Cyberpunk 2077 Used AI to Bring Performer Back to Life

CD Projekt S.A. used artificial intelligence to replicate the voice of the deceased Polish actor, Miłogost Reczek, in Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty.

Cyberpunk 2077 Used AI to Bring Performer Back to Life

SUMMARY

  • Phantom Liberty features the AI-generated voice of a late actor.
  • CD Projekt Red claims it had the deceased actor’s family’s permission.
  • AI is one of the main reasons actors in Hollywood are striking, along with streaming rights. This sentiment is potentially echoed as gaming developers may soon be joining the strike.
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The Polish video game developer CD Projekt S.A. used artificial intelligence in Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty to recreate the voice of a deceased actor. Miłogost Reczek, who portrayed Viktor Vektor in the main game, passed away in 2021. With the use of AI, his voice will live on in the expansion.

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The unregulated use of AI has become a thorn in the flesh of the entertainment industry and a substantial cause of concern for actors. Protections surrounding the use of AI in games are one of the biggest hurdles in current negotiations between actors and video game companies.

If no agreement is reached, the use of AI just as in Cyberpunk 2077 may be the very reason that could galvanize video game actors to join the picket line.

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AI Resurrects Miłogost Reczek in Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty

The late actor Miłogost Reczek voiced the character Viktor Vektor in <em>Cyberpunk 2077</em>. Image credit: CD Projekt S.A.
The late actor Miłogost Reczek voiced the character Viktor Vektor in Cyberpunk 2077. Image credit: CD Projekt S.A.

CD Projekt S.A. confirmed that it used generative AI to bring back a character in its latest release, Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty. The Polish actor Miłogost Reczek played Doctor Viktor Vektor in the Polish version of the original title. Even though the actor passed away in 2021, his voice will be reprising his role via AI in the new expansion.

The company confirmed in a statement to Bloomberg that it had considered recasting his role for Phantom Liberty and re-recording his original dialogue lines. However, it ultimately decided to keep his voice alive.

CD Projekt localization director Mikołaj Szwed stated that the Polish actor was “one of the best Polish voice talents” and described his performance in Cyberpunk 2077 as “stellar.” The company wanted to keep him in the expansion despite his passing and reached out to the performer’s family to ask for permission, who were reportedly “very supportive.”

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To bring the voice of the deceased actor back to life and “pay tribute to his wonderful performance,” CD Projekt S.A. recorded his character’s lines with another voice actor. Using a Ukrainian AI tool called Respeecher, the developer subsequently altered the new actor’s voice to sound like Reczek and revived him in the game.

A Reason to Join the Picket Line

<em>Cyberpunk 2077</em> showcases the rise of AI in the gaming industry, which is one of the reasons SAG-AFTRA members have voted in favor of a video game strike authorization.
Cyberpunk 2077 showcases the rise of AI in the gaming industry, which is one of the reasons SAG-AFTRA members have voted in favor of a video game strike authorization.

The use of generative AI has been gaining traction in the gaming industry. More video game companies are taking advantage of the technology in various areas, from script writing to voice acting and art. For game performers, this is reason for concern, as they worry about AI eventually making their jobs obsolete.

After all, CD Projekt’s Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty is not the only title featuring AI-generated content. Squanch Games confirmed it used AI-generated art and voice acting in its 2022 High on Life. Meanwhile, Ubisoft is promoting its new AI tool “Ghostwriter,” and Bungie is hiring “AI Designers” for Destiny.

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Moreover, resurrection via AI has also been seen in movies and TV shows. One of the most famous examples is the AI-generated recreation of Carrie Fisher in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker after the actress’s passing.

As AI becomes more prevalent in the entertainment industry, actors are demanding protection against companies replicating their performances. The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) is currently negotiating a new Interactive Media Agreement with ten big gaming companies to address these points.

No deal has been struck yet, as protections regarding AI remain a sticking point. In September, SAG-AFTRA members overwhelmingly voted in favor of a gaming strike, should these negotiations not yield a favorable outcome soon.

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The use of AI, among other concerns, has already caused a standstill in Hollywood during this summer’s Writers Guild of America strike and the ongoing SAG-AFTRA actors’ strike. Video game actors may join the picket line if no agreement can be reached.

What are your thoughts on AI being used to resurrect a deceased actor in Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty? What do you think about its use in the gaming industry at large? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on our social feeds.

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Written by Lisa Kamlot

Articles Published: 67

Lisa is a passionate video game content writer with an insatiable appetite for all things gaming and an avid movie enthusiast. When she’s not diving into virtual worlds, she’s riding waves as a dedicated surfer. She’s always on a quest for adventure – both in the digital realm and IRL.