Cyberpunk 2077 Devs Used AI to Recreate a Dead Voice Actor

Cyberpunk 2077 Devs Used AI to Recreate a Dead Voice Actor

Anybody who played Cyberpunk 2077 would immediately recognise the name Victor Vektor, the affable and surprisingly kind ripper doc who plays a pivotal role in the game’s opening segments. He’s also featured in CD Projekt Red’s new Phantom Liberty expansion, but those playing the Polish version of the DLC will find they’re not listening to the original voice actor. Instead, it’s an AI recreation of the VO actor.

Victor’s voice actor for the Polish localization of Cyberpunk 2077 was Miłogost Reczek, a well-loved performer known for voicing other roles in the game maker’s past titles, including Vesemir and Thaler in the company’s The Witcher series. Reczek passed away at 60 in 2021, a year after the game’s release, but Bloomberg reported CD Projekt Red ordered a recreation of Reczek’s voice to reprise his role as Viktor. The company hired another voice actor to record Viktor’s lines, which were then dubbed over with an AI voice cloning program.

CD Projekt Red told Bloomberg it received permission from Reczek’s family to recreate his voice, but it remains unclear if the family was compensated in any way. Apparently, the developer first considered replacing Reczek for Viktor in the new DLC, but localization director Mikołaj Szwed said, “We didn’t like this approach,” adding Reczek’s voice was too “stellar” to replace.

“This way we could keep his performance in the game and pay tribute to his wonderful performance as Viktor Vektor,” Szwed told Bloomberg.

Gizmodo reached out to CD Projekt Red for additional comment, but we did not immediately hear back.

CD Projekt Red reportedly used the program Respeecher, which was developed by a Ukrainian tech company to take archival audio and recreate a person’s voice. A few big-time actors like James Earl Jones have sold off their voices for use in shows like Dinsey+’s Kenobi. Disney, in particular, has been all over AI in the past few years, using it to recreate actors like Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Peter Cushing to recreate their roles as Princess Leia Organa and Grand Moff Tarkin, respectively.

But that company has also caught massive flak from fans and from actors alike, especially as it’s keen on replacing actors entirely with AI simulacrum. In April, Disney+ viewers spotted that the company used plastic-looking, CGI people instead of background actors for the movie Prom Pact. The current actors’ strike has taken specific umbrage with Hollywood’s supposed plans to scan background actors and recreate them with AI.

Video game voice actors also shared their sweeping concerns concerning AI replacements. Last month, they joined their fellow actors on the picket line. These video game VO actors are demanding that companies offer specific consent and compensation for using their voices for AI recreations.

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