For many players, the ability to remap their controller can make a huge difference as to how accessible gaming is for them. On console, remapping is the ability to swap buttons, joysticks and triggers to make in-game actions easier to access. For instance, if someone is finding a particular button difficult to reach, press or hold, then being able to swap that button out for another can make the difference between being able to play a particular game or not. When built into the game itself, remapping can offer specific options to enable the player to customise how they play the game further. For example, allowing the player to create different mapping for different contexts, such as whether they are on foot or in a vehicle. This could mean that you have a specific custom control scheme for that particular game and for the different contexts within it. However, many games only feature partial remapping or do not feature any remapping at all.
When remapping options aren’t available in a particular game, the Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch all allow for remapping of inputs at a system level. So if a game that you wish to play does not allow you to create a layout that works for you, then it may be possible to create a layout at a system level. In this video we’re going to have a look at each of these and what you can map within them. System level remapping does have its limitations. For example, if you are using a PS4 controller and need to use Cross for Accelerate and Circle for Break or Reverse on a driving game, you can swap these inputs with the Triggers, which are often the default inputs for these actions. However, at a system level you won’t have just swapped the in-game controls, you will have swapped the full function of the buttons meaning that you would now have to press R2 and L2 to control any menus. It is also worth noting that using system level remapping means that the game is unaware that you have remapped the controller, so any on-screen prompts will remain as standard. On all the consoles we’ll be looking at, system remapping is also only partial remapping, as unfortunately it’s not possible to map buttons onto joystick directions or joystick directions onto buttons currently. However, even with these limitations it’s worth noting that system level remapping can make a game more accessible for you if a game that you wish to play does not have its own remapping options. First of all, we’re going to have a look at system remapping on Xbox One. Go to your Apps and then open the Xbox Accessories App. From here you can choose to create a profile. You can name the profile if you like. You can create numerous profiles but there is only one Save Slot on a standard controller, so you will need to return to this screen to change the profile saved to the slot. When using the Xbox Adaptive Controller or an Elite Controller, you can save up to three profiles alongside the default one. From this screen you can see an image of a standard controller. You will notice that you are not able to remap the View, Menu or Xbox buttons and you cannot double up buttons. So it is not possible to have more than one button mapped to A, for example. You can select the button that you want to remap and then scroll down to select the button that you want to map it to. The functions of these two buttons will now be swapped. Remember, this is at a system level, not just for a particular game that you want to play. On the screen you can see all of the buttons that you have remapped. On Xbox, you are not able to remap the triggers to act as different buttons. You can only swap them. So, for example, you can make Left Trigger act as Right Trigger and vice versa but you cannot make Right Trigger act as A or make A act as Right Trigger. It is also possible to invert the Y axis on both analogue sticks from this menu. You are able to swap sticks which gives the Left Stick the Right Stick function and vice versa. However, you are unable to map to axis or individual joystick directions. For instance, you are not able to map the A button to the down direction on the Right stick or the other way around. Once you have finished you need to go back and set this new layout to Slot 1. To remap controls on the Nintendo Switch, first go to System Settings. Then go down to Controllers and Sensors and across to Change Button Mapping. Here you can map controls for Joy-Cons and also Pro Controllers. Remapping may also work for other controllers, providing the Switch picks it up as a Pro Controller. You are also able to remap the buttons on the Switch Lite Console. Go to Change and you can select which button you would like to remap. Note that it is possible to switch certain buttons off by selecting the button and choosing the Disable option. It’s also possible to change Stick Settings. For Joy-Cons and Pro Controllers you can swap sticks. If using a Joy-Con you can also change Orientation. So if you wish to hold the Joy-Con horizontally or vertically, you can change the stick Orientation to match this. You cannot remap or turn off the Home, Power, Volume or Sync buttons, but it is possible to have more than one button acting as the Home button, which could be helpful if there is another button that is easier for you to reach. Once you have created a layout that you are happy with, just go across and select Done. From here you can choose to make some more changes, reset the controller layout back to default, or save it as a preset. Before looking at saving as a preset we will have a quick look at remapping the Pro Controller. Just select your controller and go to Change. Now you can pick which buttons you wish to swap. You can also swap sticks. If you like, you can have two Left Sticks. For instance, if the position of each stick was better in different scenarios or for different types of in-game actions. However, again, you are unable to map to Axis or individual joystick directions. You can also double up other buttons such as by making almost every button act as A, which could be useful if the position of a particular input was more accessible in a particular scenario, or for a particular in-game action.
You do always need at least one button acting as A and one acting as B in order to be able to control System Menus. The Switch console won’t actually allow you to proceed with your configuration if you don’t have at least one button acting as A and one as B. You can save up to five different presets, so you could in theory have five different presets to cover different situations within one game, or five different presets for five different games. You will need to return to this screen to load one of your preset button mappings. To remap a PS4 controller, go to Settings and scroll down to Accessibility. Now scroll down to Custom Button Assignments. Now click Enable Custom Button Assignments. Go down and select Customise Button Assignments. From here you can see all of the buttons that you can swap. You will notice that it is only possible to swap buttons that are used for gameplay. So you cannot remap the PS button or Options or Share. You are also not able to remap the touchpad Click or remap the touchpad itself. It is not possible to double up buttons or turn buttons off. You can swap buttons over and can also make any button act as the triggers. So you could swap Cross and R2, for example. You can also swap joysticks. As with the other consoles you are unable to map to Axis or individual joystick directions. When you have finished, go to Confirm and select it. You can only create one profile and consequently will need to edit the Button Mapping screen each time you want to change your layout. You can’t save more than one profile. Another remapping option that we use at SpecialEffect is to use an adapter such as a Titan Two. An adapter could make it possible to remap your controller to a greater extent than most games or system level remapping allow. This can potentially enable you to overcome some of the problems caused by many games not featuring remapping options and also some of the limitations of system level remapping. You can also use different mapping profiles which could be switched between manually when in different contexts or games. For more information on this device, search the GameAccess site using the Titan Two tag. Many thanks for watching this video. If there’s anything that we can do to help make gaming more accessible for you, then please do get in touch.
For many of the players we work with, the ability to remap their controller can make a difference as to how accessible gaming is for them. Remapping is the ability to swap buttons, joysticks and triggers to make in-game actions easier to access, for instance if someone is finding a particular button difficult to reach, press or hold.
On console, this can sometimes be done in-game to when a developer has included this feature, but when this is not possible (or to compliment it) this can also now be done at system level, within the operating system of the console.
In this video, we demonstrate how to remap your controller on Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch and take a look at the remapping features each of these consoles has.
The start times for each section are:
Xbox One 2:28
Nintendo Switch 4:26
PlayStation 4 7:22
We hope that this video has been useful. If you have any questions, please visit the ‘Contact Us’ page.
Video by Cara Jessop
Music: The Lights (Instrumental) by A and TELLER Blue Race by Out of Flux (both from artlist.io)