After announcing a partnership with InWorld AI to, “Empower game creators with the potential of generative AI,” Xbox has come under heavy criticism from both game developers and writers for their intended use and promotion of AI tools.
The Microsoft company announced a, “Multi-year partnership” with InWorld that’ll see both companies work together to build, “AI game dialogue and narrative tools at scale.” While the partnership’s overall goals may seem broad, Xbox’s general manager of gaming AI Haiyan Zhang provided concrete examples of the innovative tools it will produce.
One is an ‘AI design copilot’ capable of transforming simple prompts into intricate scripts, dialogue trees, quests and more. The other is an ‘AI character runtime engine’ that enables the creation of dynamically generated stories, quests and dialogue for players to experience.
While the AI-powered tools developed through the Xbox/Inworld collaboration are intended as optional resources for game developers, the issue of AI-generated content remains a subject of debate. In fact, several game developers, voice actors, game writers and TV writers have taken to social media platform X (formerly Twitter) to express their frustration and disgust towards the collaboration.
Creatives hit back
“I fucking hate this,” said Mary Kenney, who is the Associate Narrative Director for Marvel’s upcoming Wolverine PS5 game at Insomniac Games. “TGA, as a member of your Future Class: this does not honor or celebrate our work, and you should be ashamed of devaluing artists this way.”
Insomniac Games writer Brittney Morris also raised questions about Microsoft’s portrayal of AI tools as beneficial for writers. “Imagine calling AI a ‘powerful tool for game developers’ when it literally exists to replace us. We will not be gaslit,” Morris said.
“AI is egregiously disrespectful and dangerous to the workers who pour their time and creativity into making the games we love,” wrote Apex Legends and Destiny 2 voice actor Erika Ishii. “In a year with thousands of layoffs despite record corporate profits, I sincerely hope to see peers and fans stand with devs and our labor movements,” added Ishii.
Sony’s Santa Monica game writer Alanah Pearce plans to boycott any future game releases that come from the partnership. “Imagine announcing this in a year where the games industry has laid off 6,000+ people. I will never play any game that Inworld has any part in making,” she said.
As behemoth tech companies continue to lean towards the AI trend (in fear of missing out or getting left behind), they’ll inevitably have to confront the passionate artists determined to safeguard their craft.