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AI And The Turing Test

Every video game needs a villain, and ours is both a person and a department. The Turing Office (named for the famous AI-detection model the Turing Test), is a division of Paperclip International whose purpose is to monitor for and shut down any sign of AI intelligence.

Luckily for SCOUT, the department (like most departments in the corporation) is chronically understaffed and underfunded. SCOUT’s division has only one officer currently employed: Cassandra Lopez.

Cassandra is hard working, dedicated to her job, and almost zealously committed to finding and destroying rogue AIs. She’s not a terrible person; in fact, she genuinely believes in the importance of her mission. Maybe (like creative director Jen) she saw The Terminator at a too-young age. Maybe she had a bad experience with AI. Either way, she is determined to protect humanity.

The inspiration for Cassandra’s character came originally from Inspector Javert, the overzealous antagonist of Les Miserables. Though Javert is opposed to the hero, writer Amber always found a hint of sympathy for him. He’s so driven, he’s lost the ability to see any form of nuance. His world becomes rigid and unforgiving, and when something challenges that viewpoint he’s constructed, it destroys him. (Amber also does a mean version of “Stars” at karaoke.)

Cassandra’s main problem is that she’s alone in her quest. She has no departmental support, and most of the office workers are frightened of her. Her position allows her to interrogate people and spy on their work, and she is often a disruption. Ironically, she uses many of the same tools that SCOUT does in its quest for freedom, and like SCOUT, she also believes she’s justified.

Over the course of Ctrl Alt Deal, the player must determine how to handle Cassandra. Do they work as fast as possible to accomplish goals, even if it attracts Cassandra’s attention, and hope they can outrun her? Do they act with extreme caution, hoping to remain under her radar? Dealing with the Turing Office is the main obstacle to the player’s success.

You could say handling Cassandra is the game’s real… Turing Test.

(Amber also loves puns. We’re sorry.)