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Ubisoft’s Ghostwriter AI Generates NPC Barks To Aid Narrative Designers

Company insists artificial intelligence will not replace writers; writers remain unconvinced

Ubisoft has created an AI tool to write NPC barks. Barks are noises and phrases NPCs make during an event. Ubisoft’s Ghostwriter can generate the first draft of barks, freeing up narrative designers to focus on editing them. According to Ubisoft, creating hundreds of unique NPCs presents quite a challenge for game writers.

Ghostwriter was developed by Ubisoft R&D Scientist Ben Swanson. Swanson joined the company after attending a GDC talk from the team behind Watch Dogs. Swanson created the AI with Ubisoft La Forge‘s team members in China.

“Rather than writing first draft versions themselves, Ghostwriter lets scriptwriters select and polish the samples generated,” says Swanson

According to Swanson and Ubisoft, Ghostwriter will only aid game writers, not replace them. However, with fears of generative AIs taking over jobs high, some are unconvinced.

Gearbox Software‘s senior Writer tweeted, “Just to be 100% clear: I dislike the idea that this would ‘free up’ writers from ‘boring’ work for several reasons. First – barks, ambient dialogue, and descriptive text is a lot of writers’ first billable (and résumé-able) work when they are starting out.”

Alanah Pearce, a writer for Sony Santa Monica, points out that gaming giants like Ubisoft could hire more writers rather than spend funds on the creation of AI tools.

“As a writer, having to edit AI-generated scripts/dialogue sounds far more time-consuming than just writing my own temp lines,” Tweeted Pearce. “I would far prefer AAA studios use whatever budget it costs to make tools like this to instead hire more writers.”

How Ghostwriter Works

To use Ghostwriter, a game writer must first develop an NPC character and tell the AI what type of interaction or dialogue they want to generate. Then the AI creates two versions which the writer chooses from. Ghostwriter learns the writer’s preferences with each selection they make, becoming more efficient the more it is used.

Swanson is optimistic about the implementation of Ghostwriter in the game design industry. The AI even features a user-friendly backend tool to allow anyone to create their own machine learning models.

A recent study by OpenAI found that AI will impact 80% of jobs in the future, with ‘Writers and Authors’ being one category that was found to be 100% exposed.

Written By

Jack Brassell is a freelance journalist and aspiring novelist. Jack is a self-proclaimed nerd with a lifelong passion for storytelling. As an author, Jack writes mostly horror and young adult fantasy. Also an avid gamer, she works as the lead news editor at Hardcore Droid. When she isn't writing or playing games, she can often be found binge-watching Parks & Rec or The Office, proudly considering herself to be a cross between Leslie Knope and Pam Beasley.

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