Having the volume down and hearing the whole story just isn't an option. I'd prefer to learn as the story evolves and prevent my young son in the next room from hearing the Prince smash a short sword up through the nose and into the brain of an enemy, but I'm just not given that option. This is true both in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones.
What makes this especially bad is that you can't tell in advance when the Prince is going to start babbling. Sometimes, just running down a hallway, the Prince offers up some personal thoughts on how bad his life's turned out, delivered at the level of a whisper. You wouldn't know it with the volume down, however. There are no visual cues.
This is all selfish, to an extent, of course. The hearing impaired are surely the most in need of subtitles. They don't have the choices I have. Why don't console makers require subtitles as part of certification for publication?
That is annoying yes.
I often play with the sound down to be considerate towards my housemates. I would also like to be able to turn only the voices up, and put the effects sound lower.
Shrike: Not a bad idea at all, except it would be a little awkward. Our TV doesn't have headphone output, but I could run the audio through the stereo and from there to headphones. I'll try to find the parts and get it set up.
what shrike said.
I have no secret knowledge, but I would think that accessibility ranks awfully low on the potentially-hurting-market-share list for console makers.
My impression is that the strongest tech-accessibility lobby is the one pushing Microsoft (and Linux, which was slow to respond) to accommodate blindness. Approximately none of whom, I'm guessing, play console games.