The Bureau of Multiversal Arbitration is a first-of-its-kind narrative game, using generative AI as a core mechanic to unlock creativity, collaboration, and emergent storytelling. The goal of the project was to experiment with generative AI as a tool for helping participants to tell stories together in a new way.
Players took on the role of an "Arbiter" for the BMA, an interdimensional agency that assisted multiverses in crisis. Clients sought help from the Bureau when they had run out of options in their own universe, and their request was assigned to a Caseworker, whom the players assisted.
By using the game's image generator, which was fictionalized as a "multiversal search engine," players were tasked with "finding" solutions from across the multiverse to solve the clients' unique problems.
Structured as a series of weekly events, the game played out in real-time phases:
PHASE 1: ASSIGNMENT
First, a "casefile" was assigned, which described the client's predicament, ranging from a kaiju sanctuary gone wrong to a shortage of Rococo kitchen appliances, and everything in between. Players had 24 hours to "search the multiverse" in a shared search room and submit the solution they believed best suited the assignment.
PHASE 2: CONSENSUS
Then, during the "Consensus" phase, the community voted on each other's submissions, resulting in a single solution that was delivered to the Caseworkers. While the scenarios were curated by the gamemasters to encourage the most dynamic solutions, this section of the story was left entirely in the hands of the playerbase, and the results were always extraordinary.
PHASE 3: FINAL OBSERVATION REPORT
Finally, the players received a video update (in parlance of the Bureau, a "Final Observeation Report") documenting the often unintended story consequences of their actions, bringing the winning submission to life along with the runners-up and other outstanding suggestions. The community was delighted to see the results of their arbitration, along with small teases of an ongoing mystery that renewed their sense of urgency for their next assignment.
The presence of the nonplayer Caseworker characters introduced an element of interactive theater to the experience, and they could be puppeted by any member of the team in chat, allowing for persistent story engagement and community lore-building throughout the phases of the game.
The BMA's pilot season culminated in a live finale event that allowed the players to enter a voice-chat with the characters and defeat the series' overarching villain, which they themselves had created by "finding" him with the multiversal search engine.
The Bureau of Multiversal Arbitration fostered a passionate community of open creativity and emergent narrative collaboration. Approximately 1110 players joined the Discord to create 42k images and cast 40k votes in the span of 29 days. By using player submissions in surprising and delightful ways, rather than simply being told a story, the BMA enabled the playerbase to co-author a story with themselves, the team behind the game, and the AI that powered it.
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