The CEO of Silent Hill Ascension co-creator Genvid Technologies has defended the game from claims that parts of it were written by AI text generators.
In a tweet last night, CEO Jacob Navok claimed that "every word in Ascension was written by real people, many of whom have long-running careers in writing." Navok points to Capcom, Pixar, and Sony Santa Monica alumni, and says that across a script of more than 100,000 words, "zero are authored" by AI.
Every word in Ascension was written by real people, many of whom have long-running careers in writing including Telltale titles, Pixar titles, GoW Ragnarok, Resident Evil Village and more. Across our 100,000+ words, zero are authored by LLMs or AI, and all are from dedicated work…November 27, 2023
Navok's comments come after a barrage of criticism leveled at the latest episode of Ascension, most notably during a scene in which characters stumble on a character who says they're foraging for berries in the wood. After a peculiar tangent in which they discuss gifting jam to their protagonists, the forager suggests he's seen something weird in the woods, but offers no detail before leaving the scene.
Silent Hill Ascension is absolutely written by A.I. and I cannot be convinced otherwise. This random NPC pops in, declares he's berry hunting, says he's seen weird shit and does not expound on it, provides no information, leaves for more berries. Goodbye forever, BerryMan https://t.co/IrwahA1tucNovember 25, 2023
It's fair to say that 'BerryMan' might not be an example of top-tier writing, and his inclusion was enough for a now-viral tweet to claim that Ascension is "absolutely written by AI." That tweet also drew further attention to the interest that Genvid CCO Stephan Vladimir Bugaj has in the generative technology - earlier this year, Bugaj spoke at an AI conference. That's not exactly a smoking gun, but it certainly suggests that senior staff at Genvid are interested in the development of AI technologies.
In a separate tweet, Navok goes into extra detail about Genvid's work with AI. He admits that the company "ran tests several years ago to see whether AI could improve animation or cinematic production pipelines," likening the result of those tests to the AI Twitch streams trained on shows like Seinfeld and Family Guy: "not great."
As with any development studio, Genvid has used more traditional artificial intelligence to direct scenes, with Navok likening that work to what Valve cooked up in Left 4 Dead more than a decade ago. Much of that work reportedly took place in 2021, and Navok says none of it ended up being used further afield. He also claims that that work "made me a skeptic on the use of AI for a lot of creative endeavors."
AI or otherwise, Ascension remains a peculiar prospect, thanks to its episodic format, strange monetization options, and distracting player involvement via its Twitch-style text chat. After a faltering start, Genvid acknowledged feedback and said it was working on changes, but with fingers pointed so firmly at the disappointing writing of this narrative-first game, it remains to be seen whether it can ever live up to the series' potential.
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