The developers elaborated on their decision, stating that cloning Reczek’s voice was a tribute to the legendary voice actor, recognizing him as “one of the best Polish voice talents”.
CD Projekt RED, the developer of Cyberpunk 2077, has embarked on a groundbreaking creative endeavor by bringing a deceased actor’s voice back to life. The Polish video game developer has ventured into the realm of artificial intelligence (AI) to preserve the legacy of the late Polish voice actor Miłogost Reczek, who sadly passed away in 2021. Reczek portrayed the role of Ripperdoc Viktor Vektor in Cyberpunk 2077, leaving an indelible mark on the game with his performances in several scenes.
In an admirable move, CD Projekt RED released an extension of their previous video game titled “Phantom Liberty”, which serves as a continuation of the renowned “Cyberpunk 2077”. This new project, Phantom Liberty, incorporates the replicated voice of Reczek using advanced AI technology. The company took the respectful approach of seeking permission from Reczek’s family to employ AI for this purpose, with their son’s enthusiastic support. This decision reflects a commendable commitment to ethical considerations in posthumous digital recreation.
The developers elaborated on their decision, stating that cloning Reczek’s voice was a tribute to the legendary voice actor, recognizing him as “one of the best Polish voice talents”. When considering how to proceed with the project, CD Projekt RED contemplated the conventional route of hiring a new actor and re-recording the original lines. However, under the guidance of localization director Mikołaj Szwed, the developers pursued a different path. Stating that “they didn’t like the approach”. Instead, they engaged another actor to record the character’s lines and employed Respeecher, a Ukrainian voice-cloning AI, to transform the new actor’s voice into a convincing replication of Reczek’s distinctive tone.
Use Of AI in the Entertainment Industry and Its Effect on Actors
The use of AI in the entertainment industry is not a new thing; it has significantly impacted scriptwriting, aided in pre-production tasks, facilitated movie editing, and more. Despite these advancements, artists have expressed concerns and, in some instances, have protested the use of AI in the entertainment sector, and even recently Hollywood actors embarked on strike. Actors worry that AI applications might diminish their roles, subsequently affecting their earnings.
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the chief negotiator of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), highlighted these concerns. He emphasized that:
“AI represents an existential crisis for actors, who fear that their past, present, and future work could be used to create synthetic performers replacing them”.
Crabtree-Ireland clarified that the union does not advocate for an outright ban on AI usage. Instead, he emphasized the importance of companies seeking consent and approval from actors before employing synthetic performers as replacements.
While CD Projekt RED’s approach to recreating Reczek’s voice establishes a positive precedent, the entertainment industry must strike a delicate balance between AI innovation and ethical considerations. This balance is vital for preserving talent and ensuring that AI enhances, rather than diminishes, creativity in the realm of entertainment.
Temitope is a writer with more than four years of experience writing across various niches. He has a special interest in the fintech and blockchain spaces and enjoy writing articles in those areas. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in linguistics. When not writing, he trades forex and plays video games.