View Full Version : Feedback: NPC speech

11-20-2015, 07:03 AM
Finally playing the game on PC since yesterday, and I'm in love with it. Thank you, Ubisoft.

There's one weird problem which really sticks out to me. A lot of what gets decried as "bad AI" in this series could be cured by attention to speech.

1) Barks happening too close together

This is an odd one because, back in AC2 and ACB, there was a worse issue. NPCs might utter the same line barely a few milliseconds apart, creating a weird robot voice like a timestretch effect in a 90s Jungle record. It's never happened since, so I guess notes were made and code was changed to ensure that couldn't happen. It needs to be extended. While lines can't overlap anymore, it's still common to hear the same sentences spoken in close proximity and only a short time since you last heard it. Once a line is spoken, it needs to be temporarily banned from use for a while longer.

2) The wrong kinds of reactions

A common complaint about Syndicate is that the AI is "stupid"; the NPCs do not react appropriately to bodies, and quickly ignore the problem of corpses. I expect this is something that you've looked at and tested in different ways, realising that realistic permanent fright isn't necessarily the best thing in practice. Nonetheless, the AI could be kept exactly how it is, if the characters talked as though they were freaked out...

"Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Death! We have to do something!"
"For God's sake, stay alert and stop drawing attention to it! You want the captains coming over here? Feel like explaining to them how one assassin is picking off our people when there's a whole gang of us?"
"It's one thing saying it and another thing doing it!"
"I know, I know... Just... Use that fear, alright? Keep your nerve..."

Another one is Rooks saying silly stuff, just like allies did in Unity. It makes no sense if me and my allies go through a brutal fight, and then as soon as we've won the allies start remarking that there are dead bodies here and asking who did it. Worse still is allies saying things to me that aren't just bad out of context, but they should simply never say them. The number of times I've saved an ally from a Templar attacker only to have them flip straight from "You saved my life" into "You dirty thief" the moment I start looting the body is ridiculous. I'm the only person they'll ever see looting corpses, and I'm their boss - the one person in the game they should never criticise like that. It's odd, and the lines are a waste of storage.

3) Incredibly unfortunate coincidence

I remember this happened in Unity as well. There's a very tense scene where Arno comes into the HQ with Élise, and all the other assassins are troubled by the situation. Murder is being threatened by Bellec. But in my game, in the background? The weirdest interjections of, I assume, the weapon shop man just outside the doorway, who kept calling out "Ahh, Arno!" and "Arno! What cheer?" at precisely the wrong moments.

I almost died laughing on the first Charles ****ens mission. That name's not going to make any sense because of the swear filter, so let's call him Chickens. An excitable man cowers in horror from Jacob and Evie, declaring that the aura of death is carried by them. Then the briefing begins, and partway through I realise that one of the rudest NPCs happens to be standing right behind me in the pub. I've heard her out in the streets, but she's about to make me almost die laughing...

CHICKENS: Strange murders are being reported in Lambeth. Some attribute these deaths to a mysterious figure known as Spring Heeled Jack - an age-old demon who has stalked London since-
CHICKENS: I need you to go to the scenes of these attacks and investigate the truth behind these events-

It was as if she'd misunderstood and thought Chickens was giving her orders. In a way, I'm not sure I want this fixed. I haven't laughed that hard in ages. But if you have got a scene that involves setting an atmosphere of tension, then the more expressive NPCs really need to be stopped from talking until the scene is over.

11-20-2015, 08:25 PM
4) Weapons salesmen

"What can I get yer?"

*buys 30 knives*

"Leavin' empty-'anded? Suit yerself"


11-20-2015, 08:33 PM
The way NPCs respond to corpses is actually one of the improvement in my opinion. Civilians actually make a circle around bodies and call for police for help. The police then come and start waving their arms, pushing people away, and then questioning people. Definitely better than the past few game. although AC1 will always be the epitome of NPC reaction to crime. When you murdered someone, all the civilians would start screaming and descending into chaos, whereas in more recent games they have but a few condolences to share for the departed.

11-20-2015, 08:49 PM
^ This is very true. I don't want to seem like I'm saying it's never been improved, because it certainly has. It just needs a few more "overview" checks to prevent the most ridiculous things.

11-20-2015, 08:54 PM
4) Weapons salesmen

"What can I get yer?"

*buys 30 knives*

"Leavin' empty-'anded? Suit yerself"


^^ This. It hasn't really happened since AC2, maybe because they changed the lines to be more neutral. If the devs don't want to make extra effort to differentiate between when the player bought something vs. when they didn't (and I don't see why they should), they could just write more neutral lines like "Please come again".

Edit: Forgot to say I agree with the rest of the post as well, good points. Apart from these minor annoyances, I should remember to mention how grateful I am that the NPCs are actually commenting on your actions again, like "Where's he going in such a hurry? There must be something going on". It's been missing from the series for so long and it really adds to the atmosphere. http://static5.cdn.ubi.com/u/ubiforums/20130918.419/images/smilies/smile.png

11-20-2015, 09:30 PM
4) Weapons salesmen
"What can I get yer?"
*buys 30 knives*
"Leavin' empty-'anded? Suit yerself"

This bugs me the most I would say.

11-21-2015, 06:03 AM
5) Thieves

As you tackle them, they're aggressive as Hell, threatening to rip your face off or just plain roaring. Then they get up and cower immediately and beg forgiveness. It makes no sense - you'd think you were about to go into a fight with them. Unity was the same

[ETA] Sixkeys - The strange thing is that there are several different lines the salesmen use: "You know where I am if you change your mind", etc. It could just easily be "You know where I am if you want to buy anything in the future", which works for both cases, or "Do come again", as you suggested.

11-21-2015, 01:29 PM
Glad its not just me. The most aggravating for me though is when you are on carriages, and the same three or four words are repeated over and over....

....and over.


11-21-2015, 01:46 PM
And when your kidnapping someone they say the same 3 lines over and over and over and over and over again.