According to a developer at Embark Studios, The Finals does in fact use AI text-to-speech tools for almost all of its human voices. After it was pointed out that the shooter, which is currently having an incredibly popular playtest on Steam, has human voices that sound robotic, a new interview has confirmed that AI is in use. The Finals could very well rival Call of Duty and Battlefield, but the use of AI is not going over well.
Even though we’re only in a limited-time playtest, The Finals Steam player count has been soaring as the FPS game from former Battlefield developers at Embark Studios looks to rival the biggest shooters in the space. That said, voice actor Gianni Matragrano highlighted how many of the voices in The Finals sound AI-generated, only for that to be confirmed in a podcast interview with some of the developers.
One of the Embark Studios developers in the interview is audio designer Andreas Almström, who answers a question about who did the voiceovers for The Finals.
So I guess The Finals is going with AI voices…? pic.twitter.com/PIAbR43ZrT
— Gianni Matragrano (@GetGianni) October 28, 2023
“So here’s the kicker, ‘what did the voiceovers?’” Almström begins. “We use AI with a few exceptions, so all the contestant voices like the barks and both of our commentators are AI text-to-speech.
“For things we call vocalizations like player breathing, vaulting, jumping, that’s something we use us in the studio to record. We can’t really get the AI to perform those kinds of tasks yet.”
Almström adds that since the only human recordings are grunts and the like, it already mixes well with the AI. “The reason that we [chose to] go 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 and keep things really, really fresh.”
As you might expect, after Matragrano shared this interview clip the team’s choice of AI voice acting hasn’t gone down well with many players, voice actors, and performance capture specialists in the industry. While AI performances like this are quicker to implement than real voices, they can often sound stilted or unnatural which defeats the point of using them. This goes without saying, but using AI actively takes away work from videogame performers, and is part of the human element that makes videogames so special in the first place.
The use of AI still has a place in videogames though, as the emerging tech has already been used to replace the voice of the late Miłogost Reczek, who played ripperdoc Viktor Vektor in the Polish version of Cyberpunk 2077.
Reczek played Vektor in the base game but passed away before Phantom Liberty came out, so instead of completely removing and replacing his voice CD Projekt Red had another voice actor record the new lines, and then, with the permission of Reczek’s family, used AI software to put his voice in place of the new lines.