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Keywords claims Charisma is in the business of 'responsible' AI, but what exactly does that mean?

Chris Kerr, News Editor

February 28, 2024

3 Min Read
Two Charisma-powered NPCs on a subway
Image via Charisma

Keywords Studio has partnered with Charisma to help developers create more immersive, conversational NPCs using the company's AI-powered story engine.

The Charisma website explains its story engine is powered by "bespoke machine learning" that uses natural language processing to match player dialogue to the best available routes in scripts, generating realistic conversations.

"Create characters with backstories and personalities who can freestyle conversations with any dialogue. Give your characters emotions, relationships and memories which the player can influence," it states. "Whether you’re scripting a one-on-one encounter, or dialogue for a cast of thousands, Charisma.ai enables contextual conversations for multi-character experiences."

It also, however, notes that Charisma can leverage the power of large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT.

The collaboration will place those tools into the hands of Keywords' clients, which has so far included major studios like Nintendo, Tencent Games, WB Games, EA, Activision Blizzard, Square Enix, and Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Keywords, which made headlines earlier this week after failing to credit some Skull & Bones translators, said it will provide advisory and implementation services to clients looking to leverage Charisma's platform.

Responsible AI looks like...?

It added that developers using Charisma will be able to accelerate their workflows by "responsibly" harnessing the power of AI, but what does that actually mean in practice?

The press release issued by Keywords was light on detail, so we reached out to Charisma to learn how exactly the platform leans on LLMs like ChatGPT, which has come under fire recently due to plagiarism and environmental concerns, and what it means to use AI tech responsibly.

In response, Charisma CEO and co-founder Guy Gadney said the company built its own tech stack independently prior to OpenAI launching ChatGPT and that its goal has always been to "enable writers to create new forms of narratives" without fully automating that process.

"Charisma.ai is not an automated content GenAI platform, but rather a platform that is to interactive narratives what Final Draft is to movies—a writing platform which uses AI (specifically Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning) to 'listen' to what players are saying to the NPCs, and then direct the story into the appropriate direction that the writer has designed," he said. "This combination of creative storytelling techniques and AI is what makes us unique."

Gadney told us that Charisma created and curated its own data set and has regularly collaborated with writers to ensure the toolkit serves their needs. On the topic of ChatGPT integration, he said the company "added an optional function in Charisma.ai for writers to use it if they want, but we do not lean on it."

"One of our key differentiators is that we are a platform which requires human creative input, and we do not rely on any LLMs to generate new content. LLMs still are prone to hallucination which can ruin a story and brand, whereas we can be 100 percent sure that the dialogue lines that are delivered are those which the writer intended to deliver as they were written in Charisma.ai," he added.

"All that said, we are not perfect, but I hope the details above give some more context to how we approach this area."

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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