Game director Tore Blystad explains the concept of the Contract game mode and more in this extensive interview that mainly focused on the new contract mode that allows players to create challenges and also accept other player's challenges inside the game.
On the Contracts mode announced at Gamescom and the AI system that makes it possible:
"The AI that is running on any NPC in game is basically the big star of Absolution. That's the reason we can make a mode like Contracts work. Whoever you chose as a target their AI will adapt to that and everyone around them will react naturally to whatever is happening. There is no scripting involved in this. You can say, we can drop any base AI into a level and they will work out of the box."
"Within Glacier 2, our new technology, this has been the most difficult feature to program. The lead AI programmer, I mean after making the kind of beta version of the AI work, he actually had to take a leave. "
"He's been working for five years, 24/7 to make this work together with the design team and the other programmers. It's incredibly complex this system. From a dramatic point of view we had up to three or four writers working non-stop only creating the AI dialogue - we have up to 2000 pages dialogue - that is mainly working the base AI. Whatever you're doing, if you're throwing something on the ground, the AI will react, if there's one guy there's one pattern, if there's two guys they have another way, they banter, if there's three guys there's a whole discussion who's going to fix this. If you do it a second time, something else will happen. It's extremely complex to design this, but it's all made in order to make the game feel believable and every character to feel like they are a real character that you can relate to and not just a dumb computer character."
"We have a very strong and loyal community that are very passionate about the game and we're trying also to fulfill all the wishes that they have within the game. How can they customise the game into something that they think is the most interesting way of playing it. And as I said with the base AI being the most diverse or playable part of the game that is what is driving all of this content all of this emergent gameplay."