Ubisoft, the publishers behind Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry and Ghost Recon, tonight announced that an “AI tool” is currently helping its developers write dialogue for some of its games.
This tool, called Ghostwriter, is described as:
Introducing Ubisoft Ghostwriter, an AI tool developed in-house that aims to support our scriptwriters by generating the first draft of our NPC barks - the phrases or sounds made by NPCs when players interact with the game world.
This tool was created hand-in-hand with scriptwriters to create more realistic NPC interactions by generating variations on a piece of dialogue See how our teams will use AI to handle repetitive tasks, and free up time to work on other core game elements.
The trailer below, which goes out of its way (for obvious reasons) to say that it’s there “to save scriptwriters time”, provides a rundown of how it works:
I have this problem all over the place at the moment, but I’m going to call it out specifically here: calling this tool “artificial intelligence” imbues it with an underserved sense of awe and respect stemming from our association of the term with examples from science fiction. It’s wildly inaccurate—this stuff is machine learning, not AI, there’s a difference—but calling it “AI” is exactly what its creators (and chief profiteers) would like us to think.
Maybe this will save time? I don’t know, I’m not an Ubisoft writer, and the video above says the tech was created in consultation with the company’s “narrative teams”. Some in the field have certainly had some positive takes on the news.
On a personal level, though, I don’t care how annoying the game is, or how repetitive the soundbytes, I would prefer bad lines written entirely by humans over optimised lines originally written by a machine 100 times out of 100. Even if I couldn’t tell, I’d just prefer it on a psychological basis. Humans can be weird like that.