• Modders used AI software to voice important "Witcher 3" characters  
  • Voice actors called the method unethical
  • The software's creator said the technology was designed to make NPCs more realistic

A story mod for “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” has been drawing flak from the professional voice acting scene over its use of AI to simulate voice-acted dialogue lines, with some voice actors crying foul over ethical concerns.

The “A Night To Remember” story mod is an unofficial sequel to the game’s “Blood And Wine” DLC, featuring old and new characters in a fresh storyline that picks up directly where the previous quest ended. The new storyline was written from scratch and some characters, including the protagonist Geralt, are voiced using the power of AI.

The AI-based voice replication method that the mod features was criticized by video game voice actors, according to Input Mag. Some actors were worried that such AI techniques can put their jobs at risk, while some called such methods to be utterly unethical and legally dubious.

The Witcher 3 Patch
Geralt of Rivia chases a beast in “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.”

“A Night To Remember’s” mod team used software called CyberVoice to essentially modify, remix and reuse the game’s existing voiced dialogue lines to create entirely new ones that are almost indistinguishable from the original ones.

The software was created by Mind Simulation Lab, a Russian tech company specializing in artificial intelligence. The same company also created CyberMind, AI software designed to replicate realistic behaviors and personalities for video game NPCs.

Mind Simulation Lab CEO Leonid Derikyants told Input Mag that such technology was necessary to create believable NPCs that can answer live questions without having to rely completely on voice actors. The voice lines that CyberVoice can produce are uncannily similar to that of original actors, which brings up the arguments of ethical use, legal issues and the actual quality of AI voice acting.

The impact of this type of mimicry is similar to the effect that deep fake technology had on society in general, with celebrities, in particular, worrying about people using their likeness in media content without permission.

“Yes, AI might be able to replace things but should it? We literally get to decide. Replacing actors with AI is not only a legal minefield but an utterly soulless choice” voice actor Jay Britton said on Twitter.