Voice actors could be a thing of the past

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warmblur

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#1  Edited By warmblur
Member since 2017 • 7664 Posts

https://www.svg.com/448592/this-witcher-3-mod-has-people-worried-about-the-future-of-gaming/

A Witcher 3 mod used AI generated voice to create a whole story mission in the game. Voice actors obviously hate it because they know that they could be replaced by it which I hope isn't the case. But we all know these publishers will find anyway to cut corners and get the game shipped out fast as they can to please the shareholders.

AI generated Geralt voice.

The Outer Worlds 2 used similar AI technology as a placeholder for the actual actors to record over later.

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RSM-HQ

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#2 RSM-HQ
Member since 2009 • 10114 Posts

Computer generation for voicework will go down similar to photoshop brush stroke rendering with artists. Illustrator profession is still going strong and voice work will continue as well.

It's a profession with better results if given to professionals. If anything this technology is a good placeholder that is convenient when stated talent are either too expensive, or are difficult to contact.

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fractured_veil

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#3 fractured_veil
Member since 2018 • 32 Posts

I think great voice work will still be out there but this isn't going away and will offer an easy way for some to save money on budgets.

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GirlUSoCrazy

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#4 GirlUSoCrazy
Member since 2015 • 13896 Posts

That's kind of cool, but won't the voices lack nuance in delivery, and actors can add improvisations that take it up a notch. I'll have to hear it in practice.

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Kadin_Kai

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#5 Kadin_Kai
Member since 2015 • 1740 Posts

I don’t see this as, “cutting corners,” it’s just how technology is moving.

From a developer’s point of view it’s probably cheaper and also less frustrating since some actors can be quite difficult to work with.

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mrbojangles25

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#6 mrbojangles25
Member since 2005 • 50539 Posts

I can see this being a good option in some situations but ultimately I think the real thing is better.

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Black_Knight_00

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#7 Black_Knight_00
Member since 2007 • 68 Posts

This has been a long time coming, but as someone else has said I doubt it will replace actors completely. It definitely will for cheaper productions but larger ones will continue employing actors as long as the audience perceives it as added value to the product.

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judaspete

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#8 judaspete
Member since 2005 • 4879 Posts

@Black_Knight_00: Yeah, especially when the big publishers want star power to sell their games. Could be bad news for less famous actors though.

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pyro1245

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#9 pyro1245
Member since 2003 • 7824 Posts

I'm sure SAG-AFTRA is taking notes.

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#10 Lardmen
Member since 2021 • 5 Posts

I don't think that AI would replace voice actors. As a Death Stranding case - we're at the point where games already became mainstream and because of that. Much more the most popular actors will hop on this train, sooner or later.

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Byshop

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#11 Byshop  Moderator
Member since 2002 • 20192 Posts

@girlusocrazy said:

That's kind of cool, but won't the voices lack nuance in delivery, and actors can add improvisations that take it up a notch. I'll have to hear it in practice.

It's literally in the trailer the op posted.

@warmblur:

I get the concern. It sounds really good, and if I didn't already know it was AI generated I wouldn't have noticed anything wrong with it (at least from the brief snippets in the trailer). Even without adding the concept of AI generated voices into the mix, there are already concerns about voice actors not getting their due from game companies. There was a big kerfuffle over the remasters of Silent Hill 2 and 3 when Konami decided to swap out the original voices with new voice actors. Some of the people involved with the original games said it was because they were trying to get out of paying them residuals.

Now I'm sure that if a company tried to take the previous work of a voice actor and create new work without compensating that actor that they wouldn't be able to get away with that legally unless the actor is dumb enough to sign an Ursula from the Little Mermaid-level contract. Back in the early days of video game voice acting the voice actors didn't retain much rights to the work they did which contributed to the Silent Hill remaster situation but these days people are more aware.

One other thing worth pointing out is that while this makes sense for this mod (it would be weird if Geralt didn't sound like Geralt) and that it sounds pretty good, Geralt is also a pretty one-note emotionless character even within the canon of the world. I'd be curious to hear what a version of this sounds like with a character that actually emotes. All of the other characters in the mod are voice acted. They only used the AI for Geralt to keep him sounding consistent.