Cyberpunk 2077 confirms using AI to replace dead voice actor

Cyberpunk 2077 confirms using AI to replace dead voice actor
Images via CD Projekt Red

Written by 

Joseph Kime

Published 

13th Oct 2023 11:20

There was never any real doubt that Cyberpunk 2077 was a game that was going to embrace the future. It's where the game is set, and its adoption of cybernetic implants, high-tech weaponry, and a neon-drenched city landscape that truly earns its name.

Cyberpunk has no problems with delving into the imaginary to to tell a story that immerses the player in a landscape they don't recognise, and yet, feels familiar.

It looks as though CD Projekt Red might have taken this high-tech inspiration a little too far, the team behind the game has come forward to confess something pretty controversial.

Cyberpunk replaced a deceased actor with AI

The protagonist of Cyberpunk 2077 stood at a desk in Phantom Liberty.
Click to enlarge

CD Projekt Red has come forward to confess, per Bloomberg, that it has used AI to replace the work of an actor who passed away during the production of Cyberpunk 2077.

Miłogost Reczek was a Polish actor who was a part of Cyberpunk 2077 and sadly passed away in 2021. Rather than opt to replace him in the game via a recast, the team used a Ukrainian voice-cloning software called Respeecher to transform another actor's voice into that of Reczek.

According to Localization Director Mikołaj Szwed, CD Projekt Red contacted the family of Reczek, who were apparently "very supportive" of the move. 

CDPR 'didn't like' the idea of a recast

The protagonist of Cyberpunk 2077 looking over Night City.
Click to enlarge

Speaking on the subject of potentially replacing Reczek, Szwed said that the team "didn't like this approach," going on to call him "one of the best Polish voice talents."

It's understandable that the team was reluctant to recast, and though it's good to see that Reczek's family were all in, it's still something of a grey area to reintroduce the voice of a man who ultimately can't consent to his appearance in the game.

We've seen movies take a similar approach, with Carrie Fisher's own daughter (Billie Lourd) helping bring her back to life in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. That was regarded as tasteful, whereas The Flash was called out for its CGI recreations of deceased actors like Christopher Reeve and Adam West. 

The idea of bringing someone back from beyond the grave without their own consent is a difficult problem to navigate - but then again, fixing problems since the launch of Cyberpunk has become something of a forte of CDPR. It's a moral quandary, but as technology evolves, it's one we're likely to see more often. 

Joseph Kime
About the author
Joseph Kime
Joseph Kime is the Senior Trending News Journalist for GGRecon from Devon, UK. Before graduating from MarJon University with a degree in Journalism, he started writing music reviews for his own website before writing for the likes of FANDOM, Zavvi and The Digital Fix. He is host of the Big Screen Book Club podcast, and author of Building A Universe, a book that chronicles the history of superhero movies. His favourite games include DOOM (2016), Celeste and Pokemon Emerald.
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