PUBG publisher Krafton has opened a new studio, ReLU Games, whose aim is to explore next level techniques in game development.
ReLU will be focused primarily on deep learning and AI development, with their first game set to be a title named FOONDA: AI Puzzler. Slated for a Q3 2023 release, the game will offer “individualised puzzle experience, achieved by using deep learning technology to generate unique puzzle stages.”
Additional plans for the studio include Project Orchestra, which will work on the application of speech recognition technology in games. And if you’re wondering about the name “ReLU” the studio have provided a handy explanation: “ReLU is a renowned activation function employed in artificial neural networks that simplifies intricate patterns and outputs a zero for negative input values.”
According to Krafton, the name reflects the idea that ReLU games will transform failures and setbacks in the wider game development world into chances for them to innovate and fix those issues.
Krafton’s crafty plan
Krafton have recently undergone a period of growth, partially fuelled by the restoration of their runaway success BGMI (BattleGrounds Mobile India) - the India-focused spin-off of PUBG: Mobile - to storefronts in the country after it was taken off of app stores due to government restrictions. The company also recently launched its own Clash-like tower-defence game, Defence Derby.
It’s possible to draw a comparison between Krafton and many Chinese companies, despite the former being based in Korea. In China we’ve seen many companies looking to expand their operations abroad, particularly NetEase with the opening of many new studios. It seems Krafton may be following suit, suggesting a broader expansion of Asian companies abroad.
ReLU also reflects the continued interest in AI and deep learning technologies amongst game developers and parent companies, with many seeking to incorporate and tackle these technologies in order to accelerate game development.