Nightdive Studios recently faced backlash from some players for posting an AI-generated image related to the upcoming System Shock remake. The team has now explained its intentions and attitude towards AI art in general.
Last week, Nightdive Studios posted an artwork generated by Midjourney (via PC Gamer). “How can you challenge a perfect machine? Imagine, how would my immortal body look like?” reads the tweet with an attached picture of Shodan, an evil AI and the main antagonist of the original System Shock.
Look at you, hacker: a pathetic creature of meat and bone. Your body, weak, fragile.
How can you challenge a perfect machine?
Imagine, how would my immortal body look like?
Designed by an immortal machine for an immortal machine.#SHODAN #SystemShock #midjourney #rogueAI pic.twitter.com/i4Gwi2bpdQ
— System Shock (@SystemShockGame) April 28, 2023
Some users didn’t like the post and criticized Nightdive for using AI technologies in their work. “That’s not how you advertise a game crafted by people with passion for a franchise,” one user wrote, with others expressing their intend to cancel pre-orders or saying they won’t buy the System Shock remake.
The studio recently posted a follow-up thread, explaining the intent behind the original tweet. Nightdive noted that it just wanted to show how an AI would imagine what another AI would like like in a physical form. “Doesn’t get more meta than that… which was the entire point of starting the conversation,” the message reads.
SHODAN – the AI from the game – was one of the first examples of “AI running amok” in video games (albeit a concept pioneered by HAL-9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey movie) pic.twitter.com/ymtzzp1l55
— System Shock (@SystemShockGame) May 2, 2023
The System Shock developers said they never wanted to use AI to create artwork instead of using real people: “We will use AI again to create other pieces (including artwork). We may well use AI in other areas too. But this will never be at the expense of using skilled people or their creative talents.”
Some artists and users have been criticizing the use of AI art and how models like Midjourney are trained on other people’s work since last year’s ArtStation controversy. However, Tim Sweeney noted that he doesn’t want Epic Games “to be a company that stifles innovation. Been on the wrong side of that too many times.”
Many developers have already started integrating different AI tools into their pipelines. Mobile studio Lost Lore managed to save $70,000 in expanses by using AI to make art for its games. One developer also recently opened up about utilizing Stable Diffusion and ChatGPT to create assets and dialogues for their upcoming RPG Tales of Syn.
Founded in 2012, Nightdive Studio initially raised over $1.3 million on Kickstarter for a remake of System Shock, a classic immersive sym game created by Looking Glass. The studio was recently acquired by Atari for $10 million, and the remake itself is expected to come out on May 30.