Voice cloning has received a bad rep for intellectual property theft and fraud, but Cyberpunk has put a different spin on things. CD Projekt Red used AI to replace a deceased voice actor in the Phantom Liberty expansion. After getting permission from the family of Polish voice actor Miłogost Reczek, they recreated his voice using AI technology. This allowed the developers to pay tribute to Reczek's exceptional performance as Viktor Vektor in the game.
Miłogost Reczek was a respected voice actor in Poland who passed away in December 2021. He was well-known for his roles as the Polish dub voice for Homer Simpson and Vesemir and Thaler in The Witcher games. In Cyberpunk 2077 he played the character of Viktor Vektor, a doctor who plays a crucial role in the game's narrative. Reczek's untimely passing left CD Projekt Red with the challenge of finding a way to preserve his performance in the game without compromising the integrity of his character.
To achieve the seamless integration of Reczek's voice in the game, CD Projekt Red employed voice-cloning software called Respeecher. They hired a different voice actor to perform new lines for Viktor Vektor, which were then altered using the AI technology to match Reczek's voice. This process allowed CD Projekt Red to maintain the authenticity of Reczek's performance in Cyberpunk 2077's new expansion, Phantom Liberty.
The use of AI technology in the entertainment industry has become a topic of great interest and debate. While it offers exciting possibilities for preserving and enhancing the work of actors, concerns have been raised about the potential implications for the profession. Voice actors have expressed worries about intellectual property rights and the potential replacement of human performers with computer-generated voices.
The concerns surrounding AI in the entertainment industry have prompted organisations like the Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) to take action. SAG-AFTRA recently authorised a strike as part of their negotiations over the guild's Interactive Media Agreement, which covers actors working in video games. Although a strike has not yet occurred, it highlights the importance of addressing the impact of AI on the workforce and protecting the interests of actors.
Zeke Alton, a member of SAG-AFTRA's Interactive Negotiating Committee, emphasised the need to find a balance between embracing AI technology and safeguarding the role of human performers. He stressed that it is essential to ensure that AI does not lead to the complete replacement of humans in the entertainment industry. Alton believes that setting a precedent for corporations to eliminate human workers using algorithms could have severe consequences for the economy and society as a whole.
CD Projekt Red's use of AI to replace the voice of a deceased actor in Cyberpunk 2077 exemplifies the potential of AI technology in the entertainment industry. As the industry continues to evolve, it is essential to navigate the integration of AI tools in a way that respects the contributions of human talent and enhances the overall creative process.