CD Projekt has used artificial intelligence (AI) to imitate the voice of Milogost Recek, a famous Polish actor who died in 2021, for the Polish version of Phantom Liberty, the latest expansion for Cyberpunk 2077.
In a statement to Bloomberg, the company explained that they had obtained the consent of Recek’s family before taking this approach. Initially, CD Projekt planned to replace Recek’s character in the expansion and even thought about re-recording his lines from the base game. However, this was abandoned, as Nikolay Shved, CD Projekt’s localization director, emphasized Recek’s exceptional talent, especially praising his performance as Viktor Vektor.
To achieve the desired voice transfer, CD Projekt collaborated with a new actor who recorded new lines for Viktor Vektor. Subsequently, they used Respeecher, a Ukrainian voice cloning software, to develop an algorithm that modified the newly recorded dialog to resemble Rechek’s voice.
The Swede emphasized that this approach allowed not only to preserve Recek’s outstanding play, but also to honor his contribution as Viktor Vektor. He also mentioned the strong support they received from Recek’s sons throughout the process.
The growing capabilities of generative AI, which can generate text, visuals, and voices, have sparked debate about its ethical implications and practical applications in the entertainment industry. In particular, such iconic movie series as Star Wars have previously used technology to digitally resurrect deceased actors, including Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing.
In an important development last month, video game voice actors authorized a strike, expressing concerns about, among other things, the unauthorized use of AI to reproduce their performances. Union leader Ray Rodriguez expressed concern about the uncontrolled use of AI, emphasizing its potential threat to professionals whose livelihoods depend on their voice, appearance, or performances.