Amazon recently revealed that its Fallout TV show will begin streaming in 2024 by tweeting a 1950s-looking postcard from Los Angeles, California with Vault Boy giving the thumbs up. Upon closer inspection, fans have noticed a lot of weird anomalies that have some thinking it might actually be AI-generated.
At first I paid the image no mind. It was tweeted out on August 23 while a teaser for the show debuted for attendees at Gamescom 2023. Then I saw this tweet by a developer who goes by “Kenney” and makes free game assets. “Amazon ($514 billion dollar in revenue) is incapable of hiring an actual artist,” they wrote. The tweet’s replies were filled with observations of strange wrinkles in the art that make it seem an awful lot like AI may have had a hand in making it, or at least someone who’s very sloppy with Photoshop.
First, there’s the palm tree in front of the yellow building that’s clearly disjointed.
Then there’s the woman’s legs on the left. She has three of them and one disappears into some white flowers.
The red taxi near the front is all backwards. The headlights and hood are in the rear, while the steering wheel is in the front.
The central boulevard with the pedestrians is also confusing. The sidewalk is as wide as the street, and then there are cars on the other side of it that are going in the same direction.
Plus, as you go further into the background, the cars get messier and messier, and appear to just be alternating patterns of blue and red like they were stacked on top of one another and then stretched into the horizon.
It’s not hard to find other suspicious deficiencies, too.
“I’ve been staring at this picture for quite a while and still people find new weird stuff,” Kenney tweeted. “Also there’s still people saying it’s not AI...” Even if it’s not AI it’s still not great. To Kenney’s original point, it reeks of a company cheaping out instead of paying talented people to do what they’re good at.
“It’s a shame that Amazon took the cheapest route by generating the artwork without even taking the time to do any sort of quality control,” Kenney commented to Kotaku. “I’m sure a lot of artists would’ve absolutely loved the opportunity to do the art for this. There’s a long history of film and TV adaptations that didn’t pay enough respect to their source material, but I think generating art using AI is the most disrespectful thing that could be done. It’s the lowest of effort, it’s literally not doing any effort.”
Amazon and Bethesda did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Fallout TV show is being led by Westworld co-creator Jonathan Nolan, and wrapped up filming earlier this year. While the promotional art references Los Angeles and Vault 33, little else is known about the series, which was previously confirmed to be separate from the main storyline of the hit post-apocalyptic open-world RPG series. After watching the recent closed-doors teaser, IGN wrote, “While we only had a very small look at the show, it’s clear that the production values are high, with the visual effects looking impressive.”
Even more bizarre, then, that the first official art delivers the opposite impression. The timing also couldn’t be worse. Hollywood writers and actors are both on strike right now over streaming royalties and concerns about the use of AI in filmmaking, including by Amazon. The Writers Guild of America blasted the company along with the other streaming giants in a recent report, accusing them of anti-competitive mergers and vertical integrations. These historic strikes passed the 100-day mark earlier this month.