Baldur’s Gate Dev Talks Appeal Of AI But Not As A Replacement For Human Developers

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One of the most talked-about issues in gaming in recent times has been around the rise of artificial intelligence systems and how they may be further incorporated into gaming in the future. Larian Studios boss Swen Vincke has now weighed in with his thoughts. Speaking to Eurogamer, Vincke said Larian does not see AI as a “replacement for developers.”

But deployed the right way, AI could allow Larian to “do more stuff.” As an example, if an NPC in a game had just one line of dialogue, that might be a place for AI to step in to do the work.

“There’s not a lot of creative accomplishment to be had by putting the camera on a singular NPC that only has a couple of notes–I’m very happy for AI to handle that,” he said. “We’re not going to do that for the very complicated scenes because there, the artistry is going to shine through. So there’s uses for it.”

AI could also play a role in augmenting “reactivity and dialogues” in games if the AI systems become more advanced over time.

“So you would, for instance, have writers and a scripter and cinematic designer, and everybody that goes with it, you would have them make their entire scene, and then you would augment some reactivity into it, to things that you’ve done before,” he said. “So it is about, for instance, let’s say it’s a guard talking about a murderer that is free in the city. We don’t have to foresee all of the possible people that you could have killed in the NPC[‘s lines], but they could be talking about that, right? And say if it’s like multiple people, they could say, ‘Oh my god!’ and it’s like, literally a serial killer.”

Vincke said he thinks players would respond positively to something like this. Overall, Vincke said he sees AI as an “additional tool” that a developer can use to layer on top of other things in a game. Larian is “doing experiments with that” currently, he said. But it’s still early days, and any experimentations in this department are “far from being usable.”

Larian is not alone in embracing the possibilities that AI could afford game developers. For its part, Electronic Arts is a big believer in AI and recently found that about 60% of its game development processes could be positively impacted by using AI. Microsoft is heavily invested in AI and has said AI will be baked into every product it makes going forward, including Xbox.

EA and Microsoft both implemented mass layoffs around the same time of announcing plans to push further into AI. The possibility that AI could replace human jobs is a major concern raised by many, and EA has been up front in saying AI will likely lead to significant job losses.

Larian is not making any Baldur’s Gate 3 DLC or Baldur’s Gate 4. Instead, the company is working on a totally new, non-D&D game that Vincke is excited to eventually talk about.

“Still familiar enough, but different. I mean, like: tone, style, way of doing it, are for us certainly new. And I think very appealing,” Vincke told Eurogamer. “I would love to talk about it already because I’m excited about it but I can’t say more. But it’s new in that sense.”