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The impact of AI on game narrative and storytelling

Discussions of the role of AI in the entertainment world have been increasing. The recent strikes by actors and writers in film and television were partly over the future threat of AI. Their main concerns were AI being used to write scripts and AI being used to recreate their likenesses and replace them in roles.

The use of AI in the video game industry hasn’t sparked as much controversy. This is largely because the potential uses of AI in the industry are less likely to be problematic. AI has the ability to improve storytelling in games and the overall game narratives.

In this article, we’ll examine some of the ways in which AI has or will have an impact on game narrative and storytelling.

Guiding development

The most basic use of AI is to determine which stories and themes players are most interested in. AI can trace game purchases and play hours more easily than traditional analytical methods. AI can also be used to break down any information gained from surveys and ad responses. Doing this allows game developers and studios to understand what games and game plots are holding players’ attention the best.

AI is also helpful in the online casino industry, particularly because the development phase for new games

is so short. In the near future, a  wide array of games in Ontario may be partially generated by AI.  Using AI algorithms also makes it easier for online casino brands to check which games are the most popular and which aspects of those games set them apart from the rest of the game library.

The online casino brands can then work with developers who focus on games with the most popular themes, or with top features like progressive jackpots or mini games. Since slot machine games don’t exactly have plots, this is the most valuable way for AI to be used.

Adaptive games

Adaptive games are on the horizon and AI will play a major role in their development and in how they function. Adaptive games are games that respond to what the player does to shape the storyline, according to what the player is more interested in. Essentially, the AI learns from what the player is doing and responds to shape the game accordingly.

This could be things as simple as increasing or decreasing the difficulty of puzzles to limit player frustration, to improving the scripting of the games to be more engaging and immersive. It can make the NPCs and enemies far more interesting because they will behave in a more intelligent and less formulaic manner.

There has been some concern that adaptive game AI will be used to more directly target advertising at players. For games with in-app purchases, the AI in adaptive games could make the ads for items the player needs to complete the level, or to upgrade skills that the player needs to be successful. This could become a fairly predatory system and player protections will hopefully be put in place.

Improved storytelling

Games used to have a fairly limited scale. Writing dialogue and crafting characters was still a lot of work but it was an easier and quicker process because there were fewer characters and shorter plots. The rise in open world gaming and in complex games with massive plots and long storylines has made the creative process much longer and more intensive.

The extent of these open world games can result in NPCs and characters that feel repetitive, overly simplistic or unrealistic. This is because studios often set impractical deadlines and don’t give their creative teams an adequate amount of time to fully build the dialogue, narrative and plot.

AI can be used to help fill that gap between what the human creatives can do and what needs to be done to build a truly compelling game. AI is particularly useful in creating branching responses to player actions. This means that for each response that a player gives to an NPC, the NPC’s reaction can actually be consistent with what has just happened, instead of a basic response that doesn’t always make sense.

Another use for AI in storytelling is in analyzing player emotions and developing stories that are better for the players. Some games are meant to be stressful or depressing, but even so, you don’t want to overwhelm your player. On a less serious note, AI can identify points where players become bored – developers can then create narratives that minimize those boredom points.