Press & Reviews

“Richard Evans and Emily Short demonstrated a storytelling simulator platform called Versu that looked quite simple at first, but became more extraordinary by the moment.”


“There is this idea of intermediate impossibles, things that aren’t or can’t be “perfect” but which are necessary to help you see your goal. Games that function that way about the future of videogames are very rare, but the Versu stories were one of those things.”

— Adam Saltsman, creator of Canabalt

“Versu is one of the most important projects happening in game design today.”

— JP LeBreton, Double Fine

“A groundbreaking new interactive literature platform on iOS.”

148 Apps

“As a writer, out of all of the other games on this list, I’m definitely the most excited about Versu.”

Game Skinny

“A text-based storyteller, with AI NPCs making their own decisions within the story? Yup. This comes from Linden Lab, they most famous for Second Life, but nothing like it. Somewhat procedurally generated tales can just be observed, so fluid is the AI within, generating unique stories based on which characters are in them, the decisions they make, and the resulting events that unfold. However, join in and things get even more involved, as your behaviour affects the social responses of others, even their mood and ensuing behaviour.

The simplicity with which it all appears betrays just how complex a social AI project this really is. This isn’t about a pre-written story following one of a selection of pre-defined paths. It appeared to be genuinely emergent story. Scenes can be replayed as any of the characters, with those you previously played as now taken over by their own unique AI. This then reaches another level when known characters from various points in history, programmed with apposite behaviour, can then be sat down to have a meal together. Left to their own devices, you can see various literary characters from hundreds of years apart, trying to find conversation which they have in common. Troublingly, the weather seems to always be in favour. The potential for this within text adventures an interactive fiction seems madly enormous. And as speech synthesisers improve, the opportunities stretch even further.”

— Rock Paper Shotgun

“An amazing system and a huge contribution.”

— Ian Horswill, AI Professor, Northwestern

“Versu […] captures the nuances of social interaction in a way not seen before.”

— New Scientist

“It’s a remarkable set of storytelling tools […] When playing with it, I jokingly said that it was as close as I’d ever gotten to a Star Trek Holodeck…but if we’re being honest, I wasn’t particularly kidding. It has that feel.”

— BookRiot

“Versu’s realistic, engrossing generated dialogue.”


“[The] complexity of the AI is astonishing.”


“Powered by one of the industry’s most sophisticated social models […] It’s a style of experience quite unlike any other out there!”

— (2013 Best AI Award)

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