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Creators and Fans Upset Over New AI-Generated Art in Beloved Music Game Cytus 2

By Weilin Li
May. 6, 2023 updated 12:55

On April 26th, the social media account of the renowned artist Ching Yeh, which had been inactive for one year, caught the attention of gamers and fans with a newly posted message. In the post on Weibo, he criticized the music game Cytus 2 for its use of AI-generated art. This game has been running for five years and is considered evidence of the exceptional talent of him and his former colleagues at Rayark Games.

 Ching Yeh's latest Weibo post Ching Yeh's latest Weibo post

As the former lead artist of Cytus 2, I still remember how we carefully designed every package of songs, music scenes, and characters with great efforts, such as constantly communicating between the programmers and artists.”

He continued, “This game was made up of many difficult choices and decisions. Recently, I saw the developer team used AI drawing in the game, which made me feel sad and somewhat pathetic. What was the point of all the effort and quality control measures we put in before?”

"It's just a bit sad to see the hard work from before being ruined." He concluded.

The latest poster of Cytus 2 features what appears to be AI-generated art.The latest poster of Cytus 2 features what appears to be AI-generated art.

The artist’s post was prompted in part by the release of a promotional game poster for Cytus 2's 5.0.3 update. Some players have utilized AI check websites to analyze the poster, finding a high probability that AI was used. Fans also identified flaws in the poster's details that suggest the use of AI.

Furthermore, the artist’s post indicated that a wider range of AI-generated art has probably been integrated into the game's content.

Cytus 2’s characters and UI designCytus 2’s characters and UI design

Released in January 2018, Cytus 2 received widespread praise for its high quality as a music rhythm game. Most people praised the stellar music library and the breakthroughs it brought to storytelling in music games. Besides this, another eye-catching feature is the game’s unique art style.

To develop this game, lead artist Ching Yeh and the team invested a significant amount of effort. The planning phase began in 2015, and it took two and a half years to produce the final product. Despite facing some obstacles and delays, the creators persevered and delivered a top-notch product.

However, the recent art direction has the potential to tarnish the considerable efforts of the previous artists. Additionally, the new strategy employed by the developer may undercut the charm of the game, as some players have claimed.

This controversy has added fuel to the ongoing debate surrounding the integration of AI-generated art into game content. Two primary concerns are maintaining high quality in the artwork and accurately attributing credit for these creations.

The opinions of creators and players have been divided into two groups. The first group despises this usage, as they oppose the use of AI for drawing purposes.

Among them, Cytus 2’s creator and acclaimed musician Kurokotei expressed deep disappointment and shame in the fact that the game she was involved in is now utilizing AI for drawing. She has publicly stated that she believes Rayark has changed from what it once was.

Musician Kurokotei expressed her concern about Cytus 2’s AI-generated artMusician Kurokotei expressed her concern about Cytus 2’s AI-generated art

On TapTap, numerous players have expressed their disappointment and sadness that Rayark has decided to use AI.On TapTap, numerous players have expressed their disappointment and sadness that Rayark has decided to use AI.

On TapTap, players expressed their disappointment with Rayark's decision. One of them even likened it to losing an old friend suddenly, leaving them feeling small and disheartened.

On the opposite side, there are players who see AI-generated art as a new and exciting form of creative expression. As technology continues to advance, it's likely that art and design will increasingly incorporate AI techniques. Currently, utilizing AI can help save time and reduce costs, which can be a major advantage in a highly competitive industry. As such, it may become a necessary tool for studios to stay afloat and thrive in the future.

Despite this, there is a growing consensus among players that game developers need to be more transparent about their use of AI. It is crucial for developers to clearly indicate which elements of the game are powered by this technology, allowing players to make informed judgments about the game's content.

So far, Rayark has yet to release an official statement addressing the issue, leaving players to wonder about whether they will adopt a cold treatment approach.

Source: Weibo