Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown a beautiful game and a welcome return of the iconic franchise, but there's a smudge against it as there appears to be an issue with one of the main NPCs in the game, and AI was used as a fix.
My Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown review is live now, and I love it. And while the game releases on 15 January it seems there was no time to record dialogue for one NPC, a tree spirit named Kalux, which according to an IGN report has been voiced by an AI instead of an actor. (Every other character in the game is voiced by a human.)
According to a statement sent to IGN it appears to be an oversight on the part of developer Ubisoft Montpellier. Many developers use team members' voices as stand-ins during development, and some are now using AI instead via text-to-speech apps, indeed Lords of the Fallen used generative AI to plan its NPC audio. It seems, for Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown one was left in by mistake.
Here's the full Ubisoft statement as reported by IGN: "The English version of these 8 lines of text for this character were not properly implemented but will be swapped out and updated with an upcoming patch. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown is fully voice-overed in English, French, Spanish, German and Farsi with more than 12,000 lines in total. It is also subtitled in Italian, Portuguese-Brazilian, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Polish and Japanese."
As mentioned above Ubisoft has stated a future patch released in January or February will replace the AI voice with a human actor. This is glimpse into how AI can help speed up development of a game, enabling a small team to focus on areas of game that need attention, but it's also a sign that as more AI becomes used, and useful, in game development then perhaps more human roles will emerge to edit, check and fine tune AI uses.
AI is here to stay and is already clearly aiding game developers to do more against tight deadlines. But there are more cases emerging where AI assets are slipping through and making it into the final product, recently Magic: The Gathering was caught using AI in its promotional materials.
As more game developers adopt AI we could see more mistakes such as this. At CES this week Ubisoft, as well as Genshin Impact developer MiHoYo, are some of the early adopters of Nvidia's Avatar Cloud Engine (ACE), an AI platform for creating lifelike video game character speech, teased at Taipei Computex 2023.
AI tools will help game developers speed up production, but how much of this gamers want remains to be seen. Clearly there are tools that can help, and in our snapshot of indie developers interest in AI many said they were already experimenting with AI tools, for example Leo Dasso at Moonloop Games has been using Github Copilot has he's a solo programmer, but draws the line at AI art tools such as Midjourney, saying: "In their current state they shouldn't be used for anything, let alone games".
Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown releases 15 January for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, and Amazon Luna, as well as Windows PC through the Epic Games Store and the Ubisoft Store. You can also download a free demo right now.