In just one 17:29 video, the group at Corridor Digital has decided to piss off everyone in the game development industry. How, you might ask? By taking characters with true personalities in their looks, and watering them down through the use of AI.
It’s all part of a video called “We try putting photoreal faces in video games”.
You can look up the video for yourself if you want, but I’ll save you the time. It’s nothing but taking in-game models with heavy detail, taking all of the detail out of them, and claiming it’s better and “photorealistic”. There are also countless insults of the work character artists do for the models in games.
Immediately, you can tell nothing they do looks better. Every character they “improved” looks muddied, flattened, and blended. But they made sure to say things like “Holy shit, it looks so good” when looking at Aloy in Horizon Forbidden West where it looks like she was injected with 20 doses of Botox.
It doesn’t take more than 30 seconds to see how much worse this AI-generated character that “looks so good” actually is. And it’s not just me that immediately felt that way when looking at them.
Many throughout the gaming industry and even just fans and artists, in general, have voiced their displeasure with the video and what clearly felt like an advertisement for AI more than anything else.
“Corridor Digital decided to take a crap on the entire games industry full of character artists without understanding the two things we have to face- strict rendering limitations and ridiculous deadlines,” Delaney King, a character and tech artist on games like Dragonage, Civilization IV, and more, posted on Twitter. “They don’t “fix” things with their AI clickbait. They just cause damage.”
“Why does the new Corridor digital video have massive “Hire Fans Lol” energy??,” senior gameplay and combat programmer Aadit Doshi of Rocksteady Games posted.
Many times throughout the video, it was referenced that this was “the perfect application” for AI in game development. Then you get shown an example that looks like someone used too much of the blend tool in Photoshop.
No one wants to play a game and get invested in characters that look like plastic — aside from games specifically designed like that like LEGO titles — and barely show emotion in their expressions.
Now, I’m not blind. Obviously, AI will have a place in game development down the line, but trying to replace those who put time, energy, and passion into the characters they make just isn’t it. There’s a reason it hasn’t become the norm in the industry yet. Even Activision president Rob Kostich admitted that AI tools “need to be vetted” properly before becoming a part of development.
That said, that’s just one person’s opinion on it. There will be a time, and likely soon, when a game studio will attempt to cut corners like this and utilize AI to “optimize” game characters. Just know that it won’t be the artists’ fault when characters come out looking like Barbie dolls.