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AI-powered gameplay from Ubisoft, NVIDIA, Xbox, and indie devs at GDC 2024

Kylan Gibbs
March 19, 2024
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While AI has always been a feature in video games, generative AI has expanded developers’ toolboxes, enabling experiences that were once beyond the realm of possibility. 

This year, we’ve worked with AAA publishers, indie developers, and the most innovative companies in the world, to give you a look into the future of AI-driven gameplay. Find us at the annual Game Developers Conference where you can learn more about our projects with Ubisoft, Nvidia, Xbox, and indie developers. 

  • Ubisoft’s first player-facing generative AI prototype, NEO NPCs, features Inworld AI-powered NPCs capable of advanced reasoning and environmental perception 
  • Covert Protocol is a demo that brings together the best of Inworld and NVIDIA to deliver social simulation game mechanics with AI Digital Humans
  • Co-developed with Xbox, Narrative Graph is an AI tool that assists creators in dialogue, story, and quest design. 
  • The indie developers behind Eternium, Get Slapped, Avalon, Cloudborn, and Aria One will be demoing their experiences at Inworld's GDC booth.

Building on a rich legacy of innovation with Ubisoft

Ubisoft games have long immersed players in original stories, inventive gameplay, and dynamic worlds. The character arcs and performances in Far Cry; the fluid and parkour-like platforming and combat in Prince of Persia, and the gateways to ancient Egypt, the Caribbean high seas, and the Italian Renaissance in Assassin’s Creed, all created unforgettable gaming experiences. 

As a player, these experiences have taken stories that I love and imbued them with fresh perspectives, deepening my connection to the franchises. Technology is core to that ambition, but always in service of player enjoyment.

Today, Ubisoft presented NEO NPCs, their first player-facing generative AI prototype. The creative experiment explores how the tech can be used to create novel player experiences where every mechanic hasn’t been predetermined in advance. 

Iron demonstrate's Inworld's NPC reasoning and cognition as players discuss tactics to infiltrate the base

We’re proud to have contributed to that milestone, working with Ubisoft to power NPC reasoning, cognition, and real-time perception and awareness of the game environment using the Inworld Engine.

“In this R&D project, we've utilized the Inworld Engine to further develop our next-generation AI-driven NPCs, called NEO NPCs,” said Xavier Manzanares, Ubisoft’s Director and Producer of the project. “The collaboration provided an opportunity to explore the potential of Inworld's technology and adapt it for our specific creative needs. Both teams brought a high level of passion and commitment to the table, making it an insightful experience in advancing our understanding and capabilities regarding NPC development.”

The demos were showcased during GDC 2024 with Ubisoft demonstrating how NEO NPCs create deep connections with the player, offering new gameplay strategies and emergent storytelling opportunities. 

IGN noted, "Still, seeing the tech in action has me excited for the future of gaming in a way that I can’t say I’ve felt in quite a while. Done right, this is the kind of tech that, much in the same way that the jump from 2D to 3D, or from closed to open game worlds, could lead to entirely new kinds of games and experiences."

Working with Ubisoft has been an incredible opportunity for us to learn from the best and explore where generative AI can impact gameplay. It’s the kind of innovation I want Inworld to enable – we're not just creating AI tools; we're helping developers create experiences that leave a lasting impression with players. 

Unlocking AI-driven gameplay with NVIDIA ACE

Our recent surveys of players and game devs found that 99% of players believe AI NPCs will positively impact gameplay, while nearly 3-in-4 developers are excited about their potential and  54% expect their studio to adopt them.

Covert Protocol is a tech demo that brings together the best of NVIDIA and Inworld to unlock social simulation game mechanics with AI Digital Humans. 

In this demo, players step into the shoes of a private detective, tasked with deciphering clues, deducing motives, and employing stealth and cunning to infiltrate a high-profile target.

Digital humans play a critical role in the experience, acting as custodians of crucial information, presenting challenges, and catalyzing key narrative developments. 

Powered by Inworld’s AI engine, each player's journey is unique. Players’ real-time decisions and strategic planning lead to different game outcomes, ensuring that no two playthroughs are alike. This level of AI-driven interactivity and player agency opens up new possibilities for emergent gameplay, where players must think on their feet and adapt their strategies in real-time to navigate the intricacies of the game world. 

Developers will be able to access Covert Protocol’s source code to add their own twists on narrative, gameplay mechanics, and AI-driven features in the near future. 

Co-developing AI tools for game devs with Xbox

Earlier this year, we announced a co-development partnership with Xbox to build multi-platform AI tools to assist creators in dialogue, story, and quest design. We’re now calling this collaboration Project Explora and we'll be giving developers an early look at the tools we’re building during our GDC session. Here's an overview for those of you who can't join us in person. 

Interactive narratives are complex to manage, involving non-linear plots, branching dependencies, and a wealth of choices for players. Co-developed with Xbox, Narrative Graph is a tool that assists developers in creating dynamic narratives that adapt to player choices, fostering deeper engagement.

Xbox and Inworld's Narrative Graph

With Narrative Graph, you can upload any source materials – such as outlines or scripts – and generate a graph with branching narratives that allows you to visualize the structure of your story. You can also use AI to generate ideas for new story beats or dialogue based on what works best in your game. Narrative Graph can also parse out character profiles and world lore from your source materials, giving you a comprehensive tool to manage narrative elements. 

To illustrate one application of Narrative Graph, we created a basic prototype called Mists of Aurora. The prototype takes players through three scenes of a text-based narrative game inspired by tabletop RPGs. The addition of an AI-powered narrator and mechanics means that every playthrough is different – with Narrative Graph ensuring that the overarching story remains cohesive and engaging. 

Narrative Graph enables player-centric narratives and gameplay, while making it easy to holistically visualize story elements, iterate quickly, and produce content. We’re continuing to work with and learn from developers in private preview, and will be releasing the tool later this year.

Bringing AI to every genre of gaming

One of the best things about the gaming industry is that innovation can happen at any scale. From sci-fi action dramas, MMOs, fantasy RPGs, base management, detective, and slapstick-comedy action-adventure games – indie developers are exploring how AI can enhance every game genre. 

Indie developers told us that Inworld unlocks the potential for new game mechanics and interactions. With AI, these small and mighty teams can dream bigger than ever before. Inworld helps them add depth and realism to game worlds, emotional depth to characters, and new ways to play to their games.

Check out Eternium, Get Slapped, Avalon, Cloudborn, and Aria One at Inworld’s GDC booth and hear about their first-hand experience developing on the Inworld platform.

Visit us at Booth P1615 in the GDC Expo! 

We’ve got a jam-packed week ahead of us and will be showcasing all of these projects at our GDC booth and in sessions. Visit our GDC hub for the schedule and highlights.

I hope these projects inspire you to think about your own games and how AI can play a role in deepening engagement and enjoyment for players. Inworld wouldn’t exist without your support and we can’t wait to see what you build next.

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