New demo from Unity and Convai shows it’s too early to trust AI to bring game characters to life

Unity and Convai have unveiled a trailer for the AI ​​called Project Neural Nexus, and as expected, it looks and sounds terrible – like one of those disgusting robotic voice-over videos on YouTube.

Project Neural Nexus is a demo of a sci-fi game set in Neo City. Players wake up in a hotel after a chase with the police and “killer robots”. Soon after, the hotel appears to be under siege by assassins, and the player and a partner must fight their way out. The trailer shows off a rather boring cyberpunk setting, with typical props like billboards and neon signs everywhere. Even the character models look like they were pulled straight out of Cyberpunk 2077, only with a Korean beauty filter on top.

Convai calls the player’s AI companions “smart NPCs,” which is funny considering how stupid they act. The presented video is filled with some of the flattest lines – even ChatGPT can produce better results if you set certain style parameters.

The player character at one point asks to find out “what the gangs are up to.” And then he asks, “hey, what kind of tree is that there?” To which the robot monotonously replies: “This tree is a hologram of Yggdrasil from Scandinavian mythology.”

If the point of the demonstration was to prove that you can program a robot to say almost anything in the most boring way possible, then everyone involved can pat themselves on the back. If this is supposed to be some kind of technical demo reflecting the ability of AI to populate the world with interesting characters, then this is a complete failure. If such a future awaits us, then it is better to hide on some island or in the wilderness, just not to have to deal with these emotionless dolls.

Even with all its problems, it’s hard to accuse Cyberpunk 2077 of lacking personality or sense of style. The specificity of the setting, phrases, references to events, characteristic tones – all this is more than enough, especially in English-language voice acting. Even if there are some fillers, they still sound better than the Project Neural Nexus demo.

However, you should not think that such a video reflects what the developers see. The AI ​​industry is developing very rapidly and game developers are actively starting to use various tools. AI voice acting is also starting to appear, albeit not for the main story content yet. But the further technology develops, the better and more natural the result will be. True, in turn, this will lead to a decrease in demand for the services of actors. And not only.

How all this will affect society is still completely unclear.