Square Enix Showcases AI Tech with The Portopia Serial Murder Case for PC

Square Enix offers a free-to-play PC title that explores Natural Language Processing and its impact on adventure games, using The Portopia Serial Murder Case as an example.
The Portopia Serial Murder Case Promo
Image: Square Enix

Square Enix recently announced the launch of Square Enix AI Tech Preview: The Portopia Serial Murder Case, a free-to-play educational demonstration for PC via Steam, releasing on April 24. This software explores the application of modern Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology to the 1983 adventure game, The Portopia Serial Murder Case, created by Dragon Quest series creator Yuji Horii.

Originally, adventure games like The Portopia Serial Murder Case employed a “command input” system, in which players typed text to control their characters. These systems offered considerable freedom but often frustrated players who struggled to find the correct wording for desired actions due to limitations in PC performance and NLP technology at the time.

Now, 40 years later, the advancements in both PC performance and NLP technology have been immense. Square Enix aims to showcase the capabilities of modern NLP and its potential impact on adventure games by using The Portopia Serial Murder Case as an example, while also helping players deepen their understanding of NLP technologies.

NLP is a technology that enables computers to understand and generate natural language, the language used in daily communication. By using deep learning on vast sets of text data, systems can understand complex text input (Natural Language Understanding or NLU) and generate human-like responses (Natural Language Generation or NLG).

NLU is a crucial research area within NLP that seeks to help computers correctly interpret natural language, even when it contains ambiguities. In this tech preview, NLU is utilized to enable the junior detective character to comprehend the player’s instructions.

Speech-to-Text (STT) or Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology converts voice input into written text, allowing players to give instructions using their voice instead of a keyboard. However, to experience this feature optimally, a CUDA-capable GPU and a large amount of VRAM are necessary.

NLG is an essential research topic in the NLP field, with applications such as AI engines that answer questions on behalf of human operators and AI-powered chatbots. The tech preview originally included a function based on NLG technology, where the system generated natural replies to questions without pre-written responses. However, due to the risk of the AI generating unethical replies, the NLG function has been omitted from this release. Square Enix plans to reintroduce this function once research ensures a safe and enjoyable environment for players.

Shaun Savage

Shaun Savage

Shaun Savage is the founder and editor-in-chief of Try Hard Guides. He has been covering and writing about video games for over 9 years. He is a 2013 graduate of the Academy of Art University with an A.A. in Web Design and New Media. In his off-time, he enjoys playing video games, watching bad movies, and spending time with his family.

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