Former Dragon Age writer David Gaider on devs wasting effort on AI-generated content: "They will fail"

David Gaider, former BioWare writer and one of the creators of the Dragon Age series, has shared his thoughts on using AI in video game writing. He believes that while devs will keep trying, this won’t result in really great quests and narratives.

David Gaider on why AI won't help devs create compelling quests

Dragon Age: Origins (Image: DanaDuchy)

On May 30, Gaider shared a link to The Guardian’s article about the potential of AI to write game characters and dialogues. He noted that BioWare has also experimented with procedurally generated narratives, but the team never managed to achieve at least somewhat acceptable results.

“Each time we discovered that, even when the procedural lines were written by human hands, the end result once they were assembled was… lackluster. Soulless,” Gaider noted.

Gaider thinks that the main issue is that procedural content generation only results in “something shaped like a quest.” In fact, it all comes down to typical MMO fetch quests, not something unique or exciting narrative-wise.

“Is that what a player really wants? Superficial content that covers the bases but goes no further, to keep them playing?” Gaider wrote. “I imagine some teams will convince themselves that, no, AI can do better. It can act like a human DM, whipping up deep bespoke narratives on the fly.”

This makes the former BioWare writer believe that such an AI will be able to generate an imitation of the real narrative because it can only create something out of already stored pieces of content. “That is, however, not going to stop a lot of dev teams from thinking it can do more. And they will fail,” Gaider said.

Finally, Gaider concluded that game developers will keep trying to find a use for AI: “It’s too enticing for them not to, especially in MMO’s and similar where they feel players aren’t there for deep narrative anyhow. A lot of effort is going to be wasted on this.”

David Gaider joined BioWare in 1999, working as writer and senior narrative designer on Baldur’s Gate II, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Neverwinter Nights. He also served as the lead writer on the Dragon Series before leaving the studio in 2016.

Gaider also spent two years at Beamdog, a company founded by two other BioWare veterans, Trent Oster and Cameron Tofer. The studio, which was acquired by Embracer Group last year, is best known for creating remasters of classic RPGs such as Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment, and Neverwinter Nights.

In 2018, Gaider co-founded Summerfall Studios, which is now preparing to launch its debut game, “roleplaying musical” Stray Gods.

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