High on Life features AI art and voice acting, reveals Justin Roiland

The recently released shooter High on Life features AI art and instances of AI voice acting, confirmed Squanch Games CEO Justin Roiland. Speaking to Sky News, he explained that Squanch used the Midjourney AI tool to create in-game movie posters in the player character’s room, and provide some “finishing touches” to the overall game.

While most of the game’s art is made by human artists, Roiland said that using Midjourney “makes the world feel like a strange alternate universe of our world. And we used it to come up with weird, funny ideas.”

In the art community, AI art has become highly controversial, with several artists (including those in the game and film industries) arguing that such tools just regurgitate whatever it cobbles together from art already made by actual humans.

ArtStation, a popular resource for artists, recently came under fire for its stance on AI art, which currently lets artists decide whether or not they want their art to be used for AI research purposes. Future measures to curb human art from being taken without consent are in the works from ArtStation’s parent company Epic Games, but no further details were provided.

Regarding High on Life’s voice acting, lead designer Eric Meyr added that AI was used to prototype some of the game’s voices. Although those roles have since been replaced by actual voice actors, at least one “minor” role in the game has an AI voice actor.

Earlier in the year, a report from Good Luck Have Fun revealed that numerous game studios, including The Ascent developer Neon Giant and Hellblade’s Ninja Theory uses AI voice tech for both placeholder and actual VO purposes.

As with artists in other entertainment industries, prolific voice actors such as Yuri Lowenthal (Marvel’s Spider-Man) and Ashly Burch (Horizon Forbidden West) have pointed out how AI technology may affect their industry.

Lowenthal at the time called AI voice acting a “scary precedent” that may result in actors’ voices being used in a project without their knowledge or explicit permission, or any kind of compensation.

Whatever the future holds for AI in the game industry, Roiland is currently bought in on it. He told Sky News that AI tech would “be a tool that has the potential to make content creation incredibly accessible. I don’t know how many years away we are, but all you will need to be is somebody with some big ideas.”

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