Moss’ Quill Promotes Sign Language in VR

The world’s bravest mouse can’t talk, but she will show you what VR can do for communication with AI.

Seattle-based Polyarc’s Moss saw its official reveal at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Los Angeles, just two months ago. However, in that time the virtual reality (VR) platform videogame has become one of the most highly anticipated PlayStation VR titles to date. With the latest touch of class revealed by Polyarc, it’s easy to understand why.

The hero of Moss, Quill, is a character that conveys personality through her movement and body language. She can’t speak, only squeak, and yet in the short hands-on demonstration of Moss VRFocus had the chance to spend time with, it was obvious that there’s more individuality in this four inch rodent than any number of space marines or commandos.

And this is even more true thanks to the latest update from Animation Director Richard Lico, who in a continuing series of video posts about the animation in Moss has offered insight into the ways in which Quill can communicate. The intricacies of sign language may well be lost on a television screen, but in VR – when in that moment it’s just you and the character sharing the virtual world with you – even the slightest gesture can make all the difference.

In the video above, Quill signs the phrase ‘It’s a pleasure to meet you, my name is Quill.’ This is a huge step for accessibility not only for deaf gamers, but also for children (and adults, for that matter) who wish to add to their visual vocabulary. The fact that it comes from a character as immediately loveable as Quill only strengthens the importance of such a development.

Whether or not Quill will deliver a full range of sign language in the final version of Moss remains to be seen, but you can be sure that question will be asked when VRFocus meets with Polyarc at Gamescom, Cologne, later this month.

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