‘Our way of making a living is suddenly destroyed,’ says video game artist as AI takes over

Naraka: Bladepoint artwork
Naraka: Bladepoint – did a human make this or an AI? (pic: NetEase)

AI art is already replacing human creators in the Chinese video games industry, as fears increase it will do the same all over the world.

Despite all the jokes about Skynet, AI – or at least deep learning models – is now so widespread anyone can use it to do anything from have a quick chat to creating complex looking art according to very specific instructions.

This is quickly starting to create some potentially society-changing problems, not least for everyone whose jobs have suddenly become automated. This has already started to affect the games industry in terms of voiceovers, but a new report suggests that AI is also widely being used to generate art in games – at least in China.

AI is supposedly already taking artists’ jobs in China, where work that was previously done by 10 people now only requires two. This will naturally include many Western and Japanese-made games, which make extensive use of outsourcing studios based in China.

While the debate rages over the legal and ethical uses of AI art, the fact that it can quickly generate almost anything asked for it is particularly useful in games, where many outsourcing companies are used to create textures, background characters, and other low-key assets.

Chinese developers have already gone further, though, and reportedly even giants such as Tencent and NetEase are using AI to design characters and promotional materials.

As reported in a detailed article on Rest of World, freelance illustrator Amber Yu reveals she used to make 3,000 to 7,000 yuan (£350 to £820) for every video game poster she drew for social media, but those jobs have already started to disappear.

Rest of World claims to have spoken to seven game illustrators, all of whom have been affected by the use of AI software.

‘AI is developing at a speed way beyond our imagination,’ artist Xu Yingying is quoted as saying. ‘Our way of making a living is suddenly destroyed,’ said another anonymous artist.

NetEase has even been able to turn the use of AI into an in-game features, allowing players to create their own AI-generated skin in the game Naraka: Bladepoint.

The Chinese government is attempting to regulate AI art and in January passed a law forcing deepfake software to clearly label its content. In April it created a draft law that would ensure all AI-generated art would have to do the same.

However, that seems unlikely to stop anything and it’s almost certainly just a matter of time until Western studios begin to use AI generation, not just for art but voiceovers, music, and even coding.

AI is already being trained to make simple video games and while they’re not yet up to the standards of The Last Of Us, they can manage Flappy Bird.

How all this will play out, and whether it will lead to widespread legislation, is impossible to say but for video games the AI revolution is already in full swing.

Email gamecentral@metro.co.uk, leave a comment below, follow us on Twitter, and sign-up to our newsletter.

MORE : Ubisoft AI writing tool will not be writing its own video game scripts

MORE : Hellblade studio is replacing actors with AI and it’s not the only one

MORE : The Last Of Us voice actor supports NFT scheme that will put him out of a job

Follow Metro Gaming on Twitter and email us at gamecentral@metro.co.uk

To submit Inbox letters and Reader’s Features more easily, without the need to send an email, just use our Submit Stuff page here.

For more stories like this, check our Gaming page.


About the Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may also like these