Everything about The Finals seems great, except the AI voice acting

The Finals
(Image credit: Embark Studios)

We were huge fans of the hectic action of Embark Studios’ latest first-person shooter (FPS) The Finals. Now in open beta on PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, the game pits teams of three in a frantic scramble as they fight to secure piles of cash in a destructible game show arena.

With a big focus on explosive firefights and varied gadgets, The Finals feels like just the right blend of everything we love from the Battlefield series and Overwatch. We were less enamored, however, with the apparent use of AI generated text-to-speech voices in place of conventional voice acting.

Seemingly implemented for the game’s in-universe announcers and the majority of team voice lines, it lends a lot of the dialogue an awkward, stilted quality that feels oddly cheap next to the beautiful visuals and highly-polished gunplay.

While the use of text-to-speak dialogue is not too uncommon in video game development, where it is primarily used as a placeholder when lines are subject to frequent changes, voice actor Gianna Matragrano highlighted a worrying excerpt from the game’s official “Meet the Makers” podcast on Twitter.

In response to a question about the game’s voice acting, the developers appear to confirm that AI will be used in the finished product and describe it as an “extremely powerful” tool that helps cut down the time to implement new lines to “a matter of hours instead of months.”

While the prospect of being able to ship updates quicker may seem tantalising, both developers and FPS fans have taken to social media to express their disappointment at the revelation. “Shipping content with AI [voice overs] is bad, flat out,” argues Sam Winkler the Narrative Director at Gearbox Entertainment. 

There has been a similar reaction over on Reddit. “These just sound like two robots,” posted dismayed user R3VV1ND,”it’s actually a little annoying to me now.” “Taking away work from real voice actors,” adds Shibastion, “[it] shouldn’t be AI.”

Looking for some great multiplayer titles that definitely don't use AI voice acting? Our lists of the best FPS games and the best co-op games have you covered.

Dashiell Wood
Hardware Writer

Dash is a technology journalist who covers gaming hardware at TechRadar. Before joining the TechRadar team, he was writing gaming articles for some of the UK's biggest magazines including PLAY, Edge, PC Gamer, and SFX. Now, when he's not getting his greasy little mitts on the newest hardware or gaming gadget, he can be found listening to J-pop or feverishly devouring the latest Nintendo Switch otome.