Foamstars PS5 PS4 PlayStation

Squeaky-clean PlayStation exclusive Foamstars arrives on PlayStation February 6th as a PS Plus Essential offering, and making good on its earlier threats, publisher Square Enix confirmed the game will feature AI-generated art. This is in keeping with the "aggressive" AI policy the company intends to implement.

At a recent press event, VGC asked Foamstars producer Kosuke Okatani if the contentious tech had been used during development. Okatani claims that most of the game was made traditionally: "All of the core elements in Foamstars – the core gameplay and the things that make the game enjoyable – are all made by hand." A few icons were created using Midjourney, a generative AI tool that turns text prompts into images. Okatani says that regarding game content: "This makes up about 0.01% or even less, but we have dabbled in it by creating these icons in the game".

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Square Enix later clarified in a statement that "AI was used in the creation of the in-game album covers for the music featured" and that "as developers, we're always looking at new technologies". Putting the business to bed, the publisher declared: "In this instance, we experimented with Midjourney using simple prompts to produce abstract images. We loved what was created and used them as the final album covers players will see in the game. Everything else was created entirely by our development team."

With Final Fantasy VII Rebirth right around the corner, it remains to be seen how much restraint Square Enix has exercised throughout development. The tech was used in Remake to match in-game character facial and lip expressions to dialogue, and the company wants to use it to further "enhance our development productivity", so make sure to count Cloud's fingers and toes carefully.

How do you feel about AI-generated assets' seeming inevitability in video games? Is it the death of artistic expression or the inevitable march of progress? Generate your response in the comments section below.