CD Projekt RED used AI to replace a voice actor who had previously died in Cyberpunk 2077. Polish voice actor Miłogost Reczek voiced the character Viktor Vektor in Cyberpunk 2077, and passed away in 2021.
Reczek was a very popular actor in Poland, and his passing left CD Projekt RED with a question of what to do for the coming Phantom Liberty expansion.
In a statement to Bloomberg, CD Projekt RED explained the process of choosing to use AI, as localisation director Mikołaj Szwed “didn’t like” the idea of replacing his performance with another voice actor.
Szwed had too much adoration for Reczek, and called his performance in the game “stellar.”
A new voice actor was instead then hired to record Viktor Vektor’s lines, and with the permission of Reczek’s family, a voice cloning software called Respeecher changed that actors voice to make it sound like Reczek.
Reczek’s family and sons “were very supportive” of the idea, according to CD Projekt RED, who didn’t go through with it until they had the family’s permission.
That AI is being used more in how the games, or any of the entertainment we consume, are made has been met with excitement from some, and downright vitriol from others.
The reality seems to be that studios will continue to use AI, and continue to fumble in how AI is used. But at least in this case, it seems to have been a tool used well for keeping an aspect of the original game, and the late Reczek’s performance, alive.
Source – [Bloomberg]