The Finals AI Voice: a Blessing or a Curse

The Finals AI voice caused a stir among players and voice actors, and this article discusses whether the AI voice in video games is a blessing or a curse.

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Updated on Apr 02, 2024

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The release of ChatGPT on November 30, 2022, had a disruptive impact on the technology industry. Artificial intelligence quickly became a hot topic virtually overnight. One cannot overlook the core of ChatGPT: generative artificial intelligence technology, which has become a field eagerly explored and developed by tech giants.

As of the publication of this article, generative AI has evolved and been applied to online communication, information, machine translation, text generation, and other areas. Its accuracy and efficiency have made many tasks much less challenging, including within the realm of video games.

A Stir Caused by Artificial Intelligence

On October 26, 2023, Embark Studios' "The Finals" entered open beta, sparking controversy when users discovered the company was using artificial intelligence for character voiceovers. The game's audio designers, Carl Strandberg, and Andrea Almström, were asked on Embark's podcast about who did the voiceovers. They responded, "We use AI with a few exceptions, so all the contestant voices, like the barks and voiceover commentators, are AI text-to-speech. Other, smaller elements, like grunting and pain noises, were done more naturally."

The debate quickly spread across the internet, with discussions on Reddit such as "The Finals game apparently has AI voice acting and Valve seems fine with it." Comment replies included:

byu/_DDark_ from discussion

Why The Final AI Voice Meet Detestation

Perhaps we can glimpse some reasons from a post on X, where it is mentioned that artificial intelligence fails to provide emotional returns for viewers witnessing the last scene of a game and the protagonist sacrificing everything to achieve their goal.

In simple terms, AI voices may struggle to convey responsible emotions or subtle differences in speech, leading to players experiencing either a monotonous or artificial gaming encounter. Additionally, some players believe that AI voices may make pronunciation errors or grammatical mistakes, potentially diverting their attention. Some players simply express a preference for human voices, citing the authenticity and warmth that can be better connected to the subtle emotional differences conveyed by real people.

In addition to opposing views from gamers, voice actors such as Gianni Matragrano, who contributes to Evil West, Vertigo 2, and more, have also come forward in opposition. He criticized developer Embark Studio's decision to use AI-generated voices on his X/Twitter. Elsie Lovelock, appearing in Baldur's Gate 3, Wargroove, and more, also criticized, stating on X/Twitter, "The kicker is, it still sounds like crap regardless of how realistic they think it sounds."

What Makes Video Game Publishers Keen on AI Voice

The audio design team of The Final also mentioned, "The reason that we went this route is that AI text-to-speech is finally extremely powerful. It gets us far enough in terms of quality and allows us to be extremely reactive to new ideas. If a game designer comes up with a new idea for a game mode, we can have a voiceover representing that in just a matter of hours instead of months." Indeed, AI voice technology accelerates the content creation process, enabling game developers to quickly generate large amounts of dialogue, creating expansive game worlds and responsible storylines.

However, developers consider more. For one thing, AI voices can adapt to player interaction, dynamically responding to choices and actions in the game. This adaptability enhances immersion and interactivity, contributing to a more engaging player experience. For another, unlike human actors who may face fatigue or scheduling conflicts, AI voices can maintain the same quality and tone throughout the gaming experience.

Curse or Blessing, It is an Inevitable Tendency

Despite differing opinions, developers claim that it makes them more responsive and creative with voiceovers, saving time and money. However, some players and voice actors criticize the use of AI voices in games, claiming they sound unnatural, awkward, and ultimately detrimental to the voice acting industry. Even to this days, several video games have used voice synthesis technology, such as Age of Darkness: Final Stand, Cyberpunk, Half-Life: Alyx, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales.

In creating rich and expressive voice performances for characters, AI voices do play a significant role. Furthermore, in areas such as text generation, real-time translation, and search queries, artificial intelligence is continually replacing traditional methods. However, whether AI voice technology will replace real voice actors is likely a negative answer. Balancing real human voices and AI voices will remain a challenge for game developers.

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FAQs on The Finals AI Voice

1. Does The Finals have AI announcers?

Yes, The Finals does have AI announcers. According to the developers, the game uses AI text-to-speech technology to generate the voices of the commentators and some of the contestants.

2. How much of The Finals is AI?

The Finals uses AI for essentially all the voicework in The Finals.

3. What is the best AI voiceover?

EaseUS VoiceOver is one of the best AI voiceover generators, for it uses advanced AI models to train character voices and at the same allows users to fine-tune their audio.

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