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Blizzard says new AI concept art tool represents "major evolution"

Blizzard has told staff that a new AI tool called Blizzard Diffusion will leave them "amazed."

Chris Kerr, News Editor

May 23, 2023

2 Min Read
Key artwork for World of Warcraft's Dragonflight expansion showing a hero character and a dragon

Blizzard has created a new generative AI tool called 'Blizzard Diffusion' that can produce concept art for new projects.

The studio's chief design officer, Allen Adham, told employees about Blizzard Diffusion in an email seen by The New York Times, and said it places the company "on the brink of a major evolution in how we build and manage our games."

The email said that Blizzard Diffusion can help create concept art for game environments, characters, and cosmetics. It also suggested that Blizzard is interested in exploring how AI might help it create "autonomous, intelligent, in-game NPCS" and be used to assist with procedural level design, game coding, voice cloning, and its anti-toxicity efforts.

How Blizzard Diffusion works

Like other AI art tools, Blizzard Diffusion reportedly creates images by pulling on existing assets–such as images of World of Warcraft characters or Diablo dungeons. The company is hoping the tool will work as a springboard for its development team, letting them circumvent some of the more menial processes associated with art production.

Earlier this month it was reported that Blizzard was looking to use AI to create art for its games, but it was unclear what sort of tool the company would look to implement. At the time, Blizzard president Mike Ybarra said detractors were "trying to associate recent AI advances (generative AI) to something completely unrelated."

"Our approach at Blizzard is to use machine learning and AI in ways that are additive, emphatic, and allow our talented teams to spend more time on the highest quality creative thinking and tasks."

A number of studios are already using or developing AI tools to help with multiple aspects of development. For instance, Ubisoft is building a new AI 'Ghostwriter' tool it hopes will help writers create complex NPC interactions with less manual work, while Squanch Games' comedic shooter High on Life leveraged AI voice acting and art

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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