An “AI-driven” game has just been released rather quietly by a publisher named Square Enix. And it’s not doing quite well.
The game called The Portopia Serial Murder Case itself isn’t a bad game since it is actually a remake of a game first released in Japan in 1983. It wasn’t really an adventure game as much as it was just a “typing stuff into a computer” game not to mention its quality.
The 2023 experiment is actually a free download on Steam and it has been used a testbed for AI tech in video games. The result: An absolute disaster!
When you hear AI being used in a video game, you probably think it has been used to generate dialogue or art. But you will be fascinated to hear that AI in this case has been used in machine learning to try to understand and help people in playing the game more easily.
Old text-based adventure games were absurd and really difficult to play and even to program since they required you to input exactly what the developers have programmed. For example, if you thought “kick door” would work, but the developers wanted you to “ram door”, then you’d be stuck.
The new 2023 version of the game tries to link the player’s input to the correct or desired answer using Natural Language Processing (NLP). Or at least that was the developer’s actual intent.
Game reviews are bad because the users are just not happy at the fact that a pioneering adventure game has been dug up as a showcase for machine learning. But what’s more frustrating is that even the machine learning is not working and is leaving players with text inputs that are just as bad as the original 1983 version.
It’s hard to believe that Square Enix would go through the trouble of remaking the game, giving it first-person graphics, dialogue system, and open-world design which helped pioneer the visual novel genre but wouldn’t just let people play the original game.