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Baldur's Gate 3 Actors Are Concerned about AI

"That is stealing not just my job but my identity."

Image credit: Larian Studios

The BAFTA awards revealed its winners, and Baldur's Gate 3 became the Best Game once again. The voice actors behind it definitely added to the game's success; who knows what it would be with AI covering their roles.

Speaking with Eurogamer, the actors shared their experiences with AI voice generators and explained their views on what they offer.

Amelia Tyler, who plays the narrator in Baldur's Gate 3, said that she'd seen her voice recreated in really distasteful ways without her permission. She watched a stream where her AI-generated voice was in the hands of the chat:

"I went on to this stream because somebody gave me a heads up and I went on and heard my own voice reading rape porn. That's the level of stuff we've had to deal with since this game came out and it's been horrible, honestly."

"Unless I have signed something saying you're allowed to do that, that is stealing not just my job but my identity," she added. Tyler is all for creativity and would like to hear players recording their versions of the narrator's lines, but using her voice for training AI "should be illegal."

Image credit: Larian Studios

Andrew Wincott, the actor behind Raphael, has a slightly different view. He is not against using AI to make 40 hours of product instead of 10 as long as he gets paid for all 40. He also warned others about signing contracts: 

"If you're going to sign something that means you're signing away the rights to your voice, be very careful and make sure the remuneration is going to be significant because that's your career gone."

Samantha Béart, who plays Karlach, expressed her disappointment over SAG-AFTRA's recent "groundbreaking" AI voice agreement, which states its members can be asked to use their voices to create and license digital replicas. "There were a lot of things on the table and it sounds like they threw a lot of less glamorous actors under the bus because they got what they wanted for the more visible actors. We'd like more protection," she said.

Tracy Wiles's, Jaheira, agent seems to be vigilant in such matters, and she said that contracts now take longer because of new AI clauses.

Neil Newbon, who voiced Astarion, believes AI shouldn't be used in voice training as "you don't get the nuance, you don't get the happy accidents, you don't get the interaction between the director and the actor in the same way." He doesn't think you can program craft, "it's something beyond zeros and ones, beyond the formula. It's quite magical." In a recent Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Game Maker's Notebook Podcast, he also mentioned that real people would probably make fewer mistakes than AI: "I'm not convinced that AI will ever be as good as a person."

Image credit: Larian Studios

The Baldur's Gate 3 actors were not the only ones to comment on the AI issue.

Ralph Ineson, Cidolfus Telamon in Final Fantasy 16, confirmed Newbon's predictions. He was hired to record a dialogue replacement session for a movie because, apparently, the machine delivered a "really bad performance."

Ben Starr (Clive Rosfield) shared his concerns as well, saying no union can safeguard from the rapid AI advancements.

"I hope that it takes us into consideration. I think it's been an afterthought, that's what it feels like. It feels like AI is something that has huge benefits for the video game industry, for the film industry, it's been around for a very long time - but at quite a severe cost."

David Harewood, who plays Warlin Door in Alan Wake 2, called AI "a big threat" and while all involved in the production should try to make it enhance the profession, Harewood doesn't think it will because it can't "replace the quirks of each individual person."

We'll have to see how AI will eventually influence the game industry and other areas of our lives. For now, we can congratulate Baldur's Gate 3 on winning five awards at BAFTA, including Best Game, Narrative, Music, the EE Player's Choice award, and Wincott's Supporting Role win.

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