Ubisoft presents NEO NPCs! Generative AI in games coming soon?

Generative artificial intelligence is entering the gaming industry more and more boldly. Yesterday, Ubisoft presented NEO NPCs, a way to “animate” NPCs in games. The effects are impressive, even though the project is currently in the early stages of development. Will we soon be able to talk to every NPC in the game?

NEO NPC shows that generative artificial intelligence can increase immersion in games

In games, NPCs are defined as independent characters who only create the background for the game. The name itself comes from the words Non Player Character. Such NPCs can also be part of the plot, but their behavior is always carefully scripted. The name NPC itself has also entered everyday language and is used to refer to people who are present in companies or communities but have no real influence.

Ubisoft and Nvidia want to change this. Work on the joint project began in March 2023. Currently, the effects of this cooperation have been presented, which actually make quite an impression. The NEO NPC project uses the Audio2Face application from Nvidia and the Large Language Model (LLM) from Inworld. The goal of this project is to create NPCs powered by generative artificial intelligence. Thanks to this, the player can talk to them in real time using a microphone, because the AI ​​model from Inword translates speech into text. What's more, the NPCs themselves respond not only textually, but above all vocally, thanks to Nvidia technology.

Will NPC AI become a standard in the gaming industry?

Not only Ubisoft came up with the idea of ​​powering NPCs with generative artificial intelligence, as the legendary creator of the Grand Theft Auto series, the Rockstar studio, recently patented a similar solution. It must be admitted that the level of advancement of the NPC algorithms in Red Dead Redemption 2 was quite impressive.

Considering that the studio is now working on a new part of GTA, it is very likely that we will see AI-powered NPCs in this production – at least to some extent. The game is scheduled for release in 2026. The entire gaming industry will want to follow the direction set by NEO NPC.