In Overwatch, B.O.B., Ashe’s robot companion and ultimate ability, doesn’t do much beyond shoot where Ashe tells him to. But yesterday, an AMA revealed that the Big Omnic Butler initially had a lot of thoughts on how players performed in Overwatch matches.
In celebration of Overwatch’s fifth anniversary, Blizzard held an AMA, or Ask Me Anything, on Reddit answering questions about the last five years of the game’s development. Hidden among inquiries as to whether or not the devs prefer pineapple on pizza (to which game director Adam Keller replied, “just seeing the words pi***ple and pizza together... in the same sentence... caused me to briefly lose consciousness in a fit of rage and bewilderment…”) was a question asking what was the funniest bug. The answer revealed that B.O.B was once more than a walking turret with a fancy moustache.
“When we first implemented Ashe, if there were any B.O.Bs alive at the end of the match they would vote on the end of round cards,” Bill Warnecke, Overwatch’s lead software engineer, answered.
At the end of each match, the game gives a breakdown of certain high performing players’ stats, and each player has the opportunity to vote for who performed the best. This bug allowed B.O.B., who for all intents and purposes is an NPC, to also vote. Freaky right? Imagine your knife giving you an opinion on how well you sliced that onion, “5/10. Poor form. Cried all the way through.”
Warnecke’s answer didn’t go into detail about how B.O.B. was able to vote or if he, like the good and faithful servant he is, only voted for the Ashe that deployed him.
Redditors, in response to the answer, exclaimed that such a bug should actually be a feature and Warnecke agreed.
“It’s pretty awesome,” he said. “Some comments on the bug in our bug tracker were saying we should keep it.”
I’m not so sure about that. Though it fits with Overwatch’s lore, it’s a slippery slope allowing robots to have opinions. If we let them have opinions, that means we recognize they can think, and if they can think, they can feel, and if they can feel then boom! Skynet. Warnecke agreed here, too.
“AI will definitely take over the world some day.”