As tools like ChatGPT become more powerful and popular in the mainstream, the potential of an advanced AI in a video game that can naturally understand and respond to player instructions has emerged. Now, Final Fantasy publisher Square Enix is testing the waters of this technology with a new, free game launching on Steam next week called Square Enix AI Tech Preview: The Portopia Serial Murder Case.
Releasing on April 24, this tech preview is based on Enix’s 1983 murder mystery adventure game The Portopia Serial Murder Case. It recreates that game, replacing the restrictive noun- and verb-based commands of the original with an AI partner that players can speak to. Using natural language processing and understanding, that partner will take the player’s commands and respond accordingly.
This version of The Portopia Serial Murder Case has the potential to feel less restrictive than the original, as it may understand what the player wants to do even if they don’t type in the exact command from the original verbatim. This AI tech preview even supports automatic speech recognition, so players can speak to the AI rather than typing commands if they want.
One thing it doesn’t have is natural language generation to reply to questions that it doesn’t have a prewritten response for. Square Enix explains on the game’s website that Square Enix AI Tech Preview: The Portopia Serial Murder Case originally did feature this technology, but the developers in its AI Division decided not to include it at release “because there remains a risk of the AI generating unethical replies.” However, Square Enix says it might reintroduce this feature to the tech preview “as soon as our research succeeds in creating an environment in which players can enjoy the experience with peace of mind.”
Don’t expect your AI partner to defy your instructions and tell you that it wants to be human. Still, this is definitely one of the most intriguing uses of advanced language-based AI in a video game yet. Square Enix AI Tech Preview: The Portopia Serial Murder Case will be free to play on April 24 via Steam.
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