Valve has been something of a meme for a while now, eternally poked fun at by apparently never being able to count to three. However, studio head Gabe Newell has predicted an upcoming huge shift in gaming, mainly focused around the increasing capabilities of AI in a variety of games.
Good AI is a primary focus of many games, especially first-person shooters, where competent AI can spell the difference between an easily-beatable game and a challenge. Various shooter games like the FEAR games, and even the AI for Valve’s Combine and HECU enemies in previous games, have often been hailed as advanced for their time.
That hasn’t stopped Valve, however. While Valve single player games do have good AI, Newell also referred to the OpenAI bots that have been trained to play DOTA 2. Those bots are so skilled currently that they can beat nearly any Defense of the Ancients player on the planet.
Newell’s process for this is that instead of relying on a constant playerbase of humans to make a world seem real and living, that sufficient advancements in AI can make it so a living and breathing world is still possible with highly skilled AI players.
While some big-name publishers like EA think that single-player games are a thing of the past and that it requires constantly-updating games-as-a-service titles to satisfy gamers these days, Newell’s thoughts about advancement in AI technology can likely help to prove them wrong when AI gets advanced enough.
And speaking of Valve single player games, Newell unfortunately steered the conversation away from the series, even though Valve would be putting out Half-Life: Alyx next week on March 23. Even if a Half-Life 3 isn’t in the cards right now, since Valve is starting to get back into developing games after over a decade of Steam focus, hopefully Half-Life will eventually come around again.