Fallout TV Show Image Looks Like AI ‘Art’ Or A Messy Photoshop

Amazon recently revealed that its Fallout TV show will begin streaming in 2024 by tweeting a 1950s-looking postcard from Los Angeles, California with Vault Boy giving the thumbs up. Upon closer inspection, fans have noticed a lot of weird anomalies that have some thinking it might actually be AI-generated.

At first I paid the image no mind. It was tweeted out on August 23 while a teaser for the show debuted for attendees at Gamescom 2023. Then I saw this tweet by a developer who goes by “Kenney” and makes free game assets. “Amazon ($514 billion dollar in revenue) is incapable of hiring an actual artist,” they wrote. The tweet’s replies were filled with observations of strange wrinkles in the art that make it seem an awful lot like AI may have had a hand in making it, or at least someone who’s very sloppy with Photoshop.

First, there’s the palm tree in front of the yellow building that’s clearly disjointed.

An image shows a wonky palm tree.

Image: Bethesda / Amazon / Kotaku

Then there’s the woman’s legs on the left. She has three of them and one disappears into some white flowers.

A woman has three legs.

Image: Bethesda / Amazon / Kotaku

The red taxi near the front is all backwards. The headlights and hood are in the rear, while the steering wheel is in the front.

A red car faces backwards.

Image: Bethesda / Amazon

The central boulevard with the pedestrians is also confusing. The sidewalk is as wide as the street, and then there are cars on the other side of it that are going in the same direction.

People walk in the middle of the street.

Image: Bethesda / Amazon / Kotaku

Plus, as you go further into the background, the cars get messier and messier, and appear to just be alternating patterns of blue and red like they were stacked on top of one another and then stretched into the horizon.

Cars repeat similar patterns.

Image: Bethesda / Amazon

It’s not hard to find other suspicious deficiencies, too.

“I’ve been staring at this picture for quite a while and still people find new weird stuff,” Kenney tweeted. “Also there’s still people saying it’s not AI…” Even if it’s not AI it’s still not great. To Kenney’s original point, it reeks of a company cheaping out instead of paying talented people to do what they’re good at.

“It’s a shame that Amazon took the cheapest route by generating the artwork without even taking the time to do any sort of quality control,” Kenney commented to Kotaku. “I’m sure a lot of artists would’ve absolutely loved the opportunity to do the art for this. There’s a long history of film and TV adaptations that didn’t pay enough respect to their source material, but I think generating art using AI is the most disrespectful thing that could be done. It’s the lowest of effort, it’s literally not doing any effort.”

Amazon and Bethesda did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read More: AI Creating ‘Art’ Is An Ethical And Copyright Nightmare

The Fallout TV show is being led by Westworld co-creator Jonathan Nolan, and wrapped up filming earlier this year. While the promotional art references Los Angeles and Vault 33, little else is known about the series, which was previously confirmed to be separate from the main storyline of the hit post-apocalyptic open-world RPG series. After watching the recent closed-doors teaser, IGN wrote, “While we only had a very small look at the show, it’s clear that the production values are high, with the visual effects looking impressive.”

Even more bizarre, then, that the first official art delivers the opposite impression. The timing also couldn’t be worse. Hollywood writers and actors are both on strike right now over streaming royalties and concerns about the use of AI in filmmaking, including by Amazon. The Writers Guild of America blasted the company along with the other streaming giants in a recent report, accusing them of anti-competitive mergers and vertical integrations. These historic strikes passed the 100-day mark earlier this month.

Sonic Team Says Pixel Art Won’t Be ‘Viable’ Style In The Future

Sonic Superstars, the new 2D Sonic platformer from Sega coming out later this year, looks a lot like a fresh take on the famous blue blur. It ditches pixel art for a cartoony new visual style that looks pretty good. But if you were hoping for a future Sonic game to return to its classic pixel-art roots, that might not be happening anytime soon, going by recent comments from Sonic Team.

Last year saw the release of Sonic Frontiers, the latest entry in the franchise to go full 3D with an open-world-like design. The game was cool, if a bit messy and lonely at times. But Sonic is a flexible franchise. (I mean, they pretended to kill him in a visual novel earlier this year!) So while Frontiers is out there giving fans the chance to play as Sonic in a big, open 3D world, another game out later this year—Sonic Superstars--is set to play a lot more like classic Sonic games.

Takashi Iizuka, the lead producer on Sonic Superstars and the head of Sonic Team, the developer behind the franchise, recently spoke to GamesRadar about the upcoming platformer and why the series hops between 2D and 3D. Iizuka explained that Sonic Team believes the Sonic franchise always needs a modern 3D game and a classic 2D entry, too.

Sega / Sonic Team

“Those are our fundamental pillars that we need to have,” said Iizuka. “We’re expanding into movies and TV, but we still need to have both the 3D and the 2D lineup for our gaming audience.”

According to Iizuka, Sonic Frontiers is all about the “open zone” concept and cementing that as what 3D Sonic games will likely be for the next decade or more, calling it the “evolution” of the 3D Sonic entries and adding that he and the team were “very proud” of the game. On the flip side, the upcoming Sonic Superstars is going to be what the team will build on for future 2D entries moving forward. And part of that evolution includes moving away from pixel art.

“We look at the pixel art—it’s great—but when we think about 10-20 years in the future, we don’t think it’s going to be a viable art style or presentation for our players,” said Iizuka. “And in order to advance and really step things up, we did want to make sure that we’re presenting something that 10-20 years down the road we’re still evolving and creating new content for.”

While some might recoil at the idea of pixel art being talked about this way, I can see Iizuka’s point.

I’ve talked to and played games with younger family members and friends and whenever they see me playing pixel art games, like Shovel Knight or Sonic Mania, they often dismiss them as “old looking” or “ugly.” And considering Sega and Sonic Team want the Sonic franchise to continue to expand, pixel art might not appeal to younger gamers in 2023. But don’t worry, you can still enjoy Sonic Mania while they play Sonic Superstars or Roblox or whatever.


Imagine A Pokémon Game Based On Ken Sugimori’s Original Art

Imagine a world in which someone took Ken Sugimori’s original Pokémon art and brought it to life with animation. And then, in this wonderful idyll, someone took inspiration from this fanart, and developed a 3D Pokémon game based on it. And just to be sure, this developer would have already built an engine for creating Pokémon-inspired games. Obviously we can’t live in this world, because Nintendo would miserably crush it, but just imagine.

If I were imagining such a thing, the idea possibly planted in my brain by GamesRadar, I’d begin with the extraordinary fanart of pokeyugami, who would create adorable animations showing how the earliest Pokémon games would look were they 3D and based on the art of original Pokémon TCG card designer, Ken Sugimori. In my head, it would look something like this:

Or maybe like this:

What I’d then do, purely speculatively of course, is pick studio Yanako RPGs to see these clips, which would be inspired by them to develop a full game based on the concept. I’d choose Yanako RPGs, because it would be the developer behind MonMae, an open source engine that allows anyone to make their own monster-collecting game, which is also developing a game within the engine, Dokimon. I mean, that name would obviously be far too on-the-nose and get a developer sued into the sun, but it’s just what my imagination came up with in the moment. I’d definitely remember to come up with something more than one letter off a multi-billion franchise before I released such a game for God’s sake.

In my mind, it gets declared with a tweet like this:

The game would be created using the same watercolor art, but also implement ideas from the more recent Pokémon games, as well as being inspired by Pokémon Black & White 2.

Sure, it’d be lovely if any of this could actually happen, but given Nintendo’s reputation for releasing its rabid legal hounds at anyone who even looks at them funny (thus illegally reflecting their copyrighted artworks in their eyeballs), it will have to remain my fantasy.


Ubisoft Using AI Assassin’s Creed Art Amid Cost Cutting

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.

Read More: AI Creating ‘Art’ Is An Ethical And Copyright Nightmare

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.


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