AI-generated art in major productions
AI-generated art is creeping into our big games, and while it has the potential to streamline production processes, the corporate incentive to cut corners and save money threatens to undermine the creative potential of this emerging technology.
Gamescom has given us a glimpse of what the future of video games may look like, with AI key art for the upcoming Fallout show mimicking the iconic aesthetic of the games but lacking the human touch. Amazon’s use of AI in the show has already raised concerns about the future of artistic integrity, and the technology’s presence in other major productions is starting to emerge.
The Fallout show is just the latest high-profile example of AI art making its way into the games industry. Other examples include High On Life, Secret Invasion, the System Shock remake, and Ubisoft and Activision’s future implementations.
The potential for AI to streamline production processes and ensure consistency is obvious, but the corporate incentive to cut corners and save money is already overshadowing it. Gamescom has already shown us the use of AI in Fallout, and while the results are somewhat convincing, they become obvious upon closer inspection.
First, the use of AI becomes obvious when you realise that Bethesda and Amazon don’t want to use the term ‘AI-generated art’. Gamescom showcases Fallout 76 key art that is clearly AI-generated, but without any references to this fact. The use of AI becomes even more obvious once you realise that the material is inconsistent, with unrealistic elements and inconsistencies between shots.
The problem is exacerbated by the fact that, at the moment, copyright in the realm of AI art remains unclear. Legislation struggles to define ownership and protect the work of human artists, and it’s unclear whether AI can be copyrighted at all. Fallout 4, for example, uses a lot of iconic art from the earlier games, and it’s unclear whether the rights to this material belong to Bethesda, the artists who created them in the first place, or the AI who created the Fallout 76 key art.
The release of AI-generated material for such a big property like Fallout, alongside Amazon’s silence regarding the subject, raises concerns about the future of artistic integrity. The lack of trust in the finished product is a result of Amazon’s attempt to deceive the audience. The use of AI in the Fallout show is already obvious, and we should expect a similar situation for other major productions.
It remains to be seen whether the future of AI-generated art is bright, but it is important to challenge and expose instances like this to preserve artistic integrity.