A new PC mod for Grand Theft Auto V adds a new mission with over 30 NPCs whose responses and voices are generated by AI.
The mod is called Sentient Streets and was created by a modder that goes by Bloc. In it, players are a Los Santos Police Officer investigating a cult called the NihiAIists, who think they live in a game world and worship an AI god. During this investigation, players can speak to over 30 NPCs, but these conversations aren’t scripted, and Bloc didn’t hire professional voice actors to portray these characters. Instead, Sentient Streets uses AI to create both the NPCs’ responses and their voices. To make this mod, Bloc used the Character Engine from Inworld and ElevenLabs, two tech companies heavily invested in AI.
This mod serves as the grand kickoff of Inworld and ElevenLabs’ partnership, and they plan to make these Character Engine tools available to modders and game developers who want more reactive NPCs with AI-generated voices. Sentient Streets is an intriguing proof of concept, but its release also raises questions about how ethical the data sets from ElevenLabs that are being used to create these AI voices actually are. A press release from Inworld says that Character Engine voices can come from someone making “custom voices, cloning their own voices using a one-minute sample, or by synthesizing entirely new voices from scratch,” and we got more clarification on this from a spokesperson for Inworld.
Digital Trends was told that the voices in Sentient Streets are some of the default options from the AI voice technology provided by ElevenLabs. As for the data ElevenLabs used to create those voices, it cites public domain data, data acquired in agreements with commercial partners, and vaguely defined publicly available data. That last part leaves a few question marks, as it’s unclear what exactly constitutes as “publicly available.”
The mod has launched in the middle of a building firestorm in the games industry. Several actors have voiced potential concerns about AI replacing their jobs or replicating their voices without consent. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate actress Victoria Atkin told Axios that a mod that added her voice to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim without her knowledge was “very frightening” and made her “upset and confused.” With the rise of tools like Inworld’s Character Engine, situations similar to this could become more common without stricter guidelines about what machines can be trained on.
If you want to try Sentient Streets out for yourself and see how its AI voices are handled, it’s available to download on Nexus Mods.