Many of gaming's modern stereotypes can be traced back to the seventh generation of consoles, where foul mouthed prepubescents on Xbox Live would regale opponents about sorties with their mothers while repeatedly pressing the crouch button over the bodies of their in-game avatars. Now, after AI bots in Halo Infinite displayed this traditional 'teabagging' action, 343 Industries has scrambled to denounce it as a bug.
Halo Infinite will launch this November following a one-year delay, but players have already gotten a taste of how the sci-fi shooter will play thanks to technical tests being run by 343 Industries. In these technical tests, not only was PvP showcased, but also the advanced AI that governs the bots that fill lobbies when not enough flesh and blood fans are online.
Bots in FPS games have been around for decades, but programming them to be anywhere more intelligent than the NPC opponents you'd fight in a single player campaign remained an insurmountable challenge. New technologies are helping turn bots into more involved elements of multiplayer games - they will be used to fill up Battlefield 2042's massive lobbies - and more importantly, making them smarter.
With the act of teabagging being so deeply coded into the multiplayer Halo experience (we hesitate to call it Halo culture), the smart AI governing Infinite's bots apparently thought learning this behavior made sense. A sort of terrifying sense, but sense nonetheless.
In a world where almost every single machine learning program taught using social media degenerates into a slur-throwing far right warmonger, you'd totally expect "smart AI" bots to learn this stuff in an FPS.
However, despite extensive documentation by fans depicting bots properly and repeatedly teabagging slain opponents, 343 Industries has assured everyone that this is entirely unintentional, and a bug that needs fixing.
We don't have any explicit programming that tells the bots to teabag or taunt you in any way. These bots are meant to be welcoming and fun for players of all skill levels, and a feature designed to taunt a player would oppose that goal.
343 Industries clarified in a statement regarding a specific instance of a player recording the teabagging incident that the bug was caused by pathfinding issues leading the bot to have problems going up a flight of stairs - however often the teabagging occurred nowhere near stairs. We don't doubt that 343 is sincere in their denial of teabagging being an intended feature, but this does seem to be more than an isolated pathfinding error. Let's just hope they don't start commenting on the weight of our moms with the Microsoft Mike voice generator.
If this is the first sign of the machine apocalypse, it's appropriately nonsensical for this day and age. Should civilization not fall to teabagging terminators by then, Halo Infinite will launch in November.