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Square Enix resurrects The Portopia Serial Murder Case using AI

A developer studio that is always attentive to technological trends, —no matter how controversial— is Square Enix. His latest crusade of course has to do with the possibilities of artificial intelligence or AI (AI in English) and for this he uses a classic title. The chosen one to experience the AI ​​is The Portopia Serial Murder Casea visual novel written and designed by Yuji Horii, creator of Dragon Quest.

The 1983 game was originally released for the NEC PC-6001 personal computer and was later ported to MSX, Famicom, and mobile, but never outside of Japan. The Portopia Serial Murder Case receives a remaster for Steam on April 23 under the subtitle AI Tech Preview. This includes natural language processing technology.


The use of artificial intelligence, which causes so much controversy in the art world for just reasons, is also taken with a grain of salt in video games. The debate on the use of this technology with non-original sources of texts, images and videos is long and hard. How could Square Enix attempt an “AI technology preview” without being beaten by its audience? It turns out that these types of games that are so dependent on text can greatly benefit from machine learning.

The Portopia Serial Murder Case: AI Tech Preview

In the process of developing The Portopia Serial Murder Case: AI Tech PreviewSquare Enix uses natural language processing or NLP for its acronym in English. It is the same automatic learning to understand the language in a more conversational way.. This uses huge blocks of complex comprehension text and generates responses accordingly. Old adventure games that used text commands as their main mechanics would greatly benefit from this measure.


In the case of the new version of portopiainstead of a direct adventure we have a detective who freely investigates the case. Players are not limited by pre-defined questions but by what their creative minds tell them to write. It is in the responses that it differs from other old or modern visual novels, since the AI ​​acts accordingly to the information collected.

The Portopia Serial Murder Case IA
Answers generated by machine learning are not fully integrated.

However, Square Enix points out on the game’s Steam page that this function was omitted from the game. AI Tech Preview. This is due to the risk of generating “unethical responses”. A big problem that artificial intelligence technology still grapples with. The company could reintroduce this feature as soon as its research in the field manages to create an environment where players “enjoy the experience with peace of mind.”

Another mechanic that will help to test is speech to text. In portopia, players can use their own voice instead of the keyboard. However, it requires a versatile processor card and a good amount of VRAM to achieve a satisfactory experience. It’s optional but nice to have, either way. This is the first time that The Portopia Serial Murder Case is available in western and english. Similar to the case of Famicom Detective Club but as a technical demo instead of adaptation.

The Portopia Serial Murder Case: AI Tech Preview has no price.


Via: Destructoid