It looks like Take Two, the parent company to Grand Theft Auto developers Rockstar, have filed a patent seemingly focusing on NPC navigation.
You can check out the patent application here (via IGN). The application, spotted by Reddit, is called “System And Method For Virtual Navigation In A Gaming Environment.” If you can follow it, Lead AI Programmer Simon Parr explains along with Associate Director of Technology David Hynd how what such a system entails and how it would work.
The patent was actually filed in October 2020, but nonetheless provides some potential insight into development and the technology being worked on for possible future games. There are several “claims” made throughout the application, the first of which states,
“A method for virtual navigation in a gaming environment, the gaming environment being represented by one or more low-level nodes joined by links, the method comprising: generating a coarse graph of the low-level nodes and associated links; and pathfinding on at least one of the low-level nodes and the coarse graph from a start node to a target node, wherein pathfinding on the coarse graph reduces the number of loads of low-level nodes needed to generate a path from the start node to the target node.”
It's some pretty dense reading, but feel free to dive in if you’re interested in the technology behind AI and NPC behaviors.