Patents tend to reveal a thing or two early – it’s mostly been an issue for Sony, but the press now hopped on something related to Take-Two and Rockstar.
The patent surfaced on Reddit, and it registers a „system and method for virtual navigation in a gaming environment.” The document, which you can find on USPTO’s website, was filed by Take-Two in October, so it’s somewhat recent.
The patent is discussing how non-playable characters (or NPCs for short) can get their artificial intelligence a little smarter and more organic, as the current AI solutions are somewhat outdated. It notes that „conventional systems only provide limited resources” for developers. In other words, the NPCs only do what they are scripted to do and nothing else. You can’t do much with them (and even then, they might be outright broken – for instance, you can punch a wheelchaired NPC in Cyberpunk 2077, only to see this character stand up and run away).
Rockstar claims the current AI systems are deficient, and they instead want systems that can produce „a realistic virtual world that is not limited by hardware or software limitations.” It points to an NPC solution that can give the characters different personalities. For example, think of a traffic jam. One driver might patiently wait to get through, while another one might reverse out and find a different way. Also, no hardware limitations could be interpreted as a game running in the cloud, and not via local hardware (like a PlayStation 5).
It’s just guessing at the moment, but the patent references a „high-speed chase” and „ambient traffic,” so it’s unlikely to be a hint at Red Dead Redemption 3. Oh, and guess who the inventors are? Rockstar North tech director David Hynd and AI lead Simon Parr. So Grand Theft Auto VI, which isn’t officially announced yet (it could launch in 2023 due to Take-Two increasing its marketing spending then), is likely in development.