Rockstar Reveals Revolutionary AI Upgrades Coming to GTA 6

GTA 6 leaks are everywhere these days, but this one is not a leak: Rockstar confirmed that they are working on things that will revolutionize AI behavior – this was revealed at the GDC 2021.

GDC is short Games Developers Conferences and, being one of the world's biggest game developers, Rockstar naturally is a part of it. They used the opportunity to reveal some AI changes coming to all of their future games. Naturally, since GTA 6 is confirmed to be Rockstar's next game – for which we still don't have a release date – it will be the first game to reap the benefits of this new AI technology.

Rockstar Specifies AI Improvements Coming to GTA 6

At the GDC, Rockstar used the example of Red Dead Redemption 2, to then specify what their perceived future of gaming AI holds. Simply put, we can expect AI behavior that is leaps and bounds better than what we've seen in past Rockstar games. In particular, Rockstar is working on the following three things:

  • Improve the responsiveness and quality of humans and animals with lower production costs
  • Machine learning approaches
  • Better parity between AI and player-controlled characters

You can see the slide for yourself below:

Rockstar Slide
Rockstar is not playing around when it comes to AI. GTA 6 is about to be lit, boy. | © Rockstar

Now, on to the fun part: Reading too much into it. What could it all mean? Let's unpack:

The improved responsivenes and quality of humans and animals should refer to the way AI acts and reacts to its surroundings. You know how in Cyberpunk 2077 (and most open-world games for that matter) AI would just casually pass by a dead body or forget about watching you murder their partner 15 seconds after the fact? No more. Taking Red Dead Redemption 2 as a blueprint, we already go to experience a lot of responsive AI behavior: Witness reports were a serious hassle and would go to lengths to report you. Dead bodies were thoroughly investigated and not ignored, and the AI even had behavioral patterns, like going for lunch in sunny places or hunting on their own. As far as animals go, Red Dead Redemption 2 had certain wild-life events that would take place, such as wolves fighting bears or other predators hunting for food. We would assume that Rockstar is now looking to build on this, to create even more realistic AI responses to you and the digital world you and your NPC companions inhabit.

As for the parity between AI and player-controlled characters – it sounds to me like they want to level the playing field: AI will be as capable, fleshed out and animated as the characters we control. In theory, that sounds insane, so it'll be interesting to see where Rockstar is going with this. Will this be the first step to AI thinking it's real? Will we have a Westworld scenario on our hands? Who knows....

The most confusing one is 'machine learning approaches'. It's not really clear what this means, but it sounds like Rockstar wants the AI to learn and develop and grow. Theoretically then, no two AIs would ever be the same. You and your friend could be playing GTA 6 and the same NPC might just develop into a whole different person, depending on what circumstances the AI is presented with. In simple terms: If my friend tied him up on the rails and I didn't, we each set the NPC off on a different life-path.

Of course all my assumptions here are theoretical, but it's hard not to get excited about what Rockstar is proposing here. GTA 6 is still ways away, but goddamn... it can't come soon enough.

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