At the tail end of the 20th century, a concept known as artificial intelligence made its debut. It was able to successfully establish itself in popular culture, which resulted in the production of a large number of fascinating books, films, and video games in which the creators attempted to reveal AI from a variety of perspectives. To this day, though, such characters are only utilized in video games, where they frequently end up being quite fascinating in the course of their play. We made the decision to think back on some of the most iconic AI characters, ones who have managed to carve out a place for themselves in the annals of gaming history and are recognizable to the vast majority of players.
Attention! Spoilers are included in the content. It is preferable to skip the paragraph if you have not played any of the games or series mentioned.
Handsome Jack – Borderlands series
Our collection begins with an incredible example of artificial intelligence built on the basis of a real person. As the director of the Hyperion Corporation, a figure named Jack appears in the Borderlands series of games. He tragically dies in the sequel, but his colleagues manage to transfer the evil genius’s consciousness into a computer and build artificial intelligence based on it. Players will meet the figure in the likeness of Handsome Jack for the first time in Telltale’s Tales from the Borderlands, as well as in later games in the franchise.
The most intriguing aspect of Jack‘s position is that he does not fully comprehend his death. The individual will act as if he is alive and well from the moment he appears in the image of a hologram, and everyone around him is insane and trying to prove the opposite to him. This is amusing to watch until AI Handsome Jack finally accepts his situation and begins seeking vengeance on everyone. Fortunately for the Borderlands universe’s characters, this will not last long. Handsome Jack also dies in AI form, leaving the series without one of its most colorful characters.
SHODAN – System Shock Series
Perhaps one of the most wicked AI in video games is about to appear in front of you. Furthermore, this artificial intelligence is the major enemy in the first half of System Shock, and the developers do not even consider changing his character or trying to change SHODAN’s conduct towards a positive character along the passage. The franchise’s protagonist, on the other hand, is well aware of AI’s danger from the start and is simply obliged to stop him. Despite the fact that this assignment appears straightforward on paper, SHODAN is far more perilous in practice.
It’s worth mentioning that the character’s reveal and development are executed flawlessly. The series’ creators even worked out how to effectively resurrect SHODAN in the sequel, allowing her to inhabit the main character and force him to follow her orders. As a result, in System Shock 2, you’ll have to rid yourself of SHODAN and defend the world from the wicked artificial intelligence once more. Of course, the System Shock series may appear old today, but it was once a game-changing series, and the SHODAN character has long become a cult figure who is remembered by a large number of gamers, so it would be a crime not to include her in this collection.
SUZI – Mass Effect series
EMI, which was initially only software aboard the Normandy SR-2 ship, is without a doubt one of the most intriguing AI in the gaming business. However, the Mass Effect series’ authors decided to take things a step further and turn the EMS into a fully developed character with self-awareness and the ability to be trained. When the ship is under siege, the chief pilot, Joker, lifts all constraints on EDI and grants her complete control of the Normandy SR-2 for the first time. The software then takes on the role of a full-fledged character in the series.
And in the third installment of the SUZI franchise, she entirely takes over the body of Dr. Eve, transforming her into a new member of Captain Shepard’s crew. By the way, the player will have the option of bringing the AI to the Joker, which will result in the two developing a romantic bond. I’m sure few people anticipated this evolution when the Mass Effect series first began. Overall, SUZI deserves to be remembered as one of the most remarkable AI in video games. They were able to convincingly demonstrate the evolution of artificial intelligence and what it could lead to in ME.
John Henry Eden – Fallout 3
As for me, this is one of the most intriguing examples of AI in video games because, at the start of the chapter, no one could believe in such a plot conclusion as in Fallout 3. John Henry Eden is introduced as the commander of the powerful Enclave organization and immediately establishes himself as a capable leader and manager. True, this individual never appears, instead delivering motivational speeches that inspire the Enclave’s followers to achieve greater heights.
In the final scene of Fallout 3, it is revealed that John Henry Eden is not a real person, but rather an advanced artificial intelligence based on the behavior of all US presidents. He was intended to take the best of each of them and use them to successfully rule the future America and make it the dominant state in the post-apocalyptic globe, as planned. However, something goes awry, and John Henry Eden transforms into a crazed dictator willing to go to any length to ensure the Enclave’s supremacy. Closer to the end of Fallout 3, the protagonist realizes this, and he has the option of either assisting the AI in the implementation of its evil goals, or turning it off and freeing the Enclave once and for all from the patriotic computer’s directives. In any case, John Henry Eden is a pivotal character in the Fallout universe, and he deserves to be remembered as one of the most memorable AI in gaming history, if only for his multidimensional personality and inspirational remarks.
SEM – Observation
Perhaps SAM is one of the only artificial intelligences in video games who, from the beginning to the end of Observation, remains a positive character that does not wish to kill the protagonist or enslave the entire human race. The project’s storyline is intriguing, and the game will undoubtedly appeal to aficionados of sci-fi horror games with riddles. You’ll have to play solely for SAM, an AI trapped within a spherical robot’s body. He must assist an astronaut called Emma Fisher in reuniting with Earth and safely returning home.
Despite his portrayal as a good hero, the SEM evolves and comes to think more broadly. Nonetheless, this AI’s motivations are admirable, and he genuinely wants to assist the hostess in establishing communication with her coworkers. Playing Observation is well worth your time because it’s also a good thriller. SAM will receive a signal from an unknown species at some point during the passage, after which the game will continue to surprise you with unexpected plot twists and reveal many mysteries. In summary, give it a shot because Observation is a fascinating endeavor, and it’s possible that this is the only place where you can play an AI game in a robot’s body.
Cortana – Halo Series
Even if you haven’t played any of the Halo the game, you’ve probably heard about Cortana. Since the beginning of the series, this artificial intelligence has served as an assistant on the Master Chief’s starship, appearing as a hologram of a beautiful female on a regular basis. Cortana in the earlier chapters of the franchise really wants to help people and goes out of her way to do so. It becomes evident that this AI possesses more humanity than many individuals, which is bound to bribe.
Nonetheless, there are numerous games in the Halo series, and the authors strove to vary Cortana’s character in each one, leading to one of the most interesting branches in the franchise’s primary plot. Cortana evolves from a helpful and compassionate assistant to a wicked AI willing to go to any length to achieve her goal. She will even become the Master Chief’s principal opponent in the last episodes of the series, despite the fact that she has always been his loving friend. In general, watching these two interact is a lot of fun, and this is exactly what many Halo fans were hoping for. Cortana has been a cult AI in the game business for a long time and has now comfortably retired. We met her replacement, “Weapons,” in Halo Infinite , but will she be able to take on the same colorful personality as her predecessor? The future will tell.
GLaDOS – Portal Series
GLaDOS is the ideal AI character from classic science fiction. A clever operating system that commands the entire scientific complex and gradually learns, leading to artificial intelligence’s desire to extinguish all life. Simultaneously, Valve’s engineers created GLaDOS, a figure and picture so memorable that many more people remember her than the primary character Portal’s name. Her name was Chell, and she became a guinea pig in the hands of a malicious AI from the first minutes of the passage. GLaDOS
It’s also worth noting that AI evolves during the course of the two parts of Portal. The operating system appears to be fairly good at first, and it treats the main character with affection. Then, in her remarks, she begins to show signs of carelessness. As a result, it becomes evident at some point that GLaDOS only wants to murder the player, which is why he creates numerous puzzles. In the second section, AI loses its mind and begins to actively threaten the player, which can be frightening in some locations because GLaDOS has far more power than the protagonist. In general, I strongly advise you to play the Portal series if you haven’t already. One of the most memorable and fascinating AI characters to date can be found in this franchise.
Jony Silverhand – Cyberpunk 2077
Finally, we have Jony Silverhand, a former military man and lead singer of a rock band, who enters the mind of the main character of Cyberpunk 2077 as artificial intelligence. This character, in my opinion, is the most successful example of a famous person being used in a video game. Keanu Reeves did not simply play a character in a video game here; he literally played another fantastic role in his life. Furthermore, Silverhand appears to be a crucial figure in the Cyberpunk 2077 plot in various places, despite the fact that this is not the case.
It’s also worth noting that the devs did an excellent job of portraying Joni’s history through recurring flashbacks in which the player can play as a confident rocker. Every task from Silverhand’s history is interesting and explains what happened to him in the past and what he wants from Cyberpunk 2077’s protagonist. This is the most current example of memorable AI in video games right now, and I believe Jony Silverhand will become a cult character over time. Cyberpunk 2077’s authors went to tremendous efforts to ensure that this is exactly what happened. It’s a shame they didn’t finish the game at the same time, but that’s a separate story.
As you can see, video games include a lot of interesting AI characters. Furthermore, they are used in a wide range of projects, allowing you to examine how the designers unearth artificial intelligence from a variety of perspectives. Leave a comment stating the AI from our list you like and why. Also, include examples of the same characters that we overlooked. Surely there’s someone we’ve forgotten about.