Faster creation of believable in-game characters will make it possible for studios to bring you better games more often.
Inworld, an AI company specializing in non-player characters and narrative systems, announced a new multi-year partnership with Microsoft Xbox to bring more realistic NPCs and stories to video games.
While part of the pitch is how much money developers will save with these new AI tools, a faster process could lead to more innovative use of characters and story beats in novel and interesting ways.
“Together, we aim to deliver an accessible, responsibly designed multi-platform AI toolset to assist and empower creators in dialogue, story, and quest design. As with all creator tools at Xbox, our goal is to deliver state-of-the-art AI for game developers of any size, anywhere in the world, and on every platform where players want to play,” said Haiyan Zhang, General Manager of Gaming AI for Xbox, in a statement. “We want to help make it easier for developers to realize their visions, try new things, push the boundaries of gaming today, and experiment to improve gameplay, player connection, and more.”
Calling it an AI copilot (like Microsoft’s AI for computers), Inworld pledges to create two types of tools for developers to use in their games. There’ll be an AI design tool that helps designers explore interesting creative ideas while helping them fine-tune their scripts, dialog trees, and quest systems. There’ll also be an AI character engine that will be integrated right into the games themselves, which gives even more possibilities for developers to take advantage of. Think of dynamically generated stories and quests for you to play through, built right into the game. No two playthroughs will be the same.
Making a new narrative-focused video game can take a long time, and Inworld hopes to shorten development time with its AI systems. Not only could games end up shipping faster as a result, but they could be even more expansive and immersive, the company claims. Developers can use prompts and focus on higher-level design ideas, while AI can create entire scripts, dialog trees, quests, and the like.
“For decades the biggest advancements in gaming have been through improvements in visual fidelity and graphics,” said Inworld advisor and co-founder of EA Bing Gordon in the press release. “But AI will enable truly immersive worlds and sophisticated narratives that put players at the center of the fantasy. Moreover, AI that influences fundamental game mechanics has the potential to increase engagement and draw players deeper into your game.”