Zenless Zone Zero studio uses AI technology to "smoothen" development process

3 weeks ago 43

But draws the line at generating art and voicework.

Zenless Zone Zero artwork showing Billy holding up a menu whole Nekomiya and Anby help Nicole on the floor. Image credit: HoYoverse

Zenless Zone Zero producer Zhenyu Li revealed in a recent interview with Eurogamer (via an interpreter) that AI generated content is used in the game "program-wise" to "better smoothen the game progress."

No specific programming examples were provided, as Li is "not a tech person," but he did stress that AI "only consists of a small part of the programming [in Zenless Zone Zero], mostly to help the programming team to smoothen the production process, to actually make our work more efficient."

Something we do know is that the game's signature vibrant, urban art style that sets it apart from miHoYo's other titles, Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail, is not something made with AI generation. Li says the team wants to "create something from our own mind" when it comes to art related content, and in a later statement provided to Eurogamer to clarify some comments, it was added that this is "something the whole team believes in."

Zenless Zone Zero - State of Play Announcement Video.Watch on YouTube

In regards to voicework, while miHoYo has used an AI called Anti-Entropy in the past for their Lumi_N0va virtual avatar (and to replace a voice actor for one event in their romance mystery, Tears of Themis, when the they were unavailable), Zenless Zone Zero continues the developer's streak of employing stellar voice actors across multiple languages in their big releases, as we were given a pretty definitive "No" from Li after asking if AI technology was used to generate voices in the game.

Apart from the Anti-Entropy AI, we know that miHoYo also uses Nvidia’s Avatar Cloud Engine (ACE) generative tech, as was revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January of this year. ACE is an AI-powered tech that helps with generating facial animations and text-to-speech inputs to assist in the creation of characters.

Although not confirmed, this sounds very similar to the tech Star Rail's development team are using. They revealed to IGN last year they use AI to improve the facial appearance and behavioural patterns of characters in the game, while also mentioning their team "is paying much attention to AI, especially its impact on the gaming industry."

This ACE AI also makes sense as something that might "smoothen the game progress" of Zenless Zone Zero, but without a specific example provided by Li, we don't know for sure if this specific tech was used.

While 62% of studios reportedly already use AI, and AI is changing video game development forever, from Li's comments it sounds like Zenless Zone Zero is continuing miHoYo's trend of only lightly dipping its toes into the controversial tech, for now.

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