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The Final Fantasy publisher’s president recently said in a New Year’s Letter that it intended to be “aggressive in applying” AI in its future game development.
Square Enix has previously used AI for things like improving facial animation and camera angles in Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
At a recent press event, VGC asked Foamstars producer Kosuke Okatani if AI was used for any elements of the game, and he confirmed it had.
Okatani claimed that, while the vast majority of the game was built by hand, it had used Midjourney – a popular generative AI tool that transforms text prompts into visual art – to create a small number of art for in-game icons.
The assets in question are said to be related to in-game album covers for the game’s music tracks.
“All of the core elements in Foamstars – the core gameplay, and the things that make the game enjoyable – those are all made by hand,” he clarified. “However, we did want to experiment with AI as well.
“In terms of the content in the game, this makes up about 0.01% or even less, but we have dabbled in it by creating these icons in the game.”
Square Enix later clarified in a statement provided to VGC: “AI was used in the creation of the in-game album covers for the music featured in the FOAMSTARS’ soundtrack. As developers, we’re always looking at new technologies to see how they can assist with game development.
“In this instance, we experimented with Midjourney using simple prompts to produce abstract images. We loved what was created and used them as the final album covers players will see in the game. Everything else was created entirely by our development team.”
The use of generative AI is a significant pressure point in many creative industries, including video games, with tools such as Midjourney being criticised by some who perceive them as replacing professional artists and using their work without permission for their training set.
In Europe, the EU is moving to regulate generative AI, so that companies would need to disclose any copyrighted data used for training. And just last week, Valve changed the rules around games containing AI-generated assets on Steam, so that developers would need to disclose its use clearly.
Many video game voice actors recently criticised a union deal around the use of AI to replicate their voices, claiming they hadn’t been properly consulted.
Some game companies have embraced AI for non asset generation uses, however, such as in bug testing, improving NPC dialogue, or localisation.
In November, Xbox announced a multi-year deal with Inworld to build AI dialogue and narrative tools at scale, which it said would enable it to deliver “an accessible, responsibly designed multi-platform AI toolset to assist and empower creators in dialogue, story & quest design.”