Ubisoft has made an AI tool for writing chunks of game dialogue

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Ubisoft unveils Ghostwriter, an in-house AI tool designed to “save scriptwriters time”, complete with soothing explanation video.


As if the notion of computers writing our essays, painting pictures for us, or faking Nick Cave songs wasn’t spooky enough, Ubisoft had to go and call its new bit of AI software Ghostwriter.

Designed to “save scriptwriters time,” Ghostwriter is a tool created to write the ‘barks’, or repetitive clips of dialogue, spoken by non-player characters in games. If you’ve ever bumped into someone in an open-world game, and they’ve said something like, “Hey – watch it, buddy!”, that’s a bark. But then you probably knew that already.

Traditionally, these short snippets of dialogue would have been written by a flesh-and-blood human, but because it’s 2023 and everything’s about variations on ChatGPT and Bard all of a sudden, Ghostwriter can now do the job for them.

Not that the process is entirely automatic. An end user still needs to create a character in the Ghostwriter system, come up with a context or situation for said character to experience, and then watch as the AI will spit out a string of lines in response to those inputs. The end user can then pick which of those barks – whether it’s “Watch it, buddy!”, “Hey, over here!,” or, “One day I shall take over the world, puny human” – is most suitable for the game they’re making.

Admittedly, Ghostwriter does look like the kind of thing that would smooth out one of the more tedious jobs a video game writer uses. But it’s also a further sign of how quickly AI is beginning to change the way writing is approached. It was only a few months ago that CNET began using AI to generate certain news stories; in what was surely a coincidence, CNET embarked on a series of layoffs not long afterwards.

Nor is the film industry immune from the march of progress. On 21 March, around the time Ubisoft announced Ghostwriter, the Writers Guild of America proposed that writing a script using something like ChatGPT should be allowed, so long as it “does not affect writers’ credits or residuals.”

In an ideal world, AI would indeed be used like a tool, much like Ghostwriter; the broader worry is that it’s used by greedy companies to avoid having to pay deal with pesky people with job titles like artist, designer or writer.

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