Square Enix Admits Using AI Generated Art For FoamStars

Square Enix admits to using AI art for FoamStars, and we've got the details here!
Foamstars Characters Sliding Through Foam
Image: Square Enix

In a move sparking curiosity and debate, Square Enix has confirmed using artificial intelligence (AI) generated art in their upcoming PlayStation shooter, FoamStars. This marks the first time the Final Fantasy publisher has openly acknowledged incorporating AI-created assets into one of its major titles.

The revelation came during a recent press event thanks to VGC. Foamstars producer Kosuke Okatani admitted to employing Midjourney, a popular generative AI tool, to create a small number of in-game icons. These specific assets function as album covers for the game’s soundtrack, representing roughly 0.01% of the total content. While that may seem like a small amount, many would argue that any AI is bad.

Okatani clarified that “all of the core elements in Foamstars,” including gameplay and core mechanics, remain hand-crafted. However, he expressed the development team’s desire to experiment with AI, viewing it as a potential tool to assist and augment traditional methods. This adheres to a letter sent out during New Year’s, where the CEO promised the company would experiment with AI in their games.

“AI was used in the creation of the in-game album covers for the music featured in the FOAMSTARS’ soundtrack. As developers, we’re always looking at new technologies to see how they can assist with game development. In this instance, we experimented with Midjourney using simple prompts to produce abstract images. We loved what was created and used them as the final album covers players will see in the game. Everything else was created entirely by our development team.”

Statement given to VGC

The move comes amidst rising concerns surrounding the ethical implications of AI in creative industries. Some artists argue that tools like Midjourney threaten their livelihoods by potentially replacing human creators and utilizing their work without consent for training purposes. Ongoing lawsuits against Midjourney and other AI developers underscore these anxieties. Regulatory bodies, including the European Union, are also taking steps to address data privacy and copyright issues related to AI training sets.

Whether Square Enix’s foray into AI-generated art marks a significant shift or a singular experiment remains to be seen. However, it undoubtedly contributes to the ongoing conversation about AI’s ethical and artistic implications in creative fields. While Square Enix’s experiment in FoamStars appears limited, it signifies a growing interest in leveraging AI’s potential within the video game industry.

We know that AI integration is coming, but how far it goes and how it will affect livelihoods remains to be seen.

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar, also known as Aggy, is the current Assigning Editor.

He started his career as an esports, influencer, and streaming writer for Sportskeeda. He then moved to GFinity Esports to cover streaming, games, guides, and news before moving to the Social team where he ended his time as the Lead of Social Content.

He also worked a writer and editor for both Pro Game Guides and Dot Esports, and as a writer for PC Invasion, Attack of the Fanboy, and Android Police. Aggy is the former Managing Editor and Operations Overseer of N4G Unlocked and a former Gaming editor for WePC.

Throughout his time in the industry, he's trained over 100 writers, written thousands of articles on multiple sites, written more reviews than he cares to count, and edited tens of thousands of articles. He has also written some games published by Tales, some books, and a comic sold to Telus International.

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