Baldur's Gate 3, The Witcher, and Final Fantasy 16 actors weigh in on AI fears as voice of Geralt says "People who steal voice actors' work to do something else are w***ers"

The Witcher 3
(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

As artificial intelligence continues to develop and the use of it to replicate voices becomes increasingly common, more video game actors have been expressing their concerns over the technology's use and the negative consequences it could have.

Some of those worried include The Witcher game series' Geralt actor Doug Cockle, Samantha Béart who plays Karlach in Baldur's Gate 3, and the actor behind Final Fantasy 16's Clive Rosfield, Ben Starr. All have been speaking out against AI in a new interview with NME. Specifically, they point to worries about AI taking jobs away from actors, and the issues surrounding the theft and replication of actors' voices without their consent. 

Cockle himself has had his own voice replicated by AI, which wasn't something he ever agreed to. In the interview, he expresses that he wants studios to protect actors like him, as he can't personally stop the theft due to financial constraints and a lack of time. He adds: "People who steal voice actors’ work to do something else are wankers."

In recent times, videos of iconic video game characters saying and even singing things that they've never said before have become a lot more prevalent due to the use of AI, and they're highly problematic for a number of reasons. As in Cockle's case, a lot of the time, actors haven't actually agreed to it, and for them, the idea of their voice being used to say literally anything is certainly going to be unsettling, especially if used in offensive content. This is particularly worrisome as AI technology becomes more sophisticated, and AI-generated voices become harder to discern from real ones. 

Otherwise, there's the concern of AI being used to generate voices within games. Starr worries in particular about the technology being utilized to voice background characters, since these sorts of roles are ones which give up-and-coming actors opportunities to "cut their teeth" and start their careers. Otherwise, he adds that "in the wrong hands, AI has the capacity to take away jobs."

There was outcry within the acting community back in January after the American labor union SAG-AFTRA announced a deal with an AI voice company that will allow actors to license digital replicas of their voices for use in games, so this is far from a new concern. With resistance to the technology as strong as it is, however, it's not clear how widespread its use will become in games in the future. 

Recently, there was backlash after the studio behind Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader stated that it was using AI as a development tool in its next project, with many calling on the developers to "do better."

Catherine Lewis
News Writer

I'm one of GamesRadar+'s news writers, who works alongside the rest of the news team to deliver cool gaming stories that we love. After spending more hours than I can count filling The University of Sheffield's student newspaper with Pokemon and indie game content, and picking up a degree in Journalism Studies, I started my career at GAMINGbible where I worked as a journalist for over a year and a half. I then became TechRadar Gaming's news writer, where I sourced stories and wrote about all sorts of intriguing topics. In my spare time, you're sure to find me on my Nintendo Switch or PS5 playing through story-driven RPGs like Xenoblade Chronicles and Persona 5 Royal, nuzlocking old Pokemon games, or going for a Victory Royale in Fortnite.