Blizzard Is Reportedly Set To Unveil Its Own AI Tool For Concept Art
According to a New York Times report, Blizzard has told its employees that it will soon reveal its own AI tool for concept art.
Blizzard has apparently trained an AI image generator for concept art, and the company plans to display its capabilities internally sometime this year. The New York Times obtained an email to this effect from the company's chief design officer Allen Adham, who told employees that they should "prepare to be amazed" at what the tool can do.
According to the New York Times report, the tool is called Blizzard Diffusion, which is an apparent reference to the popular AI image generator Stable Diffusion. Adham further claimed that the well-known studio is "on the brink of a major evolution in how we build and manage our games."
However, as the report notes, Blizzard has already abandoned one AI-powered tool that was supposed to help create environmental textures like stone and brick. Blizzard's vice president of global insights, Andrew Guerrero, told the Times that tool was not effective. But he also said that the goal of these AI tools was to "remove a repetitive and manual process and enable artists to spend more time on creativity." He further stated: "Our goal with AI has been, and will continue to be, to try to make creative work easier."
The New York Times report further examines the current climate of AI tools at big game studios. It notes that these tools are in their nascent stages, but that they could make many tedious aspects of game development easier, including quality assurance, low-level code, and even writing dialogue. Of course, the concern here is that these tools could displace the junior workers who perform these tasks to get their foot in the door. A former Activision Blizzard engineer told the Times that AI is more about hype than actual problem solving.
"Leadership's focus on AI doesn’t feel like it is solving a problem that individual contributors care about," Valentine Powell said. "It feels like ignoring their problems and focusing on hype words that they think will sound impressive to shareholders."
Regardless of their overall effect, it's likely that AI will continue to be a major buzzword in the gaming industry for years to come. Not everyone is convinced that it's the secret sauce for a game's success, however. In a recent call, Take-Two's CEO Strauss Zelnick said that AI can make coding easier for everyone, but it's not a "magic trick" that can make a hit game for you.
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