The game franchise Dungeons & Dragons is responding to news that images of its characters in a soon-to-be-released project were created by artificial intelligence.
A longtime illustrator for the game has been using AI to create for a new book, Bigby Presents Glory of The Giants.
D&D Beyond, which is owned by Hasbro, says it was not aware of the AI-generated images until Aug. 5 in a statement shared on X. The book is due to be released on Aug. 15.
“We have worked with this artist since 2014 and he’s put years of work into books we all love,” wrote the company. “While we weren’t aware of the artist’s choice to use AI in the creation process for these commissioned pieces, we have discussed with him, and he will not use AI for wizard’s work moving forward. We are revisiting our process and updating our artist guidelines to make clear that artists must refrain from using AI art generation as part of their creation process for developing D&D art.”
The message was reshared by an account for Dungeons & Dragons.
“The use of AI tools to assist in creative work has raised copyright and labor concerns in a number of industries, helping to fuel the Hollywood strike, causing the music industry’s Recording Academy to revise its Grammy Awards protocols and leading some visual artists to sue AI companies for ingesting their work without their consent to build image-generators that anyone can use,” reports AP News.
The artist, Ilya Shkipin, deleted his public statement about the controversy but has said that he used AI to create “certain details or polish and editing,” per Gizmodo which included screenshots of the message.
“To shine a light on the process I’m attaching earlier versions of the illustrations before ai had been applied to enhance the details,” wrote Shkipin on Aug. 5. “As you can see a lot of painted elements were enhanced with ai rather than generated from the ground up.”
Shkipin operated an NFT marketplace on superrare and is known to use Pika Labs AI.
In a subsequent post, he wrote that “the future of today[‘s] illustrations is being discussed” and that the “illustrations are going to be reworked.”
Hasbro purchased D&D Beyond in May of 2022 for $146.3 million cash. D&D Beyond has been the role-playing game’s subscription-based digital toolset since 2017. Hasbro already owned Wizards of the Coast, the publisher of Dungeons & Dragons.
D&D Beyond lets fans of the game make their own characters and interact with other users. The subscription-based company also sells digital versions of the books. At the time of sale, The Verge noted the deal shifted “D&D Beyond from a royalty-based revenue source for Wizards of the Coast to in-house development, and with that, it brings along its nearly 10 million registered users — who range from a free tier to a $5.99-per-month subscription — as well as their precious data.”