Warner Bros. Patents To Make NPCs React To Player Emotions

The gameplay will be adapted to the different emotions of a player.

Story Highlights

  • Warner Bros. has published a new patent that wants to adapt gameplay based on player and character emotions.
  • The narrative tension could be maintained or increased depending on how the player interacts with NPCs.
  • It wants to humanize NPCs and consider their reactions alongside the player for a more immersive experience.

Warner Bros. has played a giant role in innovating games via its patented ideas. Its latest patent talks about a new system that wants to adapt the gameplay based on the emotions of the user. The legal doc mentions that it wants to make NPCs react and adapt to how the player interacts with them and evolve the world based on emotional indicators.

The patent dubbed “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR CONTROLLING DIGITAL CINEMATIC CONTENT BASED ON EMOTIONAL STATE OF CHARACTERS” explores evolving game narrative and other aspects of gameplay by relying on the emotions of the player and NPCs. However, the patent greatly emphasizes humanizing NPCs and progressing the game based on their emotions, which can change based on how a player interacts with them.

The digital cinematic content may correspond to a cinematic AI in which the digital cinematic content may be adapted to increase or maintain narrative tension experienced by the user, based on real time emotion indicators of the user and inferred set of emotion indicators of the one or more computer-controlled characters,” states the patent.

The flowchart shows methods to control games based on emotional indicators.
The flowchart shows methods to control games based on emotional indicators.

The patent argues that only very few titles currently even consider the emotions of a user to change gameplay. Warner Bros. is also adding the game characters to the mix to make entries feel more alive and in tune with the sentiments of the player. The emotional indicators of a player can be figured out by how they interact with the NPCs and the world around them.

Warner Bros. uses the example of a VR title to explain the technical system in detail. Nevertheless, using the new system can lead to more realistic, compelling, and immersive experiences for the users. For instance, a player exhibiting sad emotions could also make the NPCs react the same to in-game events.


The charts show various possible emotions that could be considered.
The charts show various possible emotions that could be considered.

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The patent can help achieve the target emotional arc of the users more effectively than ever before. It uses the example of a show where the actor and the viewer often experience the same emotional arc together; WB wants to do the same for its games. There can be plenty of other ways for WB games to truly benefit from the system. 

Such method facilitates a presence of the viewer within a narrative, allowing the viewer to ‘direct’ the course of the story subconsciously, with the potential to uncover something new and surprising as the player actor’s nervous system acclimates.”

Warner Bros. could utilize the patented system for future endeavors —like the Nemesis system. It may lead to the next major innovation in WB games. Sony has also previously published a patent that wanted to use the emotions of gamers to suggest game and in-game activities to reward them accordingly. 

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Shameer Sarfaraz is a Senior News Writer on eXputer who loves to keep up with the gaming and entertainment industries devoutly. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and several years of experience reporting on games. Besides his passion for breaking news stories, Shahmeer loves spending his leisure time farming away in Stardew Valley. VGC, IGN, GameSpot, Game Rant, TheGamer, GamingBolt, The Verge, NME, Metro, Dot Esports, GameByte, Kotaku Australia, PC Gamer, and more have cited his articles.

Experience: 4+ Years || Education: Bachelor in Computer Science.

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