Upcoming FPS The Finals criticized for using AI voice acting

by Danny Craig  · 
Upcoming FPS The Finals criticized for using AI voice acting
Embark Studios

The Finals, Embark Studios' upcoming team-based FPS, is facing backlash from actors and game designers after it was revealed that the title will use AI voice acting for its in-game commentators.

The details:

  • Embark has chosen to use AI text-to-speech technology for the game's commentators, as heard in a clip shared by Evil West voice actor Gianni Matragrano. The two commentators provide players with updates on current events in the game, such as the number of teams remaining, who has been eliminated, and which squads have respawned.

  • Embark has been open about its use of AI in the game, with audio designers Carl Strandberg and Andreas Almström confirming the inclusion of AI-powered voiceovers in a July episode of the studio's Meet The Makers podcast. "So here's the kicker: what did the voiceovers," Almström explained. "We use AI with a few exceptions. So all the contestant voices like the barks, both of our commentators are AI text-to-speech. For things we call vocalizations like player breathing, vaulting, jumping, that's something we use in the studio to record, like just grunting. We can't really get AI to perform those kinds of tasks yet."

  • Both actors and designers have criticized the AI commentary, with Matragrano expressing his disappointment that the lines were not just placeholders, stating that studios can get "pro-grade VO for less than a grand total, bang out a couple recording sessions and bam you have all the audio you need." Pax Helgesen, a Bungie sound designer and actor, also shared his thoughts, stating that while he has used AI voice lines in the past, they were always temporary and that actors can create "something greater than what the devs imagined."

  • The use of AI in games has been controversial, with many viewing it as an attempt to replace human-created work in areas such as art. On the other hand, some developers, like CD Projekt Red, have found a more acceptable use for the technology, such as using AI to replicate the voice of deceased Cyberpunk 2077 actor Miłogost Reczek for use in its Phantom Liberty DLC.

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