AI could make GTA 6 NPCs ‘interesting and fun’ says Take-Two boss

Could Rockstar be working on AI?

GTA VI could use AI NPCs - artificial intelligence technology potentially from Inworld AI and ElevenLabs

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Artificial intelligence is increasingly being used in video games to automate the most time-consuming tasks for developers. One such task is fleshing out the in-game dialogue from NPCs, or Non-Player Characters. These are all the people you find walking around in a video game who, for the sake of realism, will verbally respond to you barrelling into them with a stolen sports car. There are hundreds of them in a game like Grand Theft Auto, and they all have something to say – so who writes those lines? And who records them? The answer, of course, is people. Real people – until now. Here’s how Rockstar Games could use GTA 6 AI NPCs.

GTA 6 could make NPCs more ‘interesting and fun’ with generative AI

Two-Two Interactive CEO, Strauss Zelnick, has gone on record as saying that AI could make in-game NPCs more “interesting and fun“, with a greater variety and depth of dialogue than could ever be manually prepared. In fact, AI would allow new dialogue to be generated in real-time after the game’s release. Of course, this poses significant challenges and risks, with the game developers unable to realistically know what their NPCs will be saying to their players. This is where censorship comes in. With a few unambiguously negative words and phrases banned, Rockstar could keep these non-playable characters on a short leash, able to react in a realistic and unscripted fashion, while maintaining a sensible degree of control.

Imagine the scenario:

“You’re a playable character, you’re interacting with the non-playable character. That interaction is currently scripted. And the non-playable characters are generally not very interesting,” admits Zelnick in an interview with Inverse. However, with dynamic conversations powered by generative AI, “you could imagine all the NPCs becoming really interesting and fun.”

Will GTA 6 use AI?

Rockstar Games has not officially commented on the use of AI, or lack thereof, in the upcoming release. However, with Grand Theft Auto VI Trailer 1 unveiled, and a confirmed release year of 2025, details will become clear in the coming months.

The question of GTA 6 using AI is a tricky one because, in short, yes it will undoubtedly use artificial intelligence in the same way that GTA 5 (and every other open-world game for the past decade or more) has done. But this isn’t the generative AI that people are talking about in conversations inspired by the uptake of tools like Midjourney and ChatGPT.

“In 1998, Rockstar Games was founded on the idea that video games could come to be as essential to culture as any other form of entertainment, and we hope that we have created games you love in our efforts to be part of that evolution,” says Rockstar co-founder Sam Houser. “We are very excited to let you know that in early December, we will release the first trailer for the next Grand Theft Auto.”

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Generative AI, and especially the kind of natural language processing (NLP) we see in OpenAI’s ChatGPT, would help to push open-world games to new and exciting heights never before possible. We’ve already seen this applied use of NLP in Character.AI, one of the most popular AI-powered tools other than ChatGPT itself. Character.ai, or Character AI, works by having a personality (written by the user) direct the responses you’ll get from that AI agent. With only a paragraph or two, the AI model is able to reply in the way you’d expect of the person you have described.

Is your character short-tempered? Are they shy? Perhaps they live in New York City, are obsessed with turtles, and have a quirky catchphrase. With this description, you have created a character, a fictional person, and you can now have a conversation with them.

✓ Steve says

We will increasingly rely on AI for human interaction in 2024

I’ve even seen my own friends using Character.AI for fun, without me telling them about it. It’s truly mainstream at this point, and really astounding considering that there was nothing like it just last year.

Will GTA VI have AI NPCs? — Protagonists Jason and Lucia

Between Character.ai allowing users to invent their own personas, and Meta AI chatbots providing customer service to social media, the way we interact with computers will forever be changed from here on. Inworld AI is another contributor to this cultural shift. Its technology can create “sentient streets” where an in-game NPC character will follow daily routines, leaving their designated home in the morning, grabbing their favorite latte from a recognizable but legal-approved coffee place, and so on.

Inworld’s character engine powers dynamic NPC interactions, with generative dialogue that can be ‘voiced’ by the AI-generated voices of ElevenLabs. Modders have already harnessed this technology to enhance one of the world’s other best-loved open-world games, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – with a similarly long-awaited sequel also on the way.

Perhaps playable protagonists Jason and Lucia will enjoy the benefits of AI in areas not fully voiced by their human voice actors. With the official release of the trailer just around the corner, our next action-packed adventure in Rockstar’s sequel to Grand Theft Auto V will reveal all… in due time.