Players slam Square Enix game created using an AI – Final Fantasy makers go all in on new technology


SQUARE Enix, best known for the Final Fantasy series, has released a game on Steam developed using AI.

AI technology has been in the spotlight over the past year, with machine learning growing rapidly.

The AI really struggles to recognise what people are trying to do.

However, AI missteps are commonly recorded.

While people fear AI taking over creative jobs, it will be a while before we see this become a reality.

Square Enix is one of the companies most open about using new technology such as AI and Web3 in their games.

However, this is the first time that a big publisher has released a game made almost entirely with AI, and predictably it’s a disaster.

The company used one of its old properties, a text-based adventure from 1983 called The Portopia Serial Murder Case.

Portopia was successful in its time, but due to the patience and trial and error required for this style of game, it would not be popular if released today.

It’s the perfect game for a remake, but it seems the AI has done nothing to modernise the old formula.

Square Enix calls it a ‘tech demo’ and hopes that it shows how far AI has come in terms of understanding natural language.

In the past, there would be only a small range of phrases players could input in order to perform the correct action and continue the story.

Since then this has improved immensely, with games like Return of the Obra Dinn using a similar language model to accept players’ natural answers.

Developer Lucas Pope hired numerous localisers to ensure that the language system worked in multiple languages.

The AI in Portopia has failed to recognise even one language, with players frequently running into issues with game progression.

NPCs in the game will often say “Hmmm” instead of answering questions, or tell the player to “focus on the task at hand”.

Players noted that the game can’t recognise even basic questions, and one person wrote: “If this is a learning AI, it hasn’t even made it out of preschool yet.”

At least Square Enix didn’t charge for the game, and learning that the AI didn’t work is a data point for research.

If you want to see how frustrating it is for yourself, you can play The Portopia Serial Murder Case for free on Steam.

Written by Georgina Young on behalf of GLHF.