This editorial over on the PC hardware site PC Perspective considers the age-old issue of why PC gamers stick with their format, rather than opting for the ease of consoles. It covers many tired old routines, such as the flexibility of the PC’s options and scaled resources, as well as the complexity of mouse/keyboard controls systems. One thing it comes up with that I’ve not heard before is this:
While Bethesda was having problems with certain Non-Player Character interactions, one can’t help but wonder if the AI was lobotomized to make it play well on the Xbox 360. If you never saw Bethesda’s pre-release demo videos they displayed at the 2005 E3, you can find them on YouTube. I would suggest the 5th video on which details the complexity of the Radiant AI specifically, as it shows the breadth the original version of the AI would display. If you never played the game, you can see the final implementation in many of the other videos on YouTube, from bizarre domestic violence to the death penalty for stealing bread. One of the most rabid fan bases for a PC game are having a collective convulsions in dread of what Bethesda will do to their favourite franchise. Fallout 3 is going to be released on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 as well as the PC, and will use the Radiant AI system.
Those are their own links in there, and the first link explains what he’s talking about. Anyway, I can’t help thinking that any reduction in AI sophistication must have been about making the game work on more lower-end PCs too, since anything that didn’t work on the 360 wouldn’t work on a whole load of lesser PCs, right? It’s interesting that there is, potentially, a more sophisticated Oblivion AI out there though, and you wonder if an AI mod might serve/break the game in interesting ways.
Ultimately I think we all know why we enjoy PC gaming and don’t really need this kind of editorial to explain it to us. Nevertheless I actually believe a number of cross-platform developments have proven that the process need not result in a “reduced” experience on PC. The different formats are increasingly just serving different tastes and personal gaming habits.
It’s just, well, if only you could lean in Bioshock…