Tech in Action: Alice & Smith hands the ARG keys to AI

Google AI mastered hundreds of human phobias, then took over the gameplay.

Moons of Madness

Alice & Smith, the Humanise Collective studio specializing in alternate reality games (ARG), used Google AI to launch what it considers the “most advanced ARG” it has ever created.

The Montreal-based agency worked with Norwegian game developer Funcom to create an AI-based storytelling experience for the ARG Cyrano Story. The platform gives players an eerie peek into the backstory of Moons of Madness, a PC horror game that launched Oct. 22.

By teaching Google AI 298 different human phobias, the agency was able to give the AI control of the experience and player interactions.

“This is by far the most advanced ARG we have ever created,” said Andrea Doyon, chief storyteller at Alice & Smith, in a release. “We basically put Google AI in charge of the game universe. Like with any other AI, players interact with it through words, but it replies using emotions, sounds, visuals or even creepy ghost whispers.”

As of Nov. 5, the agency says the AI had had more than 107,000 conversations with players. Those who succeed at solving the puzzles within the game have been given “keys” to Moons of Madness, as well as another ARG developed by Alice & Smith called The Black Watchmen.