Next-Gen: Complex AI Will Lead To 'Realistic Behaviour' & 'Simulated Emotions'

David Lynch


Prettier graphics are expected on the PS4 and Xbox 720, but what about AI? Tomb Raider's creative director has some ambitious ideas...

Published on Mar 5, 2013

Tomb Raider is out and if you’ve already started playing you may have noticed that its AI characters have an interesting self-preservation reaction to Lara’s attacks, but for the next-gen, that’s just the beginning. 

According to Tomb Raider’s game director, Daniel Bisson at Crystal Dynamics speaking in an interview with gamesTM, the future of AI is reliant on the PS4 and the Xbox 720 bringing processing power that can handle advanced AI processes that will lead to much more realistic behaviour.

“If we can have a lot of code that permits to have a lot more complex AI behaviour tree in the next-gen,” explained Bisson, “I’d be able to create more and more realistic behaviour, where you can tell a story much more dynamically than it being all scripted.”

“The processing power is the hard limit. [We need] something with more power, that will allow more complex behaviour states…”

Not only that, but if the next-gen can handle these advanced new AI routines they should lead to developers pushing the boundaries of how AI works and what players can expect from the digital characters they play with.

“In the case of Tomb Raider, we have self-preservation components,” explains Bisson.

“We have them navigating an organic environment, which is a very complex algorithm. Normally, the AI only sees geometry, steep angles, but people don’t know that.”

“Right now we’re limited to free decision-making in advance; but having an AI adapting himself to your tactics. An AI that can simulate emotions is much more complex. I don’t think we’re there yet, but I’d like that to be in the next generation.”

But, this complex AI for next-gen games requires the new consoles to have the processing power to react and work with the speed of the human brain, and according to Bisson, there’s a very real opportunity that’s exactly what they could do. 

“We know that when a player is playing, he makes a lot of millisecond decisions and the branching in his brain is very complex… An AI could react to all these possibilities.”



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