AI Art Banned from Magic: The Gathering After Controversial Ads

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AI Art Banned from Magic: The Gathering After Controversial Ads
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Wizards of the Coast has instituted a brand-wide prohibition on the use of artificial intelligence tools within its “Magic: The Gathering” franchise after advertisements by the company had gamers crying foul, hurling accusations that the company used AI to create images for the new Tomb Raider Secret Lair card game set instead of human artists.

The new policy comes a month after the game developer was previously deluged with accusations on social media when fans began pointing out aspects of  “Tomb Raider” images that they claimed showed the images were AI-generated, according to a report by gaming news website Wargamer.

“For 30 years, Magic: The Gathering has been built on the innovation, ingenuity, and hard work of talented people who sculpt a beautiful, creative game. That isn’t changing,” Wizards of the Coast said in a Tuesday statement. “Our internal guidelines remain the same with regard to artificial intelligence tools: we require artists, writers, and creatives contributing to the Magic TCG to refrain from using AI generative tools to create final Magic products.”

Wizards of the Coast also acknowledged an editor job posting from earlier this year, clarifying that the listing was for editing and touching up “human-created” art and was unrelated to generative AI.

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“We work with some of the most talented artists and creatives in the world, and we believe those people are what makes Magic great,” Wizards  of the Coast said.

The company has not yet responded to Decrypt’s request for comment.

“We both know we’re going to catch you making AI content again in like a week from now,” Twitter user and wargamer Norn-Queen Kya responded on Twitter. “But I appreciate you keeping up appearances.”

While Wizards of the Coast did not give an exact reason for its tweet and policy clarification, it’s not the first time AI has been a thorn in the side of the iconic tabletop game developer.

In August, the Dungeons and Dragons publisher confirmed that an artist, Ilya Shkipin, used generative AI to create images for an upcoming book, “Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants!”

“He will not use AI for Wizards work moving forward,” a tweet from the D&D Beyond account said at the time. The D&D Beyond tweet said the company is revising artist guidelines to make clear that “artists must refrain from using AI art generation as part of their art creation process.”

Wizards of the Coast’s parent company, Hasbro, has dabbled with generative AI, though the company said it would be used for future board games and not Dungeons and Dragons.

In July, Stable Diffusion creator Stability AI removed the visual style of popular Magic: the Gathering artist Greg Rutkowski from its training dataset after the artist and others complained their work was being used without permission.

Wizards of the Coast are not the only game developers gamers are calling out and accusing of using AI instead of human creators.

Last month, Riot Games refuted claims that it used generative AI to create a voice-over for its latest League of Legends expansion, Wild Rift, which gamers said sounded like AI. Riot Games responded by saying it was not AI but poor voice direction that caused the kerfuffle.

“Hey everyone, a few days ago we released a Sivir tutorial video to showcase to our players,” Riot Games said on Twitter. “In the video, we did not give proper direction to our voice actor, leading to the mispronunciation of Sivir’s name. This is on us, and we will make sure things like this don’t slip through the cracks in the future.”

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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