PSVR’s Moss Captures Hearts With Sign Language Speaking Hero

by Jamie Feltham • August 7th, 2017

Moss was a surprise hit for PlayStation VR (PSVR) at E3 back in June, standing tall next to games like Skyrim VR thanks to an incredible demo. We hadn’t heard much from developer Polyarc since until the game’s protagonist captured the hearts and minds of thousands of people last week.

In Moss, you control Quill, a small mouse undergoing a heroic adventure. Quill is aware of the player’s presence within her world — the game is played from third-person — but can’t actually speak to them. Instead, she’ll squeak and occasionally imitate a certain action, trying to help the player figure out what they need to do next. She might pretend to push something, for example, if an object needed to be moved. Late last week, however, Animation Director Richard Lico had an idea.

Lico spotted the opportunity for Moss to communicate with players in a unique way for videogaming: American Sign Language. Thus, he took it upon himself to test out an animation of Quill introducing herself to players, though he himself had never animated sign language before. He took his work to Twitter to test for feedback.

At the time of writing the tweet has been liked just under 30,000 times and retweeted just under 10,000 times.

Needless to say people responded well to the idea. And thus, Polyarc has made the decision to add ASL to Quill’s vocabulary. She’s only got four fingers, but the team doesn’t anticipate that being a problem. Like Lico says, it’s a great perk for deaf players.

If you can’t read ASL then don’t worry; this won’t be the game’s primary form of communication; it won’t be needed to understand the story. Instead, Lico explained that Quill will offer further hints and express her thoughts and feelings in this way. Imitations of actions will still be used, when suitable.

Moss is coming to PSVR this winter. We’re very excited to see what else Polyarc will do with this new idea.

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