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How Does A Game Replicate Epileptic Triggers?


Last week you may have seen a very special article from Gameinformer. The article in question discussed the incredibly accurate epileptic triggers found in Cyberpunk 2077. Namely the headset that the protagonist wears when entering the minds of the recently deceased. It uses red lights and wavelengths which are said to be almost exactly, or exactly, like the headset used by doctors to trigger an epileptic fit. I find it hard to believe that this is in the game by mistake, but I also don’t see the developers putting it in without thinking about the implications. Here, I’m going to explore how and why these triggers are in the game.

First, let’s look at why the triggering images are in the game. Specifically, I’m talking about this headset, Plenty of games have epileptic triggers, but this seems like a deliberate one. I think that a developer or designer could have seen the headset and thought that it would work as a great entry point for this specific mechanic in the game. With that said, I don’t believe that they’d do this without looking into where the headset was used in real life. If CD Projekt Red knew it was used to cause epileptic fits, then there should be a better warning than the usual meager one that is in every single game.

As for how, I think this could be the key to the whole situation. You see, it is entirely possible that someone at CD Projekt Red created the collection of red flashes and lights from scratch. It could just be a coincidence that it also triggers epileptic fits. I don’t see that being the case, but if we don’t believe this, then we have to believe that the developers are actively excluding epileptic gamers. If a developer makes something from scratch, they don’t know that it has real world applications. In fact, they probably have no idea the real world version exists.

For balance, I also think that it’s possible that someone saw the headset, recreated it in the game, but changed the way the lights work. That’s not to say that it’s any less efficient at causing fits, I just think that any developer would do their utmost to avoid harming players. As time goes on I’m sure we’ll learn more about this.

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