Nervous times ahead for Square Enix employees as it aggressively pursues AI, claiming it will help “reshape” its creations

In a letter published by Square Enix’s President Takashi Kiryu, the head of the gaming publisher responsible for games such as the Final Fantasy series, has indicated a forthcoming shift towards AI as a major tool within the company’s normal workflow.

“I believe that generative AI has the potential not only to reshape what we create but also to fundamentally change the processes by which we create, including programming,” said Kiryu in the letter.

He continued, “We also intend to be aggressive in applying AI and other cutting-edge technologies to both our content development and our publishing functions. In the short term, our goal will be to enhance our development productivity and achieve greater sophistication in our marketing efforts. In the longer term, we hope to leverage those technologies to create new forms of content for consumers, as we believe that technological innovation represents business opportunities.”

This may not be reassuring for Square’s near 5,000 employees globally. After a 2023 that saw the industry decimated by layoffs, despite huge profits, the line, “We are currently working to modify our organizational structure and optimize our resource allocations to support these efforts.” might suggest that 2024 could be heading in the same direction for those working in the videogame industry.

As AI is moved into place to optimize traditional roles, readwrite published a story earlier on the eye-watering salaries of in-demand AI research roles, further indicating a continuing major shift towards generative technology in workflows.

It is unclear how much gamers (and ultimately customers) will appreciate a shift to generative AI in the games they purchase. The end of 2023 saw disdain for AI-generated ads appear in the (generally all-around disdain – disdain everywhere) terrible The Day Before, but also surprise FPS hit The Finals received flak for using AI voice acting.

Paul McNally

Paul has been around consoles and computers since his parents bought him a Mattel Intellivision. He spent over a decade as editor of popular print-based video games and computer magazines, including a market-leading PlayStation title. Has written gaming content for GamePro, Official Australian PlayStation Magazine, PlayStation Pro, Amiga Action, Mega Action, ST Action, GQ, Loaded, and the Daily Mirror. Former champion shoot ’em-up legend.

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