Just weeks after Final Fantasy 16, Square Enix patents a way to make NPCs smarter by letting players "coach" them

Final Fantasy 16
(Image credit: Square Enix)

On the heels of Final Fantasy 16, Square Enix has patented a way to make NPCs smarter with the help of players. 

As spotted by Exputer, the company recently published a patent called Video Game Coaching Session which looks at "training a virtual character to overcome the adversities without directly controlling them." In other words, coaching NPCs on how we would like them to act in any given situation and leaving them to it.

According to Square Enix, with the proposed system, the player would "influence the behavior of the virtual character" by issuing instructions on the gameplay action to be performed and providing "contextual feedback". The more the NPC is trained, the more consistent their behaviour becomes, which the patent suggests "could lead to increased player satisfaction".

As you may recall, Capcom's Dragon's Dogma has a system similar to this called Inclinations, which allows players to govern the behaviour of their main pawn, including how they act in battle, what actions they take, and what items they use. With a sequel on the way and with Square Enix seemingly wanting to step up its NPC game, we could have much more believable, and hopefully more dependable, companions joining us on our virtual adventures in the future.

This comes just weeks after the launch of the latest entry in Square's iconic RPG series. In our Final Fantasy 16 review, we said, "Final Fantasy 16 recaptures the spirit of reinvention that the series lends itself to. This new approach to action coalesces with a world you'll want to explore, and an endearing story which is powerfully executed by its voice cast."

See all the biggest and best titles set to release before the year is out in our guide to new games 2023.

Anne-Marie Ostler
Freelance Writer

Originally from Ireland, I moved to the UK in 2014 to pursue a Games Journalism and PR degree at Staffordshire University. Following that, I've freelanced for GamesMaster, Games TM, Official PlayStation Magazine and, more recently, Play and GamesRadar+. My love of gaming sprang from successfully defeating that first Goomba in Super Mario Bros on the NES. These days, PlayStation is my jam. When not gaming or writing, I can usually be found scouring the internet for anything Tomb Raider related to add to my out of control memorabilia collection.