Ian Bell’s spiritual successor to GTR2 – GTR Revival – appears to be picking up developmental pace judging from the former head of Slightly Mad Studios‘ Twitter feed.
As well as revealing the game will use Unreal Engine 5 by showcasing impressive images from an in-engine Audi tech demo, Bell also highlighted that he has brought some of the original team from GTR2 to work on the new game, prompting considerable fanfare from the sim racing community.
Forming a new development studio, Straight4 Studios(whose new website was also launched this week), Bell had stated that GTR Revival would feature something “that’s really a complete game changing USP”. And today (9th February 2023), Bell announced this to be an in-game “AI Synthesized Commentary Team”.
Introduced by Straight4 Studios’ Game Design Director Austin Ogonoski in an unlisted YouTube video, the AI commentary is “a method for spontaneously writing and reading aloud unique, contextually accurate, non-repetitious, simulated sports commentary.”
The video features vocal approximations of NASCAR commentators Mike Joy and Clint Bowyer, seemingly rendered by an AI voice synthesiser. Their dialogue is reportedly produced by an AI text creator (perhaps similar to Open AI’s ChatGPT chatbot), framed over a DPi race at Long Beach in Reiza Studios’ Automobilista 2.
The dialogue is informative and responds to the on-track action impressively considering its origins. The AI commentary team also apparently reacts to lulls in the action with filler chatter, something human commentators are often obliged to do in the event of red flag stoppages.
It’s an exciting concept, as anyone who heard Murray Walker’s characterful voice in PlayStation-era Formula 1 games can testify. However, commentary in sim racing has traditionally been the preserve of live esports broadcasts, rarely featuring in full-fledged games.
Is AI-generated commentary perhaps more suited to football, golf or tennis games, for example? Or could this be a turning point for the racing videogame genre?
A hands-on playtest is the way to determine this for sure, but meantime there are encouraging signs pointing to its feasibility. Bell has applied for a patent on the system too, intriguingly stating: “We have more to come which will raise the bar in other areas”. Colour us intrigued.
Are you excited by the prospect of AI commentary in GTR Revival? Or is it the answer to a question no one asked? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Source: Ian Bell