Wizards of the Coast says it was unaware of AI art in its new D&D book

Cover art of D&D Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants
(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

D&D owner Wizards of the Coast says it has only just learnt that its upcoming book, Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants, contains AI produced artwork.

A couple of days ago, D&D fans began to notice that images from the book looked like they were created using AI. The artist in question, Ilya Shkipin, then confirmed on Twitter that he had used AI for the generating "certain details or polish and editing", rather than generating entire pieces of artwork using AI. Shkipin has since deleted this tweet, but screenshots of the admission show his full statement.

The images Shkipin produced are based on concept art drawn by artist April Prime, who says she was hired by Wizards of the Coast as a concept artist in 2022. "I was unaware of the AI use and I'm deeply unhappy with this being used in the book," Prime said on Twitter, further adding that seeing AI used "bites".

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The confirmation of the use of AI has prompted fans to call for a boycott of D&D, with fans urging others to not purchase from Wizards of the Coast and instead move to other TTRPGs.

Yesterday evening, Wizards of the Coast finally released a statement on the matter, stating it had only found out about Shkipin's AI artwork as the D&D community did. "We have discussed [the art] with him, and he will not use AI for Wizards' work moving forward," the company stated. It also said it'll be updating its artist guidelines to "make clear that artists must refrain from using AI art generation" in its products.

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Shkipin also stated that his illustrations are "going to be reworked" following talks with Wizards of the Coast. However, with the book releasing on August 15, it's currently unclear whether the revised artwork will make it into the first print copies being shipped out.

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AI continues to be a controversial tool within the gaming industry, from proposals to use it in monitoring employees to deepfake porn mods using voice actors' work without their consent. To prove just how dangerous AI in journalism can be, the World of Warcraft community created Glorbo, a fictitious feature, and tricked a news site driven by AI-generated content into writing about it.

If you're looking to branch out from D&D, here's our list of the best tabletop RPGs to get you started.

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I'm a freelance writer and started my career in summer 2022. After studying Physics and Music at university and a short stint in software development, I made the jump to games journalism on Eurogamer's work experience programme. Since then, I've also written for Rock Paper Shotgun and Esports Illustrated. I'll give any game a go so long as it's not online, and you'll find me playing a range of things, from Elden Ring to Butterfly Soup. I have a soft spot for indies aiming to diversify representation in the industry.