While most gamers keep talking up the prospects of real life visuals in the next batch of consoles, respected games publisher and developer of many great titles including Splinter Cell and Assassin’s Creed, has said the next major leap in gaming will be better AI in games, and not the so-hyped “visuals” debate.
That’s what Ubisoft’s executive director of production services at the firm’s Montreal studio, Yves Jacquier, told GI.biz recently, saying the success of Wii proves visuals are not that important.
“AI has always been the real battleground,” he said. “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.
“In general the industry expects that graphics will not be a strong feature any more… Obviously, graphics are better for marketing purposes because you can show things. AI you can’t show. Our challenge with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox  is that we’re extremely limited in what we can do. 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?”
The executive has been working with students at Montreal University, using Ubisoft’s recent pledge of $200,000 a year for the next five years, to help students come up with “other ways of thinking” about game development.