Ubisoft says its Ghostwriter AI program will not replace game writers

Ubisoft caused quite a stir this week when it announced a new AI scriptwriting tool it said would assist game writers with creating dialogue for NPCs.

Created by Ubisoft’s R&D department, Ghostwriter, as it’s called, isn’t meant to replace writers, according to the company.

According to the company, with games growing larger in scope, writers are finding it more challenging to create varied and interesting NPCs; because of this, Ubisoft created the program to help alleviate the burden.

“Ghostwriter isn’t replacing the video game writer, but instead, alleviating one of the video game writer’s most laborious tasks: writing barks,” said Ubisoft’s content writing assistant, Roxane Barth, in a blog post.

“Ghostwriter effectively generates first drafts of barks – phrases or sounds made by NPCs during a triggered event – which gives scriptwriters more time to polish the narrative elsewhere.”

Created by Ben Swanson, R&D scientist at La Forge Montreal, Ghostwriter is the result of conversations with narrative designers who revealed challenges with creating the barks for NPCs.Swanson identified the issue could be solved with an AI tool.

Crowd chatter and barks are central features of player immersion in games ranging from NPCs speaking to each other, enemy dialogue during combat, or a triggered exchange; therefore, Ghostwriter will cut down on the time and creative effort required from scriptwriters, as such, said effort can be better spent on other core plot items while still allowing creative control.

“Rather than writing first draft versions themselves, Ghostwriter lets scriptwriters select and polish the samples generated,” Swanson explained. “This way, the tech is a tool used by the teams to support them in their creative journey, with every interaction and feedback originating from the members who use it.”

AI writing and art has become rather popular of late, with many companies releasing their versions of the tech. Art AI programs, for example, can create visuals based on descriptive text. Likewise, articles or papers can be generated by entering keywords and a small, information-filled paragraph depending on the program. The downside, at the moment, is that it tends to repurpose content instead of generating something more substantial and interesting.

Google recently made its AI chatbot Bard available to more people. In direct competition with OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft, which recently released its own tech tied to its Bing internet search, Bard and others like it allow you to collaborate with generative AI. Chatbots are computer programs that simulate and process the human conversation and allow people to interact with digital devices as if they were communicating with a live person. Programs such as these can answer everything from a simple question to acting as a digital assistant.

Now, with Ubisoft getting into the mix, it is probably only a matter of time before other game companies follow suit. It might be considered a fad at the moment, but likely, AI tech such as this isn’t going away any time soon, with you can expect even more intelligent programs to come in the not-so-distant future.

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