Ubisoft is a publisher unafraid of tackling new technology head-on. The company is always supportive of new platform launches, and seems willing to embrace cutting edge tech where possible — even the questionable stuff. It's already attempted to implement NFTs in its games with the Ubisoft Quartz initiative, which went about as well as you'd expect. Now, the publisher has proudly announced it's using AI to help write its games.
As explained in the above video, Ubisoft Ghostwriter is an AI-driven tool that allows writers to generate lines of dialogue based on prompts, which can then be edited or adjusted in various ways. The idea is that dev teams can utilise this functionality to create "barks" — those throwaway NPC lines you hear while running around open worlds — so that writers can instead put more focus on the main story and characters.
Naturally, it's already been heavily criticised. Some industry figures have argued that managing and editing AI-generated dialogue would be more time-consuming than just writing something themselves. It also naturally leads to concerns that this is just the beginning; what if, eventually, Ubisoft evolves this Ghostwriter program to replace some (or all) of its human writers?
We don't want to get too tin foil hat about this, but this is certainly a move that'll raise some eyebrows. We're sure those in the industry will be watching how this develops — and we wouldn't be surprised if other publishers and developers follow suit down the line. What do you think of all this? Generate some thoughts yourself in the comments section below.
Ubisoft games in the next few years: https://youtu.be/j4Ph02gzqmY?t=35
I'd quite welcome the use of AI to run conversations your character has with NPCs, and the clunky chatbot style would work fine if the NPCs were actual robots in a sci-fi setting.
The bigger question around making humans redundant by outsourcing to AI is a much bigger one, that goes way beyond some Ubisoft employees. Not sure where to begin..
This better not turn out to be AI's internship period.😏
Normally I'd ring alarm bells, but honestly I thought AI was running Ubisoft's creative team for years.
I hate the direction the world is moving in. Today I saw a tweet about an AI inhaling songs by The Beatles and then churning out music that sounds like them. It was not a great song, admittedly, but it’s still a scary thought, especially as the tech is doing this in its infancy. Where does the line get drawn? Surely the evolution of the tech could lead to AI even generating whole games?
This is the Beatles inspired song for anyone interested:
The dialogue in these games is already terrible. I think we should give the AI a chance. It can’t be any worse than it already is.
“ Some industry figures have argued that managing and editing AI-generated dialogue would be more time-consuming than just writing something themselves. It also naturally leads to concerns that this is just the beginning; what if, eventually, Ubisoft evolves this Ghostwriter program to replace some (or all) of its human writers?”
It might be more time consuming, but I’m wondering if it might lead to more originality. Typically you’d have one person responsible for all those throwaway atmosphere lines, having an AI throw something in from left field might actually improve things a bit. Controversial I know.
I doubt a AI writer will pass the test for full in artistic expression any time soon, so I don’t think human writers will be replaced completely. But, with the best tech of the future, perhaps AI could play more of a role.
@Ward_ting It is interesting tech though. I'm not expecting it to be fully fleshed out yet, that 'Beatles' song is the equivalent of just out of music school version, but it should perhaps be more interesting in 5 - 50 years once it is more experienced.
For use cases like this it is helpful. I am doing the same for mundane throw away 'workhorse' tasks. It allows time and focus for the things people actually care about.
As long as the AI ghostwriter is reviewed by a real author and it is not used for the entire script e.g. mostly for side quests or ambient "noise", I do not mind. It may give more time to the team to work on the main story line. For example in watch dogs most of what NPCs say does not matter, but is only there to give the the illusion of a living world. I could absolutely see an AI ghostwriter to be useful in such situation and improve the illusion.
I think there are some real good use cases for low level NPC's, adding variety and things like that. You wouldn't want it on main path right now, it's still too raw.
I can see tech like this and UE5 enabling smaller studios to create larger more ambitious games.
The future of AI is quite worrying.
It might be difficult (or a lot of work) to teach the AI to match the historic setting, or the eventually variable tone of the story.
To be fair these games never have complex, or thought provoking plots, or narrative. So I don't think this will affect Ubi standards of quality at all.
Well, the dialogs in their games certainly seem like they are written by an AI
Seems ok, Ubisoft was never known for gripping narratives anyway. Also it's a tool, the writers will have to double check anyway
Pretty soon ai will be doing everything in game development.
I think they shouldn't even bother checking the dialogue that the AI spits out for these NPCs so we can all have a giggle at random stuff they say when they release a game. Let the fans do the checking after release.
It's easy to point out the potential dangers of something like this. On the bright side though, the thought of less repeating dialog in open world games is appealing. Though they also might just end up sounding like robots...
I might be wrong but I thought Ubisoft were using AI to make the cutscenes for AC Valhalla. Maybe not quite cutscenes but the ones were you're standing talking to an NPC. Might be misremembering though.
The NPC chats in games are widely variable in quality. I’ve been smitten with some of the side conversions in Hogwarts Legacy to the extent that I completely stop what I’m doing and listen to the whole side conversion until it’s over. That level of meaningful dialogue is rare for background NPC chatter and isn’t the most vital part of the game, but it adds some immersion to the experience. My issue is when the NPC conversations are recycled excessively then it really detracts. HL is guilty of this, as are most open world games. “I used to be an adventurer like you…” etc, etc.
If AI could make for some kind of procedural generation of NPC dialogue in real time so that it doesn’t repeat so often in a game, that would be a great use of the technology.
Tell me your company is creatively bankrupt without telling me your company is creatively bankrupt.
Did nobody watch Terminator? Or 2001 a space odyssey
We should coin a coin term for this kind of stuff, sadly "the ubisoft formula" is already taken.
maybe try and be more original?
however ubi games have become so repetitive in their design that i can see an AI doing better than their current manpower.
Like it or not. The industry gotta find ways to reduce costs and time. As the costs get higher and higher hence more anti-consumer practices like monetisations, loot boxes, season passes ect. are being implemented into video games.
Maybe one day the A.I. Tech is sophisticated enough to write excellent dialogs and create outstanding characters.
As far as I was told that takes a huge amount of effort in creating video games.
Question is, will it work eventually?!
That's all I have.
AI will eventually replace any simple jobs eventually, we are getting to that point in time anyways
At this point I say nuke it. All of it. Humans have already decided on self obsolescence. Just take it all the way and end all of it all at once. It's better than the slow attrition route.
I'm on the fence about this. I like that it's giving the writers the focus on story and main characters, doing the throw away lines of NPCs for them, but I also understand it won't stop there.
I imagine we'll shortly see writer's protests about this as AI eventually takes their jobs and money hungry corporations won't care. When that eventually happens, assuming they'd come up with a game I'm interested in, I'll still not purchase it if it was only written by AI.
It's still going to need a heavy human presence I think, at least for the time being. If they just dump a load of ai text in unedited it's going to be a mess.
I've tried getting ai bots to write it's own sci-fi, and it's not very interesting, it's obsessed with time loops for some reason.
Honestly, I dont understand how Ubisoft still makes money.
Games are soo poorly designed, uninspired and bloated. Almost all aspects of it are already robotic and without soul. How the hell taking more soul out of it by using AI is a good decision?
Ubisoft game dialogue sounds like it was written by someone who's never had a real human conversation anyway, what's the difference?
At least the AI hasn't started groping anyone yet.
Lol when even gamers are scared about AI getting better
Ubisoft games already feel AI generated so I don't see much changing for the end product.
Well, it's good to see that art is slowly dying to the automation takeover. Wonder if there'll be any genuine ingenuity left by the end of the century.
Worst idea ever. I'll never support a game that was created by AI and any other form of art that was produced using this technology.
Embrace the future .
So writers who right dialog without a soul, or soulless writers who write dialog. Honestly, what's the difference?
Eh, I'll probably give this to them. Maybe for once, their in-game dialogues won't be that bad
this is sad . not good at all
Don’t like this. Don’t like it one bit. Don’t want it. Don’t need it.
We’re going to reach a point where any publications actually written by people will have a special label, like the organic vegetables at the market.
I'm okay with this.
The football publication I read is already using AI for match reports. The revolution can't be stopped.
Adapting workflow to incorporate tools like this is the way to go; it's going to lead to way more immersive environments, NPCs that don't have to repeat the same old line everytime you encounter them. Proper converations going on that evolve over time with the events of the game. Even building a simplified LLM into the game engine so you can have actual converations with NPCs. And they can have conversations with each other. Can't wait to see how hysterically wrong that goes the first few times.
We're on the cusp of a new industrial revolution and embracing it is the sensible choice. Standing there complaining and throwing your sabots into the machines is only going to end the same way it did the first time. If you spend your time protesting and complaining, instead of learning and adapting, then you're going to get left behind and then you will have created a self fulfilling prophesy where all your fears come true.
Ubisoft really is in a bad trajectory and I wonder if they can pull up. Latched onto crypto, then NFTs, now this. All while their actual games are all being cancelled and delayed. Senior leadership is shuffling the chairs on the deck to get people to buy the stock (AI Chat is the new Crypto/FinTech buzzword for the dumb money investor ready to be fleeced) while the hull has taken on water.
The creative bankruptcy of the gaming industry intensifies!
I mean I can see this being useful, not for creation of crafted dialogue but just for NPC chatter in the world. I can't imagine how soul destroying it must be to come up with so many things for random NPCS to mutter to each other, but the idea of some kind of AI being sent a query like "what might this particular type of NPC say to this player character at this point in the story, given that the player chose these choices" seems kind of cool (although I do realise this isn't quite what they're talking about here)
I can definitely live with randos on the street sounding more like real people, but like I say, main characters/story and even side quests, absolutely needs to be crafted. Which is why I can't really say I trust Ubisoft with this
More human population than ever, less need for any humans at all than ever. What could possibly go wrong?
Of course Ubisoft would jump at the first chance to make game creation even more impersonal and soulless.
@Gaia093 soulless is unfortunately the perfect way to describe most of their writing.
Solid games, but the writing is probably one of the consistently worst parts about their games. Maybe this will help
Must suck to know that you're training up the AI that will eventually take your job.
I am all in for improved AI in games. Improved npc speaking content would be nice. So too less repeating of the same lines over and over. However I don't believe a computer program is needed for that, but if it helps then what can I say. I mean I use and depend on spell check like I have always had it, but I haven't.
We wish AI CEO.
Exact same prophecy was given during the computer revolution, I witnessed it. People still have plenty of work to do.
@tselliot Looking at 'work' in the 80s and 90s (a golden age in the USA in many ways and the UK regained its seat at the top table economically) we moved from industry to service economies. This in part created tons of jobs in cool industries music, art, graphic design, office work and writing. Ya know, decent but not back breaking work. All of which will be targeted.
AI is also bad today. Algorithms which are rudimentary, have a huge impact on elections all over the world. Conspiracy theories are rampant and chat bots flood the comments sections of news reports. None of this is positive and we are only at the start.
@themcnoisy the current ai uses the internet data from human artists to produce its works, (well as far as my limited knowledge sees it anyway).
I assume, based on that, artists will still be able to be able to produce work that it is unable to. Though whether people will bother when AI will just take it and add it to the algorithm is questionable.
If no humans are producing art then ai is just going to have to rely on the same source material forever.
So the writing will improve you say?
This will be a great idea if only used for NPCs and other minimal functions.
Based on a lot of writing in games these days, the AI could (and probably will) be an improvement.
Its brilliant letting the developers work with the AI at let it learn so they can be cut out of the process in the future.
Big corp is never there to make our lives more easy it's to maximise more profit Im certain people are not this daft believing companies like Ubisoft who are the source of cooky cutter games.
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