The Finals slammed for using “terrible” AI announcers
Much-hyped first-person shooter game The Finals is being slammed online for its use of “terrible” AI announcers in-game.
The Finals, a team-based first-person shooter developed by Embark Studios, recently launched into open beta on Steam, Xbox, and PlayStation. The game has already climbed the ranks on Steam, reaching a peak concurrent player count of 229,992 on October 29. And that’s not counting the many thousands more that are likely to be participating in the open beta on consoles.
The game places players in a virtual combat game show, complete with crowds and commentary. The environments are fully destructible, allowing players to change and even destroy their surroundings to gain the upper hand.
However, not everything seems to be going smoothly for The Finals, as the game is now coming under fire for its use of “terrible” AI announcers in-game.
Voice actor Gianni Matragrano called out the use of AI voices in The Finals in what is now a viral Twitter thread. He criticized Embark Studios for their decision to use AI voices, a topic they discussed on the podcast Meet the Makers.
When asked about who did the voiceovers, a developer from Embark responded, “Here’s the kicker. ‘What’ did the voiceovers?”
They went on to explain, “We used AI with a few exceptions. So, all the contestant voices and voiceover commentators are AI text-to-speech. For things we call vocalizations like player breathing, jumping, there’s something we used in the studio to record… like just grunting. We can’t really get AI to perform those kind of tasks yet.”
Although not questioned on their decision in the podcast, Embark went on to justify their decision by highlighting the power and efficiency of AI text-to-speech, stating, “It gets us far enough in terms of quality and allows us to be extremely reactive to new ideas and keeping things really, really fresh.”
However, Matragrano countered this argument, writing, “We are constantly banging out rush order sessions for like, within a day or two. You can literally get pro-grade VO for less than a grand total, bang out a couple recording sessions and bam you have all the audio you need.”
The use of AI in The Finals has raised concerns beyond the quality of the voiceovers. Commenters have pointed out the potential job loss for voice actors, writing, “AI for voice acting is extremely harmful for the acting industry within games. Especially if it becomes normalized and developers decide to use AI voices instead of hiring actual actors. Just hire actual actors. They can already do things very fast and produce way better results.”
Another user expressed their frustration, saying, “This is bulls**t. I know a lot of people circlejerk over AI and this is the saving grace but, we’re literally seeing what people were scared of happening at light speed. To cut corners, rush shit out, and not have to pay actual human beings, they’d rather use AI so they can just slap it together and keep making money.”
However, it seems that not everyone is against the use of AI in The Finals. Some players appreciate the dynamic nature of the announcers, stating, “In The Finals the announcers are dynamic, it would be really hard to create the same experience if you would have to record every random team name or the stuff they do.”
Another user mentioned, “This isn’t a story-driven game, where stuff like voice acting is paramount. This is a game where voice acting is a fluff, something akin to a background noise. It’s not important.”
Despite the backlash, Embark Studios seems committed to its AI approach, emphasizing the exponential improvements in quality. “It’s incredible. What a time to be alive.”