Duke Nukem Trashed By Fans For Using AI Art

Blaze Entertainment was caught using AI artwork to promote a Duke Nukem collection.

By Jason Collins | Published

duke nukem

The use of AI has sparked controversies across different industries, and the gaming industry is no different. Following the fandom’s backlash over High on Life‘s use of AI-generated in-game art, gamers are now thrashing Duke Nukem games over the use of AI-generated promotional material for the new gaming collection.

Blaze Entertainment recently made plenty of headlines following their announcement of the Duke Nukem Remastered collection—which contains the remasters of the legendary Duke Nukem and Duke Nukem 2 games—for their own handheld, Evercade. However, the headlines were quickly followed by massive controversy, with the studio coming under fire for using AI-generated promotional imagery for the games. As Kotaku reports, the studio has since pulled the artwork, which admittedly displays all the hallmarks of AI-generated imagery.

Now, there’s no question that AI has revolutionized many industries by simply offering quicker and more creative solutions. Blaze Entertainment most certainly isn’t the first, nor the last, company to rely on AI-generated material to develop or promote the game. Furthermore, some Dungeon Masters are even using various AI tools to expand their gameplay, while others play tabletop RPGs against the AI, which offers a truly free choice when it comes to gameplay instead of an illusion of choice. So, why has Duke Nukem maker come under fire?

We won’t dive into the quality of the art the AI has generated—it’s absolutely horrible and anatomically incorrect. But what’s more incorrect is Blaze Entertainment’s reaction to the backlash; the company publicly defended the commissioned artists but soon after decided to remove the AI-generated Duke Nukem content from online archives. The company then issued another statement apologizing to the fandom and actual artists, acknowledging the public reaction, and stating that a replacement commission has been issued to better meet the high expectations of the fandom.

duke nukem restoration

The Duke Nukem makers’ subsequent statement was very well received by the fandom on social media, most of which expressed their appreciation for the company’s acknowledgment of its mistake. Some have even commended Blaze Entertainment for listening to the gamers and addressing the situation in such a prompt manner. Interestingly enough, while the backlash was aimed at the publisher of Duke Nukem 1+2 Remastered, almost nobody criticized the artist who relied on AI, though his name is publicly known.

As stated above, big companies relying on AI shouldn’t be a problem, but it diminishes the work of actual real-life artists. Some companies use AI for content generation and rely on paid artists to edit the generated content and make it more human. Industries that rely on written words are specifically against AI-generated content—for a good reason—and we’re actually thankful to those that are. Unfortunately, AI-generated content is becoming increasingly indistinguishable from human-generated content—which apparently wasn’t the case with the Duke Nukem promo.

Many believe that salvation lies in AI detectors, but those are faulty as the AI itself. If you think we’re wrong, please remember the latest and greatest in AI tech has labeled the US Constitution as written by AI. So, while the fandom backlashed against the use of AI-generated art in Duke Nukem, it’s only a matter of time before all industries accept it and the AI becomes the next steam loom weaver.