An entirely AI-generated 2D video game was pulled back

An AI-Generated Video Game Flopped Because People Realised Humans Cannot Be Replaced

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A video game services company experimented with creating a video game entirely generated by AI – but it was a failure because the company realised the technology was unable to replace human beings.

The company, Keywords Studios, revealed in its latest earnings report that it embarked on an R&D initiative where a team “attempted to create a 2D game solely using gen AI”. That was already a red flag for many passionate gamers, who dislike anything AI. 

AI vs. video games

The team spent six months on the project. According to the report, they “identified over 400 tools” and made use of the tools they felt had “potential” for an AI-generated game.

… but that’s about it. 

Keywords Studios admitted in its report that the team ultimately resorted to using bench resources from seven other game development studios, because “the tooling was unable to replace talent”. In other words, they realised that only using AI was not going to work, and that it’s hard to replace human developers! 

In February, OpenAI revealed that its powerful text-to-video tool Sora was able to faithfully simulate digital worlds such as Minecraft, stoking much excitement and fear among the tech and gaming community. 

However, as sophisticated as current AI technology is, Keywords Studios stressed that it doesn’t mean everyone is automatically a game developer: “[The] best results and quality needed can only be achieved by experts in their field utilising Gen AI as a new, powerful tool in their creative process.”

Gamers don’t like AI games

Keywords Studios said its AI-generated video game will not be released to the public, as it was just an “experiment”. 

In October 2023 first-person shooter game Payday 3 was found to have used AI-generated art in parts of the game’s background assets, drawing flak from fans. In September 2023 fans of Pokémon claimed that Pokémon GO had used AI art for some of the mobile game’s promotional material.

Palworld, a Pokémon dupe released early this year, has been mocked by the gaming community for its lacklustre quality. In fact, the game was so poorly received that fans began suggesting much of its design may have been AI-generated. Old social media posts by the CEO of Palworld’s studio, Pocket Pair Inc., also fuelled speculation that AI might have been employed to cut costs and save time.