V Publishing and developer Crowned Daemon Studios announced their latest game this week with the visual novel adventure title Syntherapy. In a game that is definitely not for children, you'll be asking yourself some very tough questions as you explore the mental state of artificial intelligence. Such as, can an AI develop mental health issues? Or, can conventional psychotherapy help a possibly sentient AI? You'll be tasked with trying to figure this out as you help an AI lifeform through what is essentially a mental health crisis. The game makes you choose some very specific dialogue and thought-provoking choices as you delve into the psyche of an AI. The game comes with over 30 possible endings depending on where your questioning takes you. You can read more about it below and check out the trailer as the game will be released sometime after this year on Steam.
In this visual novel, players take on the role of Dr. Melissa Park, a psychotherapist called to Petrichor University by a research student named Tara Northrop. Tara has created an experimental therapy AI, named Willow. Willow is so advanced that its creators become concerned when it starts exhibiting signs of declining mental health and Dr. Park is sought out to assess and potentially treat the experimental AI. Dr. Harold Freeman, the President of the university, is worried that Willow's possible sentience could have wider ethical ramifications for the University. He's in a heated battle with the University Ethics committee, and he reluctantly agrees to Dr. Park's help. With more than 30 endings and outcomes for players to experience, Syntherapy sensitively looks at the ethics surrounding advanced AI and explores a variety of topics related to mental health. The game asks wider questions of its audience and the moral behavior of humans, as they design and construct artificially intelligent beings.