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'GTA 6' gameplay: Take-Two's patent filing suggests NPCs could show more realistic behavior

From the trailer of 'GTA Online: Cayo Perico Heist' | Photo credit: Rockstar Games / YouTube screenshot

One of the gameplay improvements that "GTA 6" could be feature might focus on the non-playable characters (NPCs). It was recently discovered that Rockstar Games' parent company, Take-Two Interactive, filed a patent application for a technology-centered on making NPCs appear more realistic.

Rockstar's parent company applies patent for NPC-focused tech

NPCs are vital gameplay elements to open-world games. It has been true, especially for "GTA" titles, since some of the iconic moments in these games happen in the interactions between main protagonists and the NPCs they encounter in the streets.

Take-Two filed a patent (via IGN) titled "System and Method for Virtual Navigation in a Gaming Environment" last October. Descriptions provided for the invention heavily focused on how this new tech could drastically improve the addition of NPCs and how developers can program them into behaving more realistically in the game.

The invention is described to use "a system for managing nodes and node graphs" to navigate and manage NPCs virtually. The patent filing explains this would let developers add "realistic movements" for NPCs without worrying too much about consuming too much computing power.

While all the franchise's installments before "GTA 6" are already famous for NPC interactions, the patent explains there is still a limit to what developers can do to using the "conventional systems." Hardware factors such as processing power and memory let developers add, for example, "predetermined number of NPC controlled cars" to video games with the technology that they have now. And Take-Two argues players would expect to see more of these NPC cars for a more realistic experience.

It also appears that the new tech aims for NPCs to behave or respond more realistically to what is happening around them, like if they are driving cars or walking on the streets. The patent filing noted that the current NPC-making systems "relied almost entirely on local traffic avoidance for NPCs to avoid collisions."

Is 'GTA 6' in development already?

Fans should note that the patent application does not mention "GTA 6." But it is not entirely baseless to say there are potential connections between the document and the unannounced game. For one, most of the examples used are referring to NPCs in cars and on the streets. Rockstar's Associate Director of Technology, David Hynd, and Lead AI and Gameplay Programmer, Simon Parr, have also been named the inventors of the NPC-focused tech.

The timing of the patent's filing also indicates a possibility for it to be used to develop "GTA 6." Neither Take-Two nor Rockstar has officially recognized the game's existence, but several reliable sources have confirmed the studio is already working on the highly anticipated title.

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