Artificial intelligence is one of the most promising technological advances for video games, but also one that casts doubt on the future place of humans. Indeed, after being mentioned in the QA tests, the AI is now worrying in the columns of Good Luck Have Fun when it is used by AAA studios instead of actors.
[Mise à jour de l’article :] Ninja Theory wanted to reassure the public on the issue and claims to use AI only for conceptualization purposes. The simulation serves as notes at the start of development, the time to use actors whose performances are “at the heart of the studio’s narrative”.
No. For clarity, we use this AI technology for placeholder content only to help us understand things like timing and placement in the early stages of development. We then collaborate with real actors whose performances are central to bringing our stories to life.
— Ninja Theory (@NinjaTheory) September 23, 2022
AI at the expense of humans?
Altered AI is a company that offers a voice bank of around twenty professional actors, around a hundred so-called “common” voices, as well as a voice alteration tool. The service thus promises that its artificial intelligence can generate a vocal performance solely on the basis of a text, intonation instructions, and the service already equips certain studios. Among the companies mentioned, we find Ninja Theory who are currently developing Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 or the producer of The Ascent which apparently contains artificially generated voices.
Altered ensures that it does not want to replace human performance, but to support it by allowing developers to generate an overview that will guide the actor. However, actors are concerned about the lack of transparency around contracts, which could include clauses aimed at using the performance of an actor indefinitely and on several different projects for the price of a single mission. On this subject, Yuri Lowenthal who plays Peter Parker in Marvel’s Spiderman says:
I know an actress who does a lot of performance capture and voice work and she’s seen her very specific moves show up in games she’s never worked on meaning her data has either been repurposed for other projects it has never done, or even worse, sold to other companies without its knowledge.
An asset only with the support of actors
One of the Altered applications would be used for character voices in the background, the AI is notably able to transform a voice around age, gender or even translate into another language while preserving the accent . On the other hand, the players interviewed by the GLHF site all agree that the game and the spontaneity they offer cannot be replaced by AI. The actress of Lizzie Carmine in Gears 5, for example, claims that the text reading proposal made to the actors is already often a failure when it comes from the developers.
On the other hand, the SAG-AFTRA, union of American actors, says it is already working on the implications of this new technology and on suitable contracts. In addition, he also takes the opportunity to remind that there are solutions adapted to studios of all budgets to afford the performance of actors.
Finally, even if the new applications of artificial intelligence often promise a revolution for the studios, we see once again that in addition to the fact that it is carried out to their detriment, the use would not necessarily be more efficient without the support of professionals.