Players have begun canceling System Shock pre-orders over AI art

by Danny Craig  · 
Players have begun canceling System Shock pre-orders over AI art
Prime Matter

Prime Matter, the publisher of the upcoming remake of the 1994 title of the same name, has annoyed fans of the franchise by posting AI-generated art on the game’s official Twitter account, causing some to cancel their existing pre-orders.

The details:

  • Prime Matter tweeted AI-generated artwork of the game's antagonist, SHODAN, created with Midjourney on April 28. The tweet was met with immediate backlash from fans who believe the publisher should have hired a traditional artist to create the artwork rather than using a "plagiarism machine." Another fan was blunt in their criticism, simply saying, "Sorry, but we do NOT tolerate AI art.”
  • The publisher responded to the criticism in an unusual way. Instead of deleting the post, it defended its use of AI, claiming that "an AI using AI to imagine what AI would look like in a physical form" was the "entire point" of starting the "conversation." Prime Matter explained in a follow-up tweet that SHODAN was one of the "first examples of 'AI running amok' in video games" and that the whole point of using Midjourney for the image was to see what "AI imagines itself to look like.”
  • Fans are still not convinced by the publisher's explanation, with one saying, "There was never a conversation, only greed," and another declaring, "I was going to buy your game, but not anymore." Outside of canceling pre-orders and refusing to buy the game because of the situation, some are even saying they will "pirate it on principle, then seed it," which seems a bit extreme. It appears that developer Nightdive Studios may suffer as a result of the debacle, despite confirming that it does not have any direct involvement.
  • Despite the negative reaction to both the original and follow-up posts, it has stated that it will "use AI again to create other pieces (including artwork)" and "other areas," but never at the expense of skilled people or their creative talents. The publisher does not appear to be backing down anytime soon, though no one is sure what "other areas" refers to.

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  • The Saudi government has banned Final Fantasy XVI after developer and publisher Square Enix refused to make "necessary modifications" to the title. The game is said to include some same-sex romance scenes, which raises issues in the state where homosexuality is illegal.
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