Lionhead Boss Peter Molyneux says that Milo & Kate is equal parts psychology project and cloud-based AI.
At his TED talk in Oxford, UK, this week, Molyneux showed off his virtual boy Milo to the public for the first time since E3 2009. He described mediums like TV or film as a "sea of blandness" and said that with Milo he wanted to "introduce a new revolution in storytelling."
The demo that accompanied the talk, which was played by an assistant, saw Milo exploring his garden, learning to skim stones, and confiding in the player after being told off by his parents. Molyneux said that Milo & Kate uses psychological techniques to make Milo seem real, and that the software can control the smallest facial elements, like blushing or the size of Milo's nostrils, to give the player subtle cues as to how Milo is feeling. "Most of it is just a trick," he said, "but it is a trick that actually works."
According to Molyneux, what we've seen of Milo & Kate so far is essentially the tutorial, and that once this section is done, the game opens out considerably and the player is able to explore the environment more freely. "There are lots of adventures - some of which are quite dark," he said.
Molyneux stressed the impact that the player has on Milo's development and personality, and said that every experience should be unique: "No two people's Milos can be the same," he said. "You are actually sculpting a human being. Some of the things you are doing will change the course of his life." Most interesting of all though, is that Milo's brain isn't on a disc, it's on a server, which means that when you interact with him, it's not just your Milo you're making smarter, it's everyone's.
Despite all the back and forth last month about whether Milo & Kate was a tech demo or not, Molyneux says that there are currently no plans to release it.