In partnership with Inworld AI, Microsoft will develop Xbox tools to let developers create AI-powered characters, quests, and stories.
The multi-year partnership includes an “AI design copilot” that developers can use to create scripts, dialogues, and quest lines, and it will give developers access to an “AI character engine” to create AI-powered characters.
“At Xbox, we believe that with better tools, creators can make even more extraordinary games,” said Haiyan Zhang, general manager of gaming AI at Xbox.
She explained that developers will benefit from Inworld’s generative AI expertise, Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI service, Microsoft Research’s technical insights, and the Xbox team’s experience.
Inworld has had AI-powered non-player characters (NPCs) in the works for some time, with the goal being for NPCs to react to questions from a player, similar to a person submitting a prompt to OpenAI or Bing Chat.
The NPCs can respond through complex dialogue trees and storylines within a game, using their unique voice.
The project also has applications for top-down RPGs like Diablo IV and Path of Exile to, for example, warn of groups of enemies or other obstacles up ahead.
However, Microsoft is only offering this as an optional tool for developers, so it will be up to them to decide on the level of generative AI in the games they produce.
This could create uncertainty for writers and voice actors in game development. Embark Studios was recently in the spotlight for using AI-generated voices in The Finals.
However, it told IGN that “making games without actors isn’t an end goal”.