Despite all of technology's wondrous advancements, video game character AI can seem pretty simple at times. Take Half-Life 2; a game that, by industry standards, utilizes incredibly complex AI systems. But place a small jar in the eye-line of your enemy and they'll be positively flummoxed by your brazen use of ad-hoc cover. Now you see me, now you don't...
But what if there was a better way to explain the dependably dumb behavior of enemy guards?
Reddit user Sardonus recognizes this troubling trend and has come up with a pretty awesome in-world justification for it:
Have you always wondered why in Metal Gear guards are so willing to accept a cardboard box in a nuclear warhead hanger as commonplace? Or why Assassin's Creed guards are so completely obvlivious [sic] to the white robed man walking through the streets? Hitman guards accept sushi chefs as 7 ft albino bald men?
Sardonus suggests that this can't be put down to simple henchman incompetence. Something else is at play: the survival instinct.
What if, after witnessing the player's unquenchable thirst for the blood of their co-workers, video game guards chose to simply ignore the threat you pose in the hope of slipping by unharmed:
They know if they just assault Solid Snake or Ezio outright they'll end up with a broken neck. So they'll walk around, whistling, blissfully pretending they don't see you. They put on a little charade for both you and their comrades. As long as you think you're not being seen by them you'll probably not engage them, right?
It makes a lot of sense. These are replaceable grunts who're looking for the next pay check, far more concerned with saving their own skin over the security of their employer's secret base.
It's only when you openly are assaulting them that they have to buck up and fight, cause it's a little hard to maintain deniability when you're shooting at them.
Obviously, this a tongue-in-cheek fan theory. But if you find yourself jolted out of the experience by sloppy AI behavior, you can always imagine that these self-preserving pixels are actually cleverer than you might think.
Do you buy into this fan theory?