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Ubisoft gets into the AI game with its Ghostwriter tool to handle the NPC barks in its games.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

March 21, 2023

2 Min Read
Cover art for Ubisoft's Watch Dogs Legion showing several characters with their phones out.

Ubisoft has announced a new AI tool that it intends to use as a way to help its various writing departments create complex NPC interactions with less manual work.

Created internally by Ubisoft's La Forge team, the Ghostwriter tool will "let scriptwriters select and polish the samples generated for NPC barks," according to creator Ben Swanson. It was the tool was made in collaboration with various writers at the studio as a way to further "create more realistic NPC interactions." 

Amidst concerns about AI's place in the larger creative field, some studios such as Squanch Games have openly used AI-driven technology to generate of background art or for voice acting purposes. But this time around, it sounds like Ubisoft wants the tool to operate as a more useful version of Microsoft Word's Clippy.

After scriptwriters create a character and an interaction type or bark they'd like to generate, Ghostwriter will create a number of variations that a writer can use and edit to fit their needs. Whichever option is selected, the tool learns from that choice as a way to become more effective going forward.

The developer stressed that Ghostwriter won't be replacing a human writer. Instead, it'll tackle NPC barks for the studio's games, in turn giving developers more time to focus on other "core game elements."

Ubisoft's Ghostwriter isn't entirely an altruistic tool

The existence of the Ghostwriter tool is significant, particularly due the mention of saving time for developers and Ubisoft's specific approach to the tech. Ubisoft itself has previously developed (or at least hinted at the creation of) internal AI-driven tools to support games like Watch Dogs Legion.

Right now, the in-progress advent of AI in creative fields is particularly tricky, since it relies on previously existing work to create something new. In a fairly recent case of OpenAI, it ended up created something derivative of something it made just hours previously. 

With so many Ubisoft games being to pull from, Ghostwriter will likely succeed in creating convincing NPC barks for the games it's used for, but it will be curious to see if the AI tech powering so many NPCs will be felt by players in the final product.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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