Smite developer wanted to use AI to clone actors' voices after they die

The president of Hi-Rez Studios has defended his intention to use AI voice acting, only to then change his mind.

Professional voice actors aren’t too fond of the idea of AI generated voice acting, especially the kind that replicates their voices and is used to make them say things without their permission.

This isn’t limited to goofy YouTube videos or fan-made projects either. It seems to be becoming more commonplace within the games industry, with developers seeing it as a more cost effective way to get voice-acting for their video games.

Hi-Rez Studios – responsible for live service games Smite and Paladins – was recently accused of including a clause in its contracts that allows it to clone the voices of its actors for their continued use, even after said actors die.

This was initially brought up by voice actor Henry Schrader, who says Hi-Rez intends to ‘steal the voices’ of its actors. He also alleges that there is nothing in the contract that protects them from AI cloning and that actors can’t even read the contract without signing a non-disclosure agreement.

‘This means that VAs who sign that NDA can’t even warn people who might be new or might not know better against working for them,’ says Schrader. ‘The contract won’t have anything to do with AI protections, and they know that. This is about silencing people that they already know are against them.’

That said, the rider still states that the company will be free to ‘leverage artificial intelligence techniques to edit such recordings… or create new recordings…’. So, it’s not as if Hi-Rez has completely backpedalled.

Regardless, his statements have attracted a lot of anger from other voice actors, whether they’ve worked for Hi-Rez Studios or not.

Sir. I literally never want you to recreate my voice after I die, especially when it’s snuck into a contract with no active informing to allow consent. That is sick. And you are sick if you think that this is ok.

There are dead actors on your team who did not agree to this.

Some may be okay with it. Possibly – and reasonably, I might add) for an extra buyout fee, but to make it the default stance to even be hired in the first place is too much for most.


Hello, I had a great time providing the VO for The Mind Flayer in SMITE and Corrupted Atlas in Paladins, and I want to work more with Hi-Rez in the future. I love your games and the people have been a blast.

But I’m sorry, I need to express that I’m with my fellow actors on…

If by “legitimate use case” you mean “a use case we would otherwise have to pay humans to do, but this way we can do it for free,” yeah, sure, that’s legitimate.

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