The PlayStation exclusive, Splatoon-like shooter Foamstars uses artificial intelligence (AI) generated art, developer Square Enix has revealed.

Speaking to VGC, Foamstars producer Kosuke Okatani confirmed the game — which launches into PlayStation Plus on February 6 — uses AI-generated art for certain assets, but claimed most of the game is made by actual developers.

Square Enix used controversial AI tool Midjourney, which turns text prompts into visual art, to create in-game album covers for music tracks. “We experimented with Midjourney using simple prompts to produce abstract images,” Square Enix said. “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.”

We did want to experiment with AI as well. In terms of the content in the game, this makes up about 0.01% or even less.

This only makes up around 0.01% of the game, or even less, Okatani claimed. “All of the core elements in Foamstars — the core gameplay, and the things that make the game enjoyable — those are all made by hand,” he said. “However, we did want to experiment with AI as well. In terms of the content in the game, this makes up about 0.01% or even less, but we have dabbled in it by creating these icons in the game.”

Midjourney is one of several AI companies mentioned in an ongoing lawsuit that lists thousands of artists who have allegedly had their artwork scraped to train AI tools.

The inclusion of AI in Foamstars is perhaps unsurprising given Square Enix president Takashi Kiryu said in January 2024 that the company will be “aggressive in applying AI and other cutting-edge technologies to both our content development and our publishing functions.”

Regardless, AI has proved a controversial topic within video games and other creative industries. Legendary filmmaker Tim Burton called AI generated art “very disturbing” in September 2023 while Wizards of the Coast was forced to issue a correction in January 2024 after claiming it didn’t use AI for some Magic: The Gathering artwork when it actually did.

Several video game voice actors have also rallied against AI, including Grand Theft Auto 5 voice actor Ned Luke who called out a chatbot which used his voice. The Witcher voice actor Doug Cockle also told IGN that AI was “inevitable” but “dangerous”, sharing in Luke’s assessment that chatbots and similar uses are “effectively robbing [voice actors] of income”.

Embark Studios, the developer of smash hit shooter The Finals, was criticised for using AI voiceovers by myriad actors and even other developers, for example. Embark told IGN that “making games without actors isn’t an end goal” and claimed it uses a mix of both recorded audio voices and audio generated via AI text to speech tools for its games, however.

Video game voice actors have also called out AI-generated explicit Skyrim mods, and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate voice actress Victoria Atkin called AI-generated mods the “invisible enemy we’re fighting right now” after discovering her voice was used by cloning software. Paul Eiding, the voice actor behind Colonel Campbell in the Metal Gear Solid series, also condemned its use.

Looking to counter chatbots like the Grand Theft Auto one, Cissy Jones, a voice actor known for her roles in Disney’s Owl House, Destiny 2: The Witch Queen, Shin Megami Tensei 5, and more, has started a company called Morpheme.ai to let voice actors embrace AI in their own way and gain control of their own voices going forward.

Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelance reporter. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.



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