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Genvid denies using AI to write Silent Hill: Ascension

The studio behind Silent Hill: Ascension has denied it is using artificial intelligence to write dialogue for the game.

IGN reported players have been sharing examples of the game’s writing via social media, accusing developer Genvid of using AI to generate it.

For example, former Giant Bomb video editor Jess ‘Voidburger’ O’Brien shared a clip of an NPC who says he has been berry hunting, confirms he has seen something strange in the woods but does not elaborate, and returns to hunting for berries.

Genvid CEO Jacob Navok posted a response on X (formerly Twitter), insisting: “Every word in Ascension was written by real people, many of whom have long-running careers in writing including Telltale titles, Pixar titles, [God of War] Ragnarok, Resident Evil Village and more.

“Across our 100,000+ words, zero are authored by LLMs or AI, and all are from dedicated work of a talented team.”

Navok later expanded in a longer post about the use of AI in games development, confirming that Genvid has previously runs tests to see if the technology could improve animation or cinematic production but concluding that the results were “not great” and resulted in “a lot of repetitive movements.”

The studio also experimented with programmatically-directed scenes, akin to Left 4 Dead’s AI director, but this produced wonky shots, incorrect cuts, and lacked the sense of timing you get on TV, which is what Genvid aims to emulate.

Navok emphasised that most of these tests were concluded by the end of 2021, and “none of that work ended up being used on this or other projects.”

“We have a team of animators working on the project, a team of writers who wrote the scripts, and narrative designers who made the choices. Suggesting otherwise is just a veiled insult to talented humans who have worked hard to create something they are proud of.”

He added that the tests has also made him sceptical about the US of AI in creative endeavours, and that the technology is “a long way away from doing creative work.”

However, Genvid continues to experiment with AI in detecting offensive user names when accounts are registered, which is “working to an extent [but] still not perfect.”

Silent Hill Ascension, like Genvid’s other titles, is essentially a choose-your-own adventure style narrative game that is livestreamed and the outcomes dictated by audience voting.

IGN reported Ascension has previously be criticised for its use of microtransactions, with players suggesting big spenders have more voting power.

Navok told the site that “the notion that users can ‘win’ by paying is generally false.”

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