Question (Poll) Do you prefer games with or without AI companions?

Do you prefer to play with AI companions?

  • Yes

    Votes: 8 33.3%
  • No

    Votes: 4 16.7%
  • Sometimes

    Votes: 12 50.0%

  • Total voters
    24
I couldn't find a thread specifically on this, but here are a couple of tangentially related threads:

What spurred me to ask this is that I was reading the Steam forum for a game that hasn't launched yet, and one of the questions someone asked the developer was "Do you have any companions or are you lonely?" which is something I've thought about myself in some games.

One of the reasons I think Naughty Dog games are so successful is because you seem to always have someone tagging along with you. Fallout games are good for companions, too. It somehow makes the games feel less lonely (as the forum post said).

So what are your thoughts? Do you like games with companions?
 
It really depends on the game. But I would say I lean toward without campanions. If you're going to have people following me the entire game, you must know how to write interesting characters. I think party-based games are just hard to do right. If you have some annoying asshat with you the entire game, that can get cumbersome pretty quick. Not having companions at all makes that a non-issue, and even if an NPC is an ass you don't have them tagging along with you the entire time. Plus - especially in RPHs - stupid AI companions can hurt immersion a bit if they are consistently acting like idiots. For example, I've been playing Xenoblade Chronicles recently and your AI companions will literally fall off cliffs if you're walking on narrow areas. It isn't all that consequential, mind you, but it doesn't exactly help either.
 
if they're expendable/indestructable/competent and don't get in my way and more there to support me, sure i'll have em. I mean in COD SP they are a welcome help and if only i could command a couple to direct fire in some areas instead of just dying in mass numbers that would be great.

Protecting a defenceless NPC or the companions are useless, get in the way, incompetent and are mission critical is a recipe of disaster. Extra bonus points if they kill you when trying to help.
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
Huh? I am alone, whether there are AI companions or not. (Well, as alone as when reading a book. The author(s) is present, in a way.)

Companions can be great for adding to the stories, giving commentary, and the like. They probably aren't going to work out well in stealthy areas, but that's going to be obvious to the game designers, so they'll keep them away when that's a factor.
 
They're OK if implemented properly. If I have to do too much codling and escorting when they're hurt though, that puts me off. Conversely though, I absolutely hate games where your friendlies are so lethal you can hardly get a shot in. Some games like that almost play themselves if you so much as stay still for a minute.

They talk about "balance" a ton in MP games, but I think sometimes MP only players are clueless how important it is in SP games as well. Balance is also often stereotyped as only being about how powerful weapons are, but it can apply to a lot of things. It's no small task to program friendly and enemy AI well, with balance.
 
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Weird that you should make this post, as just this morning I was thinking how odd I was for actually feeling real emotions for certain companions within a given game. I mean, it's just a game; computer code with recorded voice lines. But some companions are created so well and have a distinctive personality, and when combined with excellent voice acting, become more like a real person. It's much like becoming attached to a character in a novel (which is just words on paper), but the creator (author) weaves those words in such a way that a character becomes real, and the reader can have true feelings for him/her.

So in answer to your questing, yes. Absolutely yes. I think that desire to have companions with me during a game goes back to the first time I played Baldur's Gate 1. That was my first experience with companions that combined unique personality traits with excellent voice acting, such as Minsc & Boo (Screen shots from Siege of Dragonspear DLC for BG1).




In my limited gaming experience, that's mainly in the RPG(ish) genre, I think Bioware and Obsidian have created the most memorable companions and had some of the best voice actors. The Dragon Age and Mass Effect games are really the "high bar" for me, as some of those characters linger in my mind long after playing. Such as Garrus, who accompanies you through ME1-3 (Screenshot from ME1).



When playing a game where I can recruit or choose who will accompany me, it's always based on the personality of the character and not combat prowess. While combat mechanics are important, and controlling one or more companions varies from game to game, I just adapt to those mechanics, because the individual personalities are more important to me.

Even in games (mainly RPGs) that are primarily a solo journey, like the Fallout or Elder Scrolls games from Bethesda, I always look for companion mods. Two of the best I've ever played are Vilja and Inigo for Skyrim SE (as well as the original).
Vilja in Skyrim at Skyrim Special Edition Nexus - Mods and Community (nexusmods.com)
INIGO at Skyrim Special Edition Nexus - Mods and Community (nexusmods.com)



These two companions have as much personality as any Bioware companion, and they have unique dialoge/banter in the way that they interact with Bethesda's companions. Two of the best modded companions that I've ever experienced.
 
May 11, 2022
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Yes I started liking having a companion in Skyrim SE. But I see them as enhancing the game and also knowing you've got a loyal bodygaurd.

In Skyrm I used to let Aela and Serana do the fighting, I'd just sit on a rock and watch having retired by then from combat. In SofW having a 'one shot' archer to protect you. Certain captains you just know you can trust.

Even in GTAV any of the main characters can use the others as a companion. Franklin drives and Trevor shoots. They'll also protect you to the death in a shootout.

So I'd say it more about changing the possibilities of the game.
 
I'm a 'sometimes' vote, I fine with 'em if they're useful and well-behaved. So I avoid squad games, but bring along the Far Cry companions.

I like the Far Cry 5 implementation. You can have 1 companion from the start, and fairly soon after, a second. You can have 0-1-2 with you at any time—dismiss or deploy at will. In the field they tag along without being in the way most of the time, and if you want to do something yourself, you tell them to stay in a spot out of the way.

There are dozens of 'regular' companions you meet out and about, and 9 premium ones you go find and complete quests for to make them available. The 9 are very different both combat-wise and for personality. So yeah, good implementation.

Extra bonus points if they kill you when trying to help
Hurk! Guaranteed to blow your whole Far Cry group up at some stage :D

always based on the personality of the character and not combat prowess
Opposite for me, unless truly obnoxious.

code with recorded voice lines … just words on paper
It's more than that, in the way IRL conversations are more than sound waves hitting your eardrums :)
 
In a party based RPG personality has a lot more of an effect on the choice. I liked that in Divinity Original Sin 2 they give you the option of changing their class based on what kind of a party you would like to have. In other games it's been annoying to drop someone that you like because you made your PC a Wizard and you already have that covered etc.

Disco Elysium wouldn't be the same without a Kim Kitsuragi.

In something like Halo or old CODs/Battlefields that I played I really liked having them there, because it suits the setting to make it feel as if you're part of an actual battle.

In an open world game I'll take one if I find one but I dont really care whether they live or die. Lydia didnt last that long with me.

Something like Elizabeth in Bioshock Infinite, or Sully in Uncharted I do like. Having NPC's there to comment on the environment and story if its interesting or funny, but if they have repetitive generic comments and combat barks it could be annoying after a while.

I never really played a Rainbow 6 or whatever where you actually need to give orders to the squad in first person as I'd rather just shoot things myself, so in that case I'm a 'no' and it does kind of put me off the game. But if they are there and just doing the thing, I'm ok with it.

So basically I vote sometimes, but mostly yes.
 
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Zloth

Community Contributor
The Adoring Fan wasn't a companion, he was a.... reward? ;)
In a party based RPG personality has a lot more of an effect on the choice. I liked that in Divinity Original Sin 2 they give you the option of changing their class based on what kind of a party you would like to have. In other games it's been annoying to drop someone that you like because you made your PC a Wizard and you already have that covered etc.
THAT was a superb feature! One of the reasons it took extra time to start my new Pathfinder game was that I needed to research the companions I was likely to find. I hate it when I duplicate one. I'm sure it's a pain when writing companion stories/quests, but more companies really need to use that method.
 
Like others have mentioned, it depends mostly on how well the AI companions are implemented. In most games companions just get in the way or hurt the immersion of the game.
That's exactly why I hate them. You'll want to use stealth to get through a place, and they'll jump out guns-a-blazin' and ruin it all for you. And the worst is when you need to get through a door to the next room, and your companion just stands right there in the door, and you can't get past them.
 
You'll want to use stealth to get through a place, and they'll jump out guns-a-blazin' and ruin it all for you. And the worst is when you need to get through a door to the next room, and your companion just stands right there in the door, and you can't get past them
So is it common not to be able to tell companions to 'go here' or 'stay there'?

Seems it would be a definite required basic in any companion implementation.
 
So is it common not to be able to tell companions to 'go here' or 'stay there'?

Seems it would be a definite required basic in any companion implementation.
I've run into it in Skyrim a lot. I don't think you can tell them to "go here," but I believe you might be able to tell them to "Stay there," or to leave, if it's your housecarl, or some companion you have recruited. But the real problem is when the companions are temporarily forced on you as part of the quest. In those cases, you have no control over what they do.
 
I've run into it in Skyrim a lot. I don't think you can tell them to "go here," but I believe you might be able to tell them to "Stay there," or to leave, if it's your housecarl, or some companion you have recruited. But the real problem is when the companions are temporarily forced on you as part of the quest. In those cases, you have no control over what they do.
You can tell them to go somewhere, but it's a bother to do so. A quick menu to give your companion orders would make them a lot less irritating.
 

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