Stalk solo in Friday The 13th, with bots for offline play

Friday The 13th

Artificial intelligence is a challenge enough for game developers, but I can only imagine that the latest patch for the Friday The 13th game brought a raft of new and interesting problems to developers Illfonic, as they’ve had to simulate artificial stupidity.

As of this week, less sociable murderers can experience the game from Jason’s perspective offline, with the camp-grounds populated by a swarm of up to seven AI-controlled camp counselors possessed of almost suicidally poor judgement. It just wouldn’t be authentic otherwise.

Sadly, the bots only work as fodder for Jason in offline play, so if you were hoping to cooperate with a team of expendable AI friends while evading Jason, you’re out of luck. Still, given that Jason’s gameplay was the hardest aspect of the game to learn (being one against an entire team), it’s a great place for new players to learn what the big guy is meant to be doing, all while observing the Do’s and Do Not’s of life as a counselor.

Bots aren’t the only major addition in this new update. The Virtual Cabin – a combination of virtual developer diary and Easter egg repository – has been overhauled, and now boasts some new secrets to uncover. The full patch-notes suggest that there are some important revelations to be found in there for players wishing to sink a little time into poking around the dusty old building.

A new playable counsellor also joins the roster of the damned; Shelly Finkelstein from the 3rd film. While just another victim for Jason, this poor fool does have the dubious honor of being the one who inadvertently gave Jason his now-iconic hockey mask. They also managed to bring back original actor – Larry Zerner – to reprise the role, although I can’t help but wonder how many of his lines were variants on “Argh! Oh no! I am being stabbed in the face by a big scary man!”

The update also brings a higher level cap. Very dedicated players can now reach level 150, unlocking new kill animations and skins for Jason, new clothing options for the counselors, and promises of further goodies to be unlocked further down the line, assuming players have already reached the required level.

All in all, this is an impressive bundle of post-release support, and by no means the last that Illfonic have planned for the game. While the game may have suffered from some technical issues shortly after launch, it’s great to see that the studio have supported it well past those initial doldrums, making it a genuinely unique little multiplayer experience, albeit a slightly niche one.

4 Comments

  1. Jalan says:

    Seems like a big roadblock for AI Jason would be the inevitable “I’ll just hide somewhere until the clock runs out” scenario. Of course the response of having a map that eliminates the singular hiding spots in favor of giving the AI Jason the advantage of ambush and elimination tactics would be little fun for the counselors.

    • poliovaccine says:

      Speaking just for myself (when are you not, really?) I think the main “obstacle” to me playing that way would be just the fact it doesnt sound like a very fun way to win. That was true enough of hide and seek back in the day, too – if I heard my friends clomp past like three times without finding me, I tended to get bored and either burst out at em going Rahrahrah, or else I’d sneak out and challenge myself to find a new hiding place. Just waiting out the game was always gonna be boring, which defeats the point of playing a game.

      I always cared a lot more about the moment-to-moment playing than the winning though, in anything. I guess I can see how hiding like that might be a bigger temptation to a different personality – say, for example, those folks who dislike having easy options or save-anywhere functionality or etc in their games because, once they know of an exploit or objectively superior way to play, they feel compelled to do that and nothing else. I can see those folks getting bogged down in a good hiding spot, I guess.

      • Jalan says:

        I get a laugh at the notion of an AI Jason just standing motionless once the AI realizes all counselors have pulled the glitch out of the map boundary trick.

        Part of me wishes a reality where AI Jason would work exists but I think that part may have been a little spoiled by the likes of AI in games like Left 4 Dead.

  2. MotelHell says:

    I expected a colossal buggy mess to mirror the production of the rest of the game, but the bots actually aren’t as bad as one might expect. Sure, they get stuck now and then and struggle on hills and such, but they actually hide, fight back, run each other over with the car, attempt goals, etc. Unfortunately it’s just a bare-bones mode with no additional features beyond choosing your Jason/map. There’s also a difficulty setting, but it doesn’t seem to affect much.

    All in all, the bots aren’t great, but at least they’re about as stupid as actual stupid players.

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