It’s been a long time since Grand Theft Auto V released, and since then the anticipation of the next GTA from Rockstar has ever increased. The studio seemingly has a knack for creating incredibly realized and dynamic open worlds, and a new patent suggests the next GTA entry could include extremely advanced AI.

The patent was discovered on Reddit, and whilst there’s no mention of Grand Theft Auto 6 specifically, it was created by David Hynd, the Associate Director of Technology at Rockstar, and Simon Parr, the Lead AI Programmer at Rockstar. And since it has to do with traffic and NPC driving behaviour, it’s probably not Red Dead Redemption 3 either.

What’s exciting about the new patent, called “System And Method For Virtual Navigation In A Gaming Environment”, is that it details a system to make even more realistic driving behaviour in an open world environment, and seemingly does away with all the CPU processing power usually required for it by creating “a realistic virtual world that is not limited by hardware and software limitations.

Traditionally, the kind of NPC behaviours detailed in this patent are generally limited by the amount of processor and memory bandwidth in a system. The patent more specifically details this in traffic behaviour, including cars, boats, aircrafts and drivers in general.

It also criticizes traditional NPC and AI behaviours, saying that the current limitations on processor and memory bandwidth result in NPCs that “fade out of existence as the player approaches the NPC,” and that it only allows for a predetermined amount of NPC controlled cars. Which doesn’t exactly create a very realistic experience. 

Another point of interest is the mention that “each NPC can define its own specific characteristics for traversing the road nodes,” meaning a more realistic depiction of driving behaviour in NPCs and AI. These characteristics specifically include “acceleration, times/distances, braking times/distances, top speed, cornering speeds (i.e., maximum speeds the vehicle can take at a corner without spinning or going off line).

Even the physical attributes of some vehicles like the size, width, or type, can affect those characteristics and systems outlined above.

There is something else worth noting though. The patent specifically states that it is for “virtual navigation and management of objects in a multiplayer network gaming community.” That means there is a slight chance that GTA 6 will be an open world multiplayer game much like the extremely successful Grand Theft Auto Online, which would make a lot of sense.

A silver lining, however, is that the system is described to be using a cloud network that will communicate with a player’s platform. So it’s possible that it only means GTA VI will be an always online game rather than a full multiplayer title. Or at least require an online connection in order to deliver the realistic AI experience. Plus, Rockstar already stated recently that they are still focusing on single player content for future games.

Additionally, the patent could also be used for GTA Online instead of GTA 6, as it mentions the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles rather than the next-gen versions that you would expect Grand Theft Auto VI to release on. 

Either way, the new system will be interesting to see in action, as it sounds more like an actual simulation happening in the background to make for a more realistic and immersive experience.

What do you think? Are you excited for Grand Theft Auto 6? Do you think this patent is for the next GTA? Or something else? Let us know!

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