Back 4 Blood Video Captures How Far Bots Have Come

Artificial intelligence in video games is exceptionally difficult to put together. Even when done well, sometimes players will never understand the difference. Back 4 Blood is one recent game that's received a lot of criticism for its bot AI, but the truth is that it's come a long way. This is captured in a video stemming from Back 4 Blood's pre-launch testing that's been going around on social media.

The video in question features a downed player being attacked by the decapitated top half of a Ridden zombie. The player desperately needs help or else the Ridden is going to kill them, but something has gone wrong with their bot teammates' AI. Instead of helping, all three bots are standing around the player, seemingly watching the zombie destroy the player with great focus. It's as hilarious as it is frustrating, as unsettling as it is disappointing. This bot AI is broken.

The good news, however, is that this video doesn't come from the launch version of Back 4 Blood, but rather a pre-launch version of the game. As evidence, the bots don't have first aid kits or grenades on them, whereas bots post-launch have unlimited access to these items (though they aren't always able to use them). That's not to say this kind of bot behavior couldn't happen now -- it probably could. For now, however, there's no such evidence of bots breaking in that specific way.

That's not to say that Back 4 Blood's AI is necessarily in a good place right now, though. Co-op AI bots that replace players' teammates if they leave or make up the team when playing solo remain frustratingly under-developed. Back 4 Blood players have criticized the AI's inability to properly loot, its inability to output much if any damage, as well as the constant struggle to keep AI focused on specific important tasks (or even just moving from one side of an area to another).

Luckily, Back 4 Blood's community is vocal in its feedback regarding how to improve Back 4 Blood's AI. There's certainly a lot of caustic criticism surrounding the AI, but there's also a lot of constructive advice. One idea that has gained a lot of support is changing Back 4 Blood's ping to a command function when playing with AI. If AI could be directed with pings, either at enemies or locations, it'd solve many of their most egregious problems.

Turtle Rock is in a difficult position, however. Back 4 Blood is a multiplayer live-service game and co-op is its core functionality. It doesn't want players trying to get AI teammates instead of other humans. As such, improvements to the AI come with a potential cost to its community. Of course, that could be solved by allowing players to play online with AI teammates, encouraging solo play. It'll be interesting to see what direction Turtle Rock takes Back 4 Blood going forward.

Back 4 Blood is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

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