PS3, 360 limit AI development; Ubisoft can’t wait for next-gen

AI, not graphics, is the battleground on which the next generation of consoles will do battle. So says Ubisoft’s Yves Jacquier who believes improved visuals will not be as strong of a feature in the future.

The company is serious about a different approach, too, and is spending $200,000 per year for the next five years with the hopes to develop “other ways of thinking” about game production.

“AI has always been the real battleground,” says Jacquier, executive director of production services at Ubisoft Montreal. “The challenge is that, if you see an AI coming, you’ve failed. And that’s a problem we have to overcome as we create the impression of flawless, seamless worlds.”

The current generation is “extremely limited” in that regard, he continues; “It’s a challenge for the engineers to provide nice graphics and nice AI and nice sound with a very small amount of memory and computation time.”

“We think that the next generation of consoles won’t have these limits any more. Games might have more realistic graphics and more on-screen, but what’s the value of making something more realistic and better animated if you have poor AI?”