Happy Halloween! Ubisoft Netherlands invites you to celebrate the spooky festivities with AI-generated Assassin’s Creed art. Terrifying indeed!
People first began to notice some of Ubisoft’s social media channels posting what appeared to be AI-generated versions of Assassin’s Creed art last night. A smoothed over, off-brand Ezio emerged on the French publisher’s X (formerly known as Twitter) account for Latin America. “In other amazing industry news here’s an official Ubisoft account with 300K followers posting AI art,” tweeted Forbes contributor Paul Tassi. The publisher’s post was mocked for making Ezio look like a Fortnite character and for one character in the background wielding gun grips like knives. The tweet was deleted soon after.
Not to be outdone, however, the Ubisoft Netherlands account followed up with its own AI-looking Ezio art complete with Jack-o’-lanterns. “Which Ubisoft game is perfect for this horrible evening?” the account asked in Dutch. Clearly the one the Assassin’s Creed maker was playing with fans’ hearts.
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Ubisoft recently revealed that over 1,000 people have left the company in the last year as part of its “cost reduction” program. Some of those departures were voluntary, but others included layoffs across customer support, marketing, and other departments in Europe, the U.S., and elsewhere. “Ubisoft literally conducting layoffs this year and last month, and they’re posting AI art,” tweeted film concept artist Reid Southen. “Unbelievable. What the hell is the game industry doing right now.”
Still, over 19,000 people continue to work at Ubisoft, including many devoted just to the Assassin’s Creed franchise and all of its sequels, spin-offs, and other incarnations currently in the pipeline. Surely one of them could have made some art for the social media accounts. Or the company could have just used one of its many existing Ezio images. Anything would have been preferable to posting ugly AI-generated crap as thousands are laid off across the video game industry this year.
Fans have had to become increasingly vigilant in 2023 about companies trying to pass off AI-generated images in their marketing, as DALL-E 2, Midjourney, and other AI text-to-image models make it easier than ever to cobble together fake art. Amazon did it to promote its upcoming Fallout TV show. It sure seemed like Niantic did it to promote upcoming content in Pokémon Go. Legendary Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki calling AI art tools “an insult to life itself” back in 2016 has never felt so prophetic.