Blizzard’s John Hight on using AI to support World of Warcraft’s artists, not replace them

'We're not using generative AI within WoW'


Franchise director John Hight might have spent some of his GDC time last month drawing a mystery line for World of Warcraft subscriber numbers, but he also took the opportunity to discuss the pressing concern of our time in the form of generative AI. And according to IGN, he was very strong in the way that he responded to the idea, stressing very firmly that he was opposed to using generative AI in any way to generate content for the game, no matter what:

“I think the artists on the team have a fear that the AI will be deployed to take them out of a job and they certainly don’t want their work to be used without their permission or without credit or whatever else, and so I think we’re all sorting that out. The rights issues, the how far do we use this technology, but we’re not using it. We’re not using generative AI within WoW.”

Hight did state that there are some AI tools being used by the staff, but it’s for things that had previously been rather slow and obnoxious work, like converting armor to work for all the races in the game. Indeed, he relayed that the artists were happy to have tools that helped the slowest parts go faster and left them to just touch up the final product. But if you were worried that Blizzard would just lean in on generative tech instead of supporting their creative staff? Nope, that’s not on the table.

Source: IGN
Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial gaming company owing to a long string of scandals going back to 2019, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, pay disparities, sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits, federal settlements, executive misconduct, botched Chinese partnership, unionbusting, disastrous management, brain drain, and bungled games. As of 2023, the company was finally acquired by Microsoft; just this year, it’s laid off 800 workers and misled gamers about WoW subs.
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