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Square Enix AI Tech Preview: The Portopia Serial Murder Case Fails To Impress On Steam

Vintage game gets an English language release and artificial intelligence update

Final Fantasy developer Square Enix’s AI Division has released a playable version of its natural language processing technology in Square Enix AI Tech Preview: The Portopia Serial Murder Case on Steam. It’s an updated version of the adventure game originally published in Japan in 1983.

“In this Tech Preview,” states Square Enix in a blog post, “You will enjoy the response and feel of NLP technologies tuned for games, following the scenario of the adventure game “The Portopia Serial Murder Case ” (by Yuji Horii).

The game company explains that in the 1980s, PC text adventure games let players interact by inputting text in the command line. This gave players a sense of freedom. However, it was also frustrating since the player needed to word the action they wanted to take just so. Otherwise, the game would not allow them to proceed.

Since then, NLP technology has seen drastic improvement, which the game developer aims to showcase with The Portopia Serial Murder Case demo on Steam. In addition to showing off the advancements in NLP tech, Square Enix also seeks to help the public gain a better understanding of how the technology works through the demo.

The Portopia Serial Murder Case Features ASR

The demo also features automatic speech recognition (ASR), which lets the demo convert the player’s voice input to text. With this feature, users can give their in-game partner verbal instructions. However, The Portopia Serial Murder Case’s ASR feature requires a CUDA-capable GPU and a significant amount of VRAM to run smoothly.

Initially, the demo included a Natural Language Generation feature that would generate natural-sounding replies to questions that don’t have prewritten responses. Square Enix, however, chose to eliminate the function due to the risk of AI generating unethical answers. The company states it will reconsider adding the function at a later date.

User reviews are not favourable

User reviews on Steam are ‘Very Negative’ at the time of writing, with 191 reviews. A user with the name Inversion said that, “The game is basically unplayable since they totally didn’t use any proper form of NLP in this game… It’s nothing like GPT or similar LLMs.” Another user ~ Jordan ~ felt similarly concluding that, “It’s a nice concept but it’s not ready and it’s not AI.”

And long-time Portopia fan Abolish The Penny didn’t hold back at the end of a lengthy review saying, “No one is benefitting from engaging in this kind of venture capital driven hype-chasing buzzword.”

Written By

Jack Brassell is a freelance journalist and aspiring novelist. Jack is a self-proclaimed nerd with a lifelong passion for storytelling. As an author, Jack writes mostly horror and young adult fantasy. Also an avid gamer, she works as the lead news editor at Hardcore Droid. When she isn't writing or playing games, she can often be found binge-watching Parks & Rec or The Office, proudly considering herself to be a cross between Leslie Knope and Pam Beasley.

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