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Take-Two's DMCA takedown for Grand Theft Auto V puts the publisher in the thorny territory of mods that use AI to generate voice performances and dialogue.

Justin Carter

August 18, 2023

2 Min Read
Michael, Trevor, and Franklin in promo art for Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto V.

A week after Rockstar approved mods from Grand Theft Auto Online's roleplaying community, Take-Two has removed a mod for Grand Theft Auto V that featured AI-generated dialogue. 

Created by modder Bloc, the "Sentient Streets" mod featured over 30 AI characters that players could have open-ended conversations with. Players could use their microphones to ask these NPCs a question, and the NPC would then generate an answer and reply. 

According to Bloc, Take-Two recently issued a DMCA takedown on "Sentient Streets" that saw it removed from the popular Nexus Mods website. His YouTube video that explained the mod was similarly removed.

"Sentient Streets" was intended as a story mod for GTA V players, and was notably both free and entirely open source. Considering Rockstar's newly relaxed stance on roleplay and mods focused on that slice of the GTA community, removing a mod like this does conflict with the developer's most recent messaging.

"The reason for this takedown shown by Take-Two Interactive to YouTube was because I used their software (GTA V) in the video," he explained. "No one from Take-Two Interactive contacted and asked me anything prior to this, they just took down the video out of nowhere."

Questions about AI and its relationship to mods were raised earlier in the summer. Voice actors Victoria Atkin and Tim Friedlander spoke to Game Developer about modders using AI tools to synthesize actors' voices into games they weren't originally in. 

Because actors don't technically own the performances or characters they play, something they both noted, the onus technically falls on developers on whether AI in mods counts as fair use. Friedlander said he has "great respect" for modders, but there remains a murky territory for game mods that feature AI voice work.

"We all know the modding community respects other mod authors," he said. "There's respect within the community and we would ask that respect to be sent to voice actors as well."

Just yesterday, Hi-Rez Studios came under fire for its alleged plans to use AI to replicate actors' voices. Studio CEO Stewart Chisam clarified the developer's intentions with the technology and later removed a clause that would let it use AI that could potentially replicate the voices of dead actors.

Game Developer has reached out to Take-Two and will update this story when a response is given.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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