Call of Duty finally credits a disabled player after 15 years
In 2006, Randy Fitzgerald, a quadriplegic video game tester and streamer, helped create “NOM4D”, a button layout for Call of Duty designed for players with disabilities. At the time, he said, it was said he be credited by name in the game, but that did not happen. All Cod titles since then have also omitted his name, but retained the layout. Now, after 15 years, Fitzgerald is credited in the last game, The vanguard of the call of duty. And he is naturally happy to finally have his name in the credits!
As reported by Post Bulletim, Randy Fitzgerald is now a Facebook Gaming streamer living in Rochester, New York. But before that he worked on games and in 2007 he helped create a controller layout for disabled gamers playing Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare. While testing the game, Fitzgerald struggled with gambling due to his disability, arthrogryposis, which prevented him from using his legs or arms. Infinity Ward, the developers behind CoD 4, made changes to the game, and created a layout based on Fitzgerald’s ideas and feedback. He was named after his online username “NOM4D” and Infinity Ward has promised to include his name in the credits as well. But after the breakup between the studio and Activision suite CoD 4, that never happened because most of the developers behind the game were gone.
“I was disappointed that they lost contact with me,” Fitzgerald explained. And that, he thought, was the end of the story. He had helped create one of the first accessibility features in a triple-A video game franchise, predating the current wave of added accessibility options, but this trailblazer was never properly credited for it. However, things changed earlier this year, before the release of the last game in the popular FPS series, Call of Duty: The Vanguard.
It turns out that Raven Software, one of the many studios working on the massive game was curious where the “NOM4D” layout came from, why it was called that and its history. Eventually, they tracked down Fitzgerald and contacted him.
“I told them the whole story and they said ‘that’s messed up’,” Fitzgerald said. “They asked me what I would like, probably thinking I would ask for money, but I just wanted to be credited. I wanted what I was promised.
Shortly after, he had a virtual meeting with the developers at Raven Software and shared some thoughts on what else could be done to help improve the accessibility features of the game. However, after this meeting, the communication with the studio and Activision fell silent again and Fitzgerald says he assumed history was repeating itself once more.
But after the game was released, Raven Software contacted Fitzgerald and offered him a free copy of the game and suggested he check out the credits. After seeing his name in the credits, he was elated.
“Of all the games I’ve worked on over the years, this is the first time I’ve been credited,” he said.
Now he hopes it might help him get more jobs in the industry, helping to make more games more accessible to more gamers.
“I think everyone’s goal on earth should be to leave a mark and make the world a little better, and I feel like I’ve done it in a way.”