What Rockstar's New Patent Really Means For GTA

Ruben Fields
January 20, 2021

It was recently discovered that Rockstar Games' parent company, Take-Two Interactive, filed a patent application for a technology-centered on making NPCs appear more realistic. Rockstar's Associate Director of Technology, David Hynd, and Lead AI and Gameplay Programmer, Simon Parr, have also been named the inventors of the NPC-focused tech.

This new system is designed to create "a virtual virtual world that is not defined by hardware and software limitations", which acts as a replacement for existing systems and conventional systems that can not generate the NPC behaviors that players expect within the confines of memory. The described system would result in a more realistic and immersive traffic simulation.

Rockstar has not confirmed anything officially about Grand Theft Auto 6. Although it is not explicitly stated that this patent is for Rockstar Games and GTA 6, the Reddit user behind the post specifies that the developers who filed the patent are employees of Rockstar.

Of particular interest is that the system means that "each NPC can define their own specific characteristics to carry out their routes on the road". But, if one were to assume GTA 6 will use these nodes, what would happen to the NPCs when the internet goes down or the servers are inevitably taken offline?

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In the document, it is said that the system now in use is still very limited in making NPCs look more real, just like in the real world. The patent also specifically mentions that the system is designed for an online multiplayer game and would rely on cloud software to bypass hardware limitations. If the system has been designed for a multiplayer game, the question arises as to whether Grand Theft Auto 6 will be an online experience. The cross-play feature mentions "the player console 101 can include any number of platforms 102 in communication with an input device".

To put it in context, patenting involves evaluating current issues with NPCs navigation systems, indicating that limited resource simulation reduces complexity. Current processing power and memory constraints mean that some NPCs "disappear when the player approaches the NPC " explains the patent.

Obviously, there's no recommendation that this is certainly connected to GTA 6 at the time of writing; Rockstar has scarcely even recognized the game exists.

The most interesting thing is that according to the patent, Rockstar is implementing an AI system that it can do Allow each driver to act independently.

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