Voice Acting – One of the major elements in a game, and if done wrong, it can even ruin the experience of some of the best games. The reason is simple; it is what makes certain NPCs or characters feel more alive. Even though it sounds redundant in a game, it is a much-needed element.
Recently, Voice Actors have gotten more recognition for their work, and people are more appreciative of them. But it seems like a new wave of AI is on the verge, which spells danger for the Voice Actors. How so? Because certain studios have started using AI for voicing characters, and many can’t even tell the difference.
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AI Voice Acting
Let’s take a look at the AI voice changer by Altered.AI. It is a unique tool that allows you to change the many elements of your voice, making it suitable for, let’s say, a wide range of characters. You can have a high-pitched voice, but this AI will turn that into a pirate with a deep voice.
AI Voice Acting has advanced to the point where it can easily replace real Voice Actors and is doing so in certain places.
This can be a potential wall that human voice actors must overcome, but for now, it seems like it will cause a lot of problems for the voice acting community.
One of the first industries that will be hit is the Gaming Industry.
How Can AI Replace Voice Actors
Video Games have various characters, each with different speaking habits or distinct voices. Hiring Voice Actors to fulfil each role can take a toll on the budget, but AI can avert that. One AI tool can create a range of desired voices by simply changing the pitch, intonation, type and much more. In a sense, every character in a game can be voiced by one person using the AI tool.
The scary part is that this is still not complete, yet some studios have already adopted this. Ninja Theory and Neon Giant are two video game developer studios using this technology for their upcoming game.
Those games alone could have had many voice actors, who were unfortunately replaced. While this may be tragic for many people, it is still a step towards more advanced gaming technology. But essentially, humans are simply working to replace other humans, and we still cannot perceive whether that’s a good thing.
Concerned Voice Actors
Voice Actors have noticed this change, and some are even severely concerned. Ashly Burch, the VA for Aloy, stated:
Artistically, you’re never going to get a truly dynamic and compelling performance from an AI. A few combat barks? Maybe. But if you’re looking for something human and nuanced and alive, AI isn’t going to cut it.
She also said:
Low-budget or smaller titles are where a lot of new VA folks get their start. If devs transition to AI, an entry point for young artists is being squeezes out.”
So, while this transition may not affect some big-voice actors, it does affect the rising talent. Often, voice actors are chosen because of their reputation, and no AI can combat that. But what about someone new? Well, the better choice would always be AI.
The American Actor’s union(SAG-AFTRA) is also aware of this issue and has therefore brought out a low-budget agreement. It is specifically designed so the indie developers can acquire talented VA without bringing out the big bucks.
AI does have the potential to overtake the Voice Acting industry, especially in games. While it may take some time for more studios to adopt it, Voice Actors are already worried about the future. But we can’t deny that there are many qualities that an AI would always fail to capture, as stated by Ashly Burch.
What are your thoughts on this matter? Do you think an AI VA has become indistinguishable from a real VA? Let us know your thoughts below, and we will get back to you!