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Some Video Game Actors Embrace AI Voice Cloning

Some video game actors are embracing AI voice cloning to give voice to a potentially unlimited number of characters. The use of AI voice clones saves time and money for game developers. Professional actors have mixed responses, with some fearing that AI voices could replace human actors.

In the world of video games, voices play a crucial role in bringing characters to life. From the gruff Scottish blacksmith to the Cockney-accented goblin, these voices add depth and personality to the virtual realm. However, as game worlds become more expansive, studios are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to generate synthetic voice clones for their characters.


One such actor who has embraced this technology is Andy Magee. Hailing from Northern Ireland, Magee has made a name for himself by voicing a diverse range of characters from the British Isles. Now, he's lending his voice to AI-generated clones, allowing game studios to create an unlimited number of characters and conversations.


The use of AI voice clones not only saves time and money but also opens up new possibilities for game developers. Instead of relying on "vocal scratch" recordings as placeholders, AI-generated voices can be used to test scenes and scripts. However, the response from professional actors has been mixed.


Some actors fear that AI voices could replace human actors altogether, leaving only the most famous names in the industry. However, others like Magee are willing to give it a try as long as they are fairly compensated and their voices are not misused.


"I hadn't really anticipated AI voices to be my break into the industry, but, alas, I was offered paid voice work, and I was grateful for any experience I could get at the time," Magee said.


AI voice clones have faced criticism in the past due to their misuse in creating convincing deepfakes of real people. From former U.S. President Joe Biden to the late Anthony Bourdain, these clones have been used to make individuals say things they never actually said. Early attempts by independent developers to incorporate AI voices into video games have also been poorly received by both gamers and actors who did not consent to their voices being used in such a manner.


While most major studios have yet to employ AI voices in a noticeable way, ongoing negotiations with Hollywood's actors union, SAG-AFTRA, suggest that a deal is on the horizon. Concerns about how AI will be used in the movie industry fueled strikes by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists last year. However, when it comes to game studios, the union is showing signs of reaching an agreement.


Sarah Elmaleh, a voice actor who has played prominent roles in blockbuster and indie games, has been one of the more conservative voices when it comes to AI-generated voices. However, she now considers herself more agnostic, acknowledging that there are use cases where AI voices can be beneficial, such as cleaning up recordings or making characters sound older or younger.


SAG-AFTRA has already made a deal with AI voice company Replica Studios, allowing major studios to work with unionized actors to create and license digital replicas of their voices. The agreement also gives performers the option to opt out of having their voices used indefinitely.


While some AI voice companies have faced criticism for training their systems with voice data pulled from the internet without permission, Replica Studios ensures that actors have control over the process. Actors are asked to voice a script either in their regular voice or in the voice of the character they are performing, and they have the final say on whether to proceed.


For Magee, working with Replica Studios has opened doors to new acting experiences that don't involve AI. He has even landed a role in an upcoming strategy game called Godsworn. Other voice actors, like Zeke Alton, who has worked on the Call of Duty franchise, understand the need for AI tools in scaling up game franchises with vast open worlds.


As the gaming industry continues to evolve, the use of AI voice clones offers both opportunities and challenges. While some actors remain skeptical, others see the potential for collaboration between developers and performers to enhance the gaming experience while maintaining the human artistry.

 
  • Some video game actors are embracing AI voice cloning to give voice to a potentially unlimited number of characters.

  • The use of AI voice clones saves time and money for game developers.

  • Professional actors have mixed responses, with some fearing that AI voices could replace human actors.


Source: AP NEWS

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