Diablo, Overwatch, WoW… how Blizzard wants to use AI to boost their graphics

Generative AI is taking root everywhere, even in the world of video games. In an email sent internally, Blizzard explains that it has started training an artificial intelligence dedicated to the generation of visuals that can be used by developers on future titles.

Diablo’s dads are working on an AI dedicated to improving the graphics of its future games // Source: Blizzard

Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Diablo: the three superstar licenses of Blizzard Entertainment could well, in a few years, be visually enriched thanks to AI. In an email distributed internally and consulted by the New York Times, Allen Adham, one of the company’s executives, explains that Blizzard has started training an image-generating AI dubbed “Blizzard Diffusion”. Eventually, the latter will aim to help developers in the process of creating graphics for the American giant’s next games… while saving them time.

Blizzard hopes this technology will lighten design and development tasks and make creating video games more fun.“, explains in particular Allen Adham, whose remarks are relayed by our colleagues from Numerama. The interested party also adds that the subsidiary of Activision is ” at the dawn of a major evolutionabout his way of designing games and carrying out their development.

When Blizzard embraces generative AI

It must be said that the fallout from such an AI could be numerous for the studio. In the immediate future, Blizzard Diffusion is already starting to help the artistic branch of Blizzard “to generate concept art for the game environments as well as for the characters and their outfits“, we read, but thereafter, the use of AI should go further.

In his email, Allen Adham explains for example that AI could allow the creation of “Autonomous and intelligent NPCs“, but also the “procedurally aided level design“, THE “voice cloning“, and the “game coding“. We also learn that AI could help fight against toxic players thanks to properties “anti-toxicitystill unclear, but promising. The production of scenarios assisted by AI could even be considered, notes Numerama, in the manner of what Ubisoft is planning with its “Ghostwriter” tool.

Overwatch 2
Overwatch 2 // Source: Blizzard

AI… and its shortcomings

Still, for the moment, the use of generative AI is not a panacea. Blizzard Diffusion will thus require long months of training before being really effective. Long months during which the tool will need human assistance. A point that pushes some Blizzard executives to temper the momentum towards AI, for fear that their training will drain too much time and resources from the development teams.

Andrew Guerrero, vice-president of the group, underlines that “the goal is to remove a repetitive, manual process and allow artists to spend more time on creativity»… implying at the same time that the AI ​​will not be intended to replace a human being, but to assist him and spare him the most tedious tasks.

World of Warcraft // Source: Blizzard

As specifiedNumerama, Blizzard has also confronted the limits of AI. For example, the firm has already abandoned the idea of ​​a patented automatic learning technology to create environmental textures (stone, brick, etc.). Some employees have also highlighted the shortcomings of certain AIs when they are asked to detect bugs, or to interact with certain elements.in-game.

Limits to which are added risks, in terms of security this time. Like Apple, Amazon, and many other industry players at large, Blizzard has specifically instructed its employees not to “use company intellectual property with external image generators“, and this, for quite obvious reasons: to avoid leaks of sensitive data.

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