Red Bull Kumite is back this year, but that news seems to have been overshadowed by accusations the company used AI to make poor pictures of Justin Wong.
HERE COME THE NEW CHALLENGERS!
The first 4 warriors enter the Red Bull Kumite cage, in South Africa 🇿🇦
— Red Bull Gaming (@redbullgaming) May 15, 2023
In the announcement video, they reveal several top players competing in this year’s Red Bull Kumite, which includes Tokido, Menard, Jabhim and of course, Justin Wong.
Given Wong’s general ability to take a joke, the community has been singling out his portrait in particular, which doesn’t look anything like the FGC icon.
“Mfs used AI and it looks like CRAP LMFAOO“, says Twitter user KryZenGraphics.
Even Justin Wong himself tweeted about the Red Bull Kumite image, with nothing but a string of laughing-while-crying emojis.
Few more stopped laughing long enough to highlight the serious issue- that rather than support the FGC’s community of artists who would have been more than happy to do art for the project, they’d instead opted for the budget-friendly and ethically questionable route of AI art.
“Half of my favorite things I have ever done for the FGC / esports are portraits. Seeing something like this is just a slap in the face after working for multiple eport orgs and leagues such as the LEC.“, writes another artist Justin Wharton.
Some even speculated that human involvement in the video was an absolute minimum, saying that even the announcer might have been AI generated.
“I didn’t see anybody mentioning that the voiceover is probably AI generated too? That or it’s weird off cadence sounds clips cut together. I love Red Bull Gaming, they’ve done a ton of awesome stuff, but this particular ad just aint it”, writes FGC commentator Evan Hashimoto.
Some artists had even redrawn Wong with just as much stylization- and still actually looking like him:
— ffSade ☢️ (@ffSade) May 16, 2023
Red Bull themselves have not commented on the matter, or confirmed that they used AI art at all- for now, that’s just a rumor associated with the fact that the event’s promo looks finished, but not good.
Jokes aside this looks like yet another flag in the ongoing discourse about AI art– for a supposedly futuristic tool that we all just don’t get yet many have accused it of only being pushed for its ability to drastically cut costs, usually at the cost of overall quality.
In recent months the debates have raged far beyond internet forums, considering it’s also one of the provisions being fought over in the current ongoing writer’s strike.