Myst Creator’s New Game Was Built With AI—Now Gamers Are Mad

Cyan Worlds is seeing pushback from players after its new adventure game Firmament was developed using AI assistance.

Image: Cyan Worlds

With the rapid development of AI, the technology is quickly making its way across the entertainment industry. Now some gamers are upset after Cyan Worlds, the developer of the classic video games Myst and Riven, used AI tools to develop its new game Firmament.

The use of AI-based tools, according to video game publication Kotaku, was first spotted by blogger Gregory Avery-Weir. After playing the game and watching the credits, he noticed a lack of recognition for the characters’ voice acting—until an expected category appeared during the credits roll.

Overwatch Maker Blizzard to Tap Into Generative AI Game Tools: NYT

Blizzard Entertainment—the studio behind Diablo, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch—is experimenting with generative AI as part of game development, according to a report by the New York Times. Blizzard’s move into artificial intelligence was announced internally last month in an email from Blizzard’s chief design officer, Allen Adham, the New York Times said. “We are on the brink of a major evolution in how we build and manage our games,” Adham wrote, telling staff to prepare to be amazed. These

“Extremely disappointed to learn of the use of AI in the creation of Firmament,” reads a comment on the Firmament Kickstarter page. “If this plagiarized [homogeneity] is what we can expect going forward instead of the lovingly created worlds, world building, and performances of past Cyan games, then the company has truly lost my interest.”

“I wanted to like this game, but I don’t really think I can,” another Kickstarter backer wrote. “And learning how involved ‘AI Assisted Content’ was in the final product (particularly learning this only after the fact in the credits), honestly feels like a betrayal of my pledge.”

Cyan Worlds told Kotaku it used AI tools in Firmament to enhance in-game content, but added that human involvement remained. The studio said that AI technology helped adjust the final product, including voiceovers, with approval from the performer. For example, Cyan said that human-recorded voice acting was ultimately augmented by AI.

The guild is seeking “informed consent and fair compensation if you’re going to use any kind of AI or digital technology to recreate someone’s image or likeness,” SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland told Decrypt in an interview—before the union agreed to a media blackout.

Like others in the tech sector, game developers aim to leverage the rapid advances in artificial intelligence. Overwatch and Diablo developer Blizzard Entertainment is reportedly using the technology to assist in non-player character design, for example.

Blizzard President Mike Ybarra said that AI is not meant to replace human artists, but rather to add to the creative process.