Up For Debate - AI Companions In Games

Written by Stuart Thomas on Sat, Jan 2, 2016 12:00 PM
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Few things are as divisive in game as AI companions. They’re everywhere these days in open-world games, providing players with a helping hand, a polygonal shoulder to cry on, or just as a vehicle for some exposition. The problem is, if most AI companions had a brain cell, it would die of loneliness, such is the vacuous space between their ears we like to call 'intelligence'.

We’ve all got tales of a monstrously stupid AI companion stumbling blissfully unaware onto a live grenade, or running headlong into traffic. For all the intelligence advancements your foes make, your AI buddies still seem incapable of keeping their heads attached to their necks.

That said, it’s easy to see why AI companions are added to certain games. In Fallout 4 they add an additional layer of character, story and realism, making your trek around the wasteland that little bit less lonely. It can be more immersive to hear Cait agree with you when you take a less than saintly approach to a quest in Fallout 4. Or just turning around for a chit-chat with your Dragon Age: Origins companions, learning a little more about their back-stories.

In Fallout 4 though I basically resorted to using Dogmeat all the time. Mainly because he never stole my kills, but also because he didn’t talk. The post-apocalypse is lonely, and I felt wandering around with another person broke the sense of desolation. The only reason I stuck with Dogmeat was to load him up as glorified pack mule. You wouldn't believe the chaingun, power armour and jet stash he had hidden under his fur. If he attempted anything like the clip below, he’d be sent straight to the doghouse.

 Ayo tired of your shit dawg-meat.

There’s some truly terrible AI companions out there as well. Anyone who struggled through GoldenEye 007 will have had nightmares of escorting Natalya, who seemed determined to walk in front of each and every bullet. She didn’t even speak! Then there was Bioshock Infinite’s Elizabeth. She was pretty great for story reasons, but her gameplay involvement extended as far as throwing you ammo clips.

So are you a fan of AI companions in games? Can you think of any standout characters? Let us know where you stand!

Are you a fan of AI companions?

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02:09 Jan-05-2016

Call Of Duty games have good companions, which we need especially in stealthy situations ;)

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05:13 Jan-04-2016

Ellie was a pretty nice companion

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10:01 Jan-03-2016

The worst companion ever was Private O'Neal in Aliens:Colonial Marines. The ****er got stuck in every object and wall.

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08:16 Jan-03-2016

I kinda need a companion in every game. I was afraid to go alone. I remember playing Call of Duty on PC (the old one, around 2004). I was in this level where there were no companions, just randomly generated allies which can die. I can't get past the level because it was too hard (running out of medkit or something like that), and seeing the allies dying makes me stop playing.

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05:45 Jan-03-2016

Battlefield 4 has the best companions...

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06:48 Jan-03-2016

Yeah but sadly you have to "kill" one of them in the end! This is what that made me angry, I wish there was an option for letting me jump!

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04:52 Jan-03-2016

That clip though lol, rofl.

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03:40 Jan-03-2016

Bioware's Rpgs have created some amazing companions. From Garrus in Mass Effect, HK-47 in Kotor, and Alistair in Dragon Age. Their character development was so good that at the end of the game I was sad to see them go after finishing a game

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18:18 Jan-03-2016

hk-47 is possibly the best companion in any game ever.

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16:11 Jan-06-2016

Correction: Hk-47 IS the best companion in any game ever.

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19:15 Jan-07-2016

touche! I have to agree... i absolutely love his banter!

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19:50 Jan-08-2016

My favorite parts of HK-47 was in Kotor 2 when he always referred G0-T0 as "Fat one".


"Query: What is it you wish, fat one?"

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02:17 Jan-03-2016

Trevor,micheal,and franklin act as AI in GTA V when not playing with them and they are super usefull

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02:14 Jan-03-2016

When looking at yen in withcer 3,some times she helps kill monsters fast but sometimes no matter what types of spell she uses enemy get a minor damage

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22:59 Jan-02-2016

Brothers in Arms has by far the best compainons!

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20:43 Jan-02-2016

I think the best friendly AI I've had in a game was Republic Commando. Your squadmates were actually useful and you didn't have to keep ordering them constantly

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19:37 Jan-02-2016

I think the companions in the Mass Effect series and Dragon Age series are quite good, they've never majorly screwed up anything in all my playthroughs, and they're quite interesting and funny too

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02:40 Jan-03-2016

Trying to fight dragons in Dragon Age: Inquisition is abysmal. The A.I. as so stupid. Mage: "Well, better run under his feet to cast this ranged spell". No matter how many times I order them to attack from a distance, they just run up to the dragon.

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07:34 Jan-03-2016

Yeah you're right about that, my ranged companions (usually Varric and Dorian) are always standing right by the dragon instead of waiting further back and attacking from there, I always end up using all my Healing Mist grenades on those two

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19:03 Jan-02-2016

the best companion is elisabeth, from Bioshock. She is immortal, doesn't stand in your way, and gives healh AND mana(or whatever it's called I forgot). Another plus she doesn't talk much.

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02:13 Jan-03-2016

I was gonna say that too.She's a charecter we get immersed into.

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06:26 Jan-03-2016

Agreed, I think they put a lot of effort in Elizabeth as she was the main character.

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18:35 Jan-02-2016

Honestly, what irritates me is when the AI's block a door you need to go through. It drives me nuts!

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18:18 Jan-02-2016

Doors!!! Get out of the dang way and let me out of the dang room!

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16:42 Jan-02-2016

Depends on the games..

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15:46 Jan-02-2016

As long as they don´t get stuck at some point fallout 3 and 4 and , of course half life, your buddies don´t even follow you and you have to keep pressing the E button to make them follow you and always waiting for them.

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15:42 Jan-02-2016

Its sooooo cool when a companion says your name! Games should make them say our names out loud more!

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15:35 Jan-02-2016

Fallout 4 is one of the game I played with companion and even though AI is bad, having a companion with you is a good thing imo. It makes games easier and makes you feel less alone in the game :)

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15:21 Jan-02-2016

female companions are highly welcome anytime :))

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15:57 Jan-02-2016

In my opinion female companions are welcome when they are real characters instead of pure sexism found body. You can tell the difference by looking at their clothes, biggest sign is leaving abdominal area unprotected.

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21:56 Jan-02-2016

Don't pretend now that you don't like when you see ''abdominal area unprotected'' female AI ;)
This all may sound harsh,but the reality is that more than 90% of gamers are male,so it makes sense for developers to put them in the game. Although they should never go too far in my opinion.

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06:13 Jan-03-2016

If i would want to see abdominal area there are better alternatives than playing video games :D
In a war i expect people to dress in heavy armor with lots of scratches and blood. Then a lady comes wearing bikini and no one manages to hurt her, it kills immersion.

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10:08 Jan-03-2016

That is true hahah :D

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14:37 Jan-04-2016

I care about armor rating, usually less is more :D :D

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