Vaudeville – the ChatGPT AI game: Review
This game was reviewed on PC.
Reviewed by: Nikola Hristov
A quick disclaimer – this game is in early access, as it uses cutting edge technology which is very new to the gaming field and therefore has not been tested enough.
Well, we all know that Chat GPT has been taking the world by storm – it gives us people the ability to make school and work easier for ourselves, or it answers difficult questions, or sometimes it even has a conversation with us. The developers over at Bumblebee had an idea – what if we make the AI into videogame NPCs and create a game where the player has the freedom to ask them anything they want? This is what you're getting with Vaudeville.
The concept behind the game is very straightforward. You play as a detective and go around a town called Vaudeville, asking these ChatGPT NPCs whatever questions you find fit, while also trying to solve the murder mystery – where three people were killed, all by different culprits. There's about 10 different NPC's that are essentially all ChatGPT, but with different personalities coded into it, and key phrases – things like referring to the other characters of the game, the murders, and suggesting clues to the player to help them with the mystery. Although they're literally the famous AI language model, they're restricted from using its full capabilities, and are instead focused on the events of the game – which makes sense, as otherwise you would just have players asking all sorts of crazy things. There isn't much more to talk about when it comes to the actual gameplay – it's literally just a murder mystery with very experimental technology. But does it actually work?
Yes and no. If you're playing seriously and you actively try solving the case, as that's your main objective, then the NPCs will lead you to the answers, so long as you ask them the right questions. That being said, if you want to break the game and truly abuse the absurdity of AI, you can do that – again, by asking the right questions. You can even get the characters to say stuff like "As a language model…" – as streamer Willneff managed to do. Unfortunately, this really takes you out of the game. Although it's mostly an interesting experience that keeps you wanting to talk to your microphone more and more, these moments definitely happen and remind you that it is indeed AI, not human craftwork behind the NPCs. The monotonous and robotic voices don't help much, either.
Overall, the game has lots of potential, and I would love to give the developers some advice to improve the experience for all of us. Firstly – this is something that they're probably already working on, but I still wanted to mention it here – the AI itself. It's obvious that it isn't perfectly incorporated into the videogame, and it sometimes makes characters either repeat the same sentences or even break the fourth wall, completely ruining the immersion. It is so much fun though. Secondly – they need to add a few more characters, as 10 is not enough for more than few hours of playtime. Lastly – they need to add clear progression that takes you from one NPC to another, instead of you just completely guessing where to go. I don't mean that the game needs to give you all the answers, just a better sense of direction. One more thing is the pricing – but I know that isn't easy to change. However, 20 bucks for this, for a lack of better word, sh*tshow is just a bit too much for the average gamer's pockets. I can buy Red Dead 2 for a few bucks more if it's on sale, and the two are veeeery far in terms of quality.
I'm trying not to be very critical as like I said, this is EXTREMELY new technology to all of us, and it's barely even used in game development, if at all. However, though Vaudeville is very funny sometimes, it lacks the intrigue and drama of a murder mystery and instead acts as a training tool for ChatGPT's eventual usability in videogames. I assume this experience will give the developers lots of data and will make future improvements meaningful. Not to mention we're probably getting many more titles using AI for its NPCs a few year down the line. But as of right now, this is nothing more than an experiment and a couple of hours of fun. For more info on the game, I recommend checking out streamers on Twitch and YouTube, as it's currently quite popular there.
Reviewed by: Nikola Hristov