

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@djredbat: Fair enough, apologies if I came across harshly...but with regards to the OP, I do think this could be a potential PR risk for MS and Sony, especially since they are arguably just as culpable if something does happen.

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TurtleFish

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Right now, there's a recall on brands of deli meat across North America because 11 people have become sick with Listeria, with one person dying.

This has the potential to affect far more people -- and if people die from this? That's crazy. It's just a stupid video game. Video games have never been worth doxxing, trolling, swatting, and they sure as hell ain't worth dying for.

Shut down sales until they patch this, or until there's a much more prominent warning at the start of the game.

I know somebody who has epilepsy - he's been to the hospital twice with life threatening grand mal seizures. You don't fool around with this.

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Bleichman

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As a non-epileptic looking at that clip I don't see how people could think this would be intentional? It's a pretty wild theory that some people seem to think a video game company want to intentionally kill / cause seizures.

It's an oversight and negligent though, good that they fix it.

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hermes

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It is kind of fucked up that an artist decided to imitate a machine that literally gives people epilepsy, and no one on the chain thought it was a bad idea. But the response of the community to the warning is a new low on human interaction.

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Nodima

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@bleichman: Nobody has said they want to cause seizures or that it is an intentional side effect of the scenes, only that this company is large enough that it's incredibly bizarre this game has been in development for as long as it has and gone through as many different levels of QA as it has (including Microsoft and Sony third parties) without a single person recognizing the issue and requesting it be fixed before the game is shipped. And that is pretty bizarre, especially once you hear people with color blind issues like Vinny also call the sequences out as pretty intense to experience.

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Notkcots

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This really sucks. If they don't patch this ASAP, that's a really shitty look for the developer. At the very least, they should put in a splash screen when you first launch the game giving you a warning and the option to turn the flashes off, like how Call of Duty does with its "mature content."

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Efesell

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@hermes: This part is not strictly the case to be fair, the device shown doesn’t bear much resemblance to those actual devices.

That said someone SHOULD be around to say hey this is a lot of fuckin flashing lights you guys.

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MezZa

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#37  Edited By MezZa

@bleichman: To be honest I think it's just the extreme takes on this that think they intentionally did it. The majority of opinions I've seen have settled more in the "this is pretty negligent" camp. I wouldn't focus entirely on people who are taking the excessive opinion of CDPR wanting to kill epileptics because 1. Those are pretty unreasonable takes and 2. It distracts from the message the writer is trying to get out there.

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hermes

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#38  Edited By hermes

@efesell: Ok, I haven't played the game, and obviously are not familiar with the development process, so my comment seems a little extreme. Not saying they intentionally are trying to trigger epileptic seizures on people, just that this was not a fortuitous effect and it should have been detected and changed before release.

Just pointing out that this does not get covered by the epilepsy disclaimer most games have, and so they shouldn't get a pass. Those are there to get covered in case a series of random particle effects, a combination of the game art and characters interaction at the precise moment may trigger a seizure. To test all those variables in a game would be a QA nightmare. This is a canned transition animation, it is the same every time... Knowingly or not, this was built from the ground up by an artist.

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whitegreyblack

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People seem to be getting hung up on the word "intentional".

My read of that word in this context is that it is NOT that people think CDPR intentionally created the sequence to trigger seizures in players; it's that they may have intentionally recreated a specific sequence of events & lighting which is used in the real world to trigger seizures and the company nor the platform holders stopped this from occurring in the long road of development & certification.

That's the difference between an "intentional" act and a "malicious" one - I do not see anyone actually believing nor saying that an intentional act in this case equates to being a malicious one.

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plan6

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The word people are reaching for is negligent. CDPR was negligent by putting in a sequence that closely mirrors the medical procedure used to trigger seizures. And intent doesn’t matter much when it come to negligence, since it is thoughtless behavior that caused the harm. And I would argue this is particularly bad given the extremely small sample size of the people who can currently play the game.

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@fetchfox: A warning is fine, but honestly they should just change out the pattern with a different effect if possible. If they are intent on having their original effect it's as simple as an unskippable switch at the start of the game where you can select if you have issues with Epilepsy.

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Gundato

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Honestly? Negligence is probably the word to key on but it is also kind of hard to not feel the need to say "intentional" considering it is a sequence meant to ape real life tests meant to induce seizures in epileptic folk.

Like, I don't think folk were intentionally like "Yo, let's cause some seizures". But... how the hell do you describe "We added a sequence that looks like a test meant to induce seizures that actually induces seizures" as anything other than Mission Accomplished?

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bigsocrates

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@camosid: They need to just patch it out. Non-skippable switch doesn't work because the person playing might not know they are epileptic, or they may not be epileptic but someone else in the household might be. Plus this game's going to get streamed a lot so it could trigger people there.

Just get rid of it, ASAP, period.

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fetchfox

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@camosid: Considering CDPRs track record of post release support I could see this coming. It should have been caught earlier though, strange that it got into the final version at all. I look forward to some proper outside insight into development, future documentary and such.

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MagnetPhonics

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I am genuinely surprised Microsoft and Sony didn't immediately pull certification for the game upon seeing these reports.

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Efesell

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#46  Edited By Efesell

@gundato: I have seen a bit of conflicting information about that point. I know Ian Hamilton, a consultant for accessibility in games, was spending most of that day on twitter trying to point out that it wasn't terribly accurate to say that they were simulating anything specific but rather dangerously exceeding a threshold with those flashing lights, combined with how much of a players field of vision would be taken up by those effects.

Which is why I think negligent works because its just hard for me in general to not stop and think about how a rapid series of flashing lights might be a potential problem. Yet it passed through multiple layers to get where we are now.

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bigsocrates

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@magnetphonics: I'm not. It's a collective action problem. If one platform pulls the game then the other gets an exclusivity window on arguably the hottest game of the year and at least the hottest game of this month. Neither platform holder wants to be in that situation. It might also drive sales to PC (CDPR sells the game through GOG so it's not like anyone can pull it from PC except them) and cost a bunch of money. Plus the game is out on disc anyway so unless they made those discs unplayable all they would accomplish would be driving physical sales.

Would it be the right thing to do? Of course. But I'll bet they just secured promises from CDPR to fix the issue and maybe updated their own internal procedures for cert for the future.

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Gundato

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@efesell: Fair enough. Article made it sound like it was basically that device and a comparable sequence

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Efesell

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Yeah having now seen it myself this effect sucks. It's depicted as a pair of goggles in a first person game so they're EXTREMELY CLOSE and the screens flash very rapidly back and forth. I feel like we have had epilepsy warnings for too long to not immediately see this and understand why it's bad.

It also feels pretty unnecessary to the scene, I see no reason why you couldn't replace it with a fade in or something.

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Efesell

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#50  Edited By Efesell

Miscellaneous

Modified the flashing effect on braindances to reduce the risk of inducing epileptic symptoms. The effect has been smoothed out and the flashes reduced in frequency and magnitude.

Well, at least they were quick about it.

What a fuckin' patch note though.