CD Projekt used AI to recreate voice of deceased actor for Cyberpunk 2077 expansion

Polish video game developer CD Projekt SA used artificial intelligence (AI) technology in its latest release to recreate the voice of an actor who passed away, the company said.

The voice of the late Miłogost Reczek, a popular Polish voice actor who died in 2021, was reproduced by an AI algorithm for the Polish-language release of Phantom Liberty, the new expansion to CD Projekt’s Cyberpunk 2077.

In a statement to Bloomberg, the company said it received permission from Reczek’s family to do this and that it had considered replacing him in the expansion and rerecording his lines in the original game but decided against it.

“We didn’t like this approach,” CD Projekt localizsation director Mikołaj Szwed said in the statement, as Reczek “was one of the best Polish voice talents” and his performance in the game as the doctor Viktor Vektor “was stellar.”

Instead, CD Projekt hired a different voice actor to perform new lines for the role and then used a Ukraine-based voice-cloning software called Respeecher to create an algorithm that would alter the dialogue to sound like Reczek.

“This way we could keep his performance in the game and pay tribute to his wonderful performance as Viktor Vektor,” Szwed said.

Szwed also said that Reczek’s sons “were very supportive.”

The rapid rise of generative AI, which can produce text, images and voice from prompts, has raised ethical and practical questions about its use in creative work across the entertainment industry.

Film franchises like Star Wars have used technology to replace dead actors such as Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing, while the use of artificial intelligence has become a sticking point during strikes by writers and actors this year.

Last month, video game voice actors authorised a strike ahead of negotiations with gaming companies over various topics, including the use of AI to recreate their work without permission.

“The unregulated use of artificial intelligence poses an existential threat to anyone who makes their living using their voice, image or performance,” union leader Ray Rodriguez said.

Now read: Adobe upgrades image-generating AI tool

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CD Projekt used AI to recreate voice of deceased actor for Cyberpunk 2077 expansion