The developers of Cyberpunk 2077 used AI technology to reincarnate the voice of the late Miłogost Reczek for its latest game, Phantom Liberty.
Reczek, known for his role as the Polish voice of Viktor Vektor, sadly passed away in 2021.
Polish game developer CD Projekt considered using a different actor to re-record all of Reczek’s lines from the main game and the new DLC.
But as CD Projekt’s localization director Mikołaj Szwed stated, “We didn’t like this approach” because Reczek “was one of the best Polish voice talents” and his performance as Viktor Vektor “was stellar.”
To address this, the company employed voice-cloning software from Kyiv-based Respeecher. Respeecher’s technology has previously been to generate the voice of a young Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian Star Wars series.
With new lines recorded by voice actor Janusz Zadura, the software transformed the dialogue to mirror Reczek’s distinct voice.
Szwed remarked, “This way we could keep his performance in the game and pay tribute to his wonderful performance as Viktor Vektor.”
Importantly, Szwed confirmed that they moved forward with the project after obtaining the full support and permission of Miłek’s sons.
This isn’t the first time AI has been used for this purpose. Movie franchises, most notably Star Wars, have used similar technologies to replicate characters played by late actors such as Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher.
There are even agencies where celebrity data is analyzed for the purposes of ‘bringing them back to life’ in digital form, as is the plan with the late actor James Dean, who was posthumously cast in a film called “Back to Eden” – a remake of the 1955 film “East of Eden.”
While AI replication of someone’s voice or likeness after their death has sound and valid uses, it also poses ethical problems.
Who signs off permission for someone’s data to be used in such a way? Where are the boundaries for how this data can be used?
This latest application of AI in Cyberpunk 2077 highlights the increasingly complex interplay between technology, creativity, and ethics in the modern entertainment industry.