Update [Mon 24th Apr, 2023 17:35 BST]: As spotted by PC Gamer, it appears Square Enix's new AI Tech Demo for The Portopia Serial Murder Case isn't necessarilly going down well with players on Steam.
Its Steam page has been inundated with negative reviews from frustrated players and the demo now sits at a "Very Negative" rating with a total of 236 posts from users.
Chief complaints appear to be about the AI's ability to recognize commands typed into the parser, with the game repeating lines like "Hmm...", "Maybe we should focus on the task at hand", and "I'm not sure what to say about that" to anything but the most precise of inputs. Considering this is the exact problem the demo was meant to solve, it's a little bit disappointing to say the least. Hopefully, over time, Square Enix will address these problems, so that users don't have to go searching for a step-by-step walkthrough just to see the game through.
Original Article [Fri 21st Apr, 2023 16:35 BST]: Square-Enix is releasing a remake of the seminal Japanese graphic adventure game The Portopia Serial Murder Case later this month, as reported by IGN Japan and spotted by the Twitter user Gosokkyu. But before you go getting too excited, it's worth clarifying that this isn't a straightforward remake like you might expect, but a free "educational" demonstration of Natural Language Processing (NLP), a piece of AI technology.
Players will be able to download the free demo on Steam on April 24th, with the game essentially being a showcase for how well NLP can understand, process, and reply to commands that are being typed into a text box. IGN Japan reports that you will be able to play through the entire story, with the technology apparently working for both Japanese and English. There's even a text-to-speech option too.
In case you've never heard of it, The Portopia Serial Murder Case is an influential Japanese adventure game that was originally released for the NEC-6001 computer back in 1983. The Dragon Quest creator and Chrono Trigger writer/supervisor Yuji Horii was responsible for its design and story, which follows an unnamed detective's investigation into the death of a banker.
After its initial release, the game was later ported to a range of other computers, consoles, and devices, including MSX, Famicom, and mobile phones.
It's certainly interesting to see the game get revisited all these years later, but we have to admit we're a little bit undecided on the method of execution. What do you make of the news? Let us know in the comments!