Ubisoft’s Executive Vice President of Creative, Lionel Raynaud, who is over the Canadian studios came forth to talk about AI and what players can expect from the company’s artificial intelligence department in future Ubisoft games.
The ability of well rounded AI or smart ones is important when it comes to video games that include them. Dumb AIs may be good for training but by no means should they be a standard throughout a game. On the contrary, we have super AI that ruins all fun with uncanny reflexes.
Although a balance in AI is good, it seems that Ubisoft wants to create AIs that offer something else: a connection with players. Not only is the company striving for them to remember player actions but they want them to reflect on these actions in a “meaningful” way.
We learn more about Ubisoft’s adventure to “advance AI” through a self-interview that contains a Ubisoft employee questioning Raynaud. One of the many questions geared toward Raynaud revolves around the advancement of AI freeing up more creativity with Ubisoft’s teams. He replied:
“It has so many applications that we are only seeing the beginning of it at the moment. We have started to work on [developer] pipelines – how to accelerate pipelines, and create content faster, so we can have more content. We are already doing this in the Canadian studios.
AI will also have an impact on NPCs and the way they behave. This is a complicated thing, because it’s not only a question of the power of artificial intelligence; it’s also linked with the rules of game design that make the experience interesting. A good example of that is with stealth; you don’t want AIs to always be amazing at stealth and stab you in the back. You want to have a system that players can grasp and want to play with. It’s more of a toy than a super-AI that is going to kill you no matter what you do.”
In other words, Ubisoft views their AIs as toys that you can interact with that use systems to create enjoyment.
Moreover, Raynaud continued and noted:
“The direction AI is headed in that’s going to be interesting is how human characters feel when you talk about them. Can they keep a strong memory of what happened in the game? The first take on that was Far Cry 5; because of the open regions and the fact that players could do whatever they want, we needed to have NPCs react to what happened in other regions.”
The first taste of this AI advancement is said to be in Far Cry 5, where certain NPCs make mention of your actions depending on what you did around Hope County, where Raynaud continued:
“So when you cross into Faith’s region, for instance, even if you’ve just arrived, some people will know you because you did something amazing in another region, and they will comment on that, and say ‘thanks for what you’re doing, it means something to us, and we are with you.’ It takes us back to relatedness, creative links, feeling that we’re important to [these characters]. And with AI, we have a long way to go, obviously, to have these characters feel more human. But we now have the technology that will allow us to go there.”
Lastly, he also talks about romance entering in upcoming games and how characters/AIs will be able to offer a variety of dialogue with players through conversations:
“There were questions about romance [during the corporate event], and it’s very obvious that there is an audience that is waiting for this. And some of our games are really ready to offer not only gunplay and fights, but romance, or friendship, or a ton of other things that would be super-interesting – and make the characters become more interesting and lovable because they don’t speak only about fights, but also about things that players live in their own lives.”
With all of that said, do you believe Ubisoft will be able to improve on AI interaction and remember player actions or no? If you want to read more of the interview you can hit up news.ubisoft.com.