Unpacking and Stray Gods publisher Humble Games is wary of the potential legal issues posed by developers who choose to leverage generative AI tools like ChatGPT during production.
Speaking to Game Developer at Gamescom 2023, Humble EVP and general manager Alan Patmore said the publisher is proactively setting up processes and procedures so it doesn't get into a situation where it encounters copyright issues and other legal challenges because of AI usage.
Patmore explained the company hasn't received pitches where the use of AI has been an issue, but feels it's prudent to be proactive rather than reactive.
"It will probably be part of the contractual process where [developers] have to state they are not using AI to pull data [and create assets]," said Patmore.
"I think part of it is looking at how we evaluate the toolsets developers are using so that we don't get into a situation where a tool has pulled data and, all of a sudden, there's a bunch of assets that a developer doesn't have the rights to use in their game. From a development perspective it's about putting processes in place to prove ownership."
AI and ownership
Speaking more broadly about the use of AI in game development, Patmore drew a distinction between generative systems such as ChatGPT—which were trained using data yanked from the internet leading to concerns over who owns the outputs they produce—and AI-powered tools baked into engines like Unreal Engine 5.
"I look at AI as we're in the wild west days and figuring out what it can unlock. I think there's a lot of power from a content creation standpoint, but we're going to have to sort through the modality issues," he added. For Patmore, AI tools that enable "unique content creation" aren't a problem, but others that raise questions about ownership should be viewed with skepticism.
During Gamescom, Patmore also outlined how Humble Games intends to expand into first-party development, and indicated that studio acquisitions might be on the cards. For more on that, be sure to read our wide-ranging interview with the Humble boss.