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In his New Year message, Square Enix’s president said the company will be “aggressive in applying AI” in future projects. That was already a clue that the company was experimenting with AI tools but wanted to do more. Now, Foamsters producer Kosuke Okatani has confirmed that AI was used in the game.

Square Enix’s Foamsters Contains AI-Generated Arts, But You Should Stop Comparing It With Splatoon

The use of AI is still a controversial topic in the creative industry. Some people don’t just want to hear anything about AI. Studios have been dragged on social media for using AI tools in any capacity. The anger is usually based on moral grounds—that AI will replace humans—and usually not because of performance.

Square Enix has previously used AI in Final Fantasy 7 remake to improve the facial animation and camera angles. In a recent press event, Okatani was asked if the developer used AI to create any element in Foamsters and his response was affirmative.

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Okatani said that although the majority of the game was handcrafted, they used Midjourney—a text-to-image generative AI—to create a few art elements for in-game icons, particularly for the in-game album covers for the soundtracks.

“All of the core elements in Foamsters—the core gameplay, and the things that make the game enjoyable—those are all made by hand,” Okatani said. “However, we did want to experiment with AI as well. In terms of the content in the game, this makes up about 0.01% or even less, but we have dabbled in it by creating these icons in the game.”

Square Enix’s Foamsters Contains AI-Generated Arts, But You Should Stop Comparing It With Splatoon

VGC wrote that Square Enix later reached out to them to provide clarity on the extent of their use of generative AI in Foamsters—probably in an attempt to avoid backlash from gamers.

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“AI was used in creating the in-game album covers for the music featured in the Foamsters’ soundtrack,” Square Enix clarified. “As developers, we’re always looking at new technologies to see how they can assist with game development. In this instance, we experimented with Midjourney using simple prompts to produce abstract images. We loved what was created and used them as the final album covers players will see in the game. Everything else was created entirely by our development team.”

Square Enix wants the comparison between Foamsters and Splatoon to end

Foamsters and Nintendo’s Splatoon have one thing in common—they both involve the painting of arenas. The clear difference is that while Splatoon covers the arena with paint, Foamsters does the same with foam. Square Enix recently announced that the 4v4 paint shooter will be coming to PlayStation Plus subscribers on February 6. Okatani was recently asked if he was bored of the comparison between the two paint shooters. His response was unambiguous.

“First of all, yes,” he laughed. “There have been many comparisons on the Internet, but also, we saw on social media that the people who actually played it saw that it’s a completely different game and I hope you also agree. I feel like the mechanic of having the things you shoot stay on the field is very unique.”

Square Enix’s Foamsters Contains AI-Generated Arts, But You Should Stop Comparing It With Splatoon

The difference between Foamsters and Splatoon becomes more evident when you experience the game. Unlike in Nintendo’s Splatoon where the sole purpose of the paint is to cover most of the arena, the 3D foam bubbles that players shoot in Foamsters can be used to build paths and reshape the arena to give the player an edge in the battle for dominance.

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Within a month after Foamsters launches on PS Plus, subscribers can download the game for free. At the elapse of that time, the price of the game will go up to $30. The survival of Foamsters is a source of concern for many considering how crowded and competitive live service games have become.

“Of course, with a PvP game like this, the biggest risk for us is that there aren’t enough people playing it,” Okatani said. “So, we negotiated with Sony to get the game included in PlayStation Plus.”

Square Enix’s executive director of publishing strategy Rich Briggs called the PS Plus arrangement “an easy win” for Foamsters. He hoped that it would help the game gain visibility in the crowded market and grow its player count which the game needs to survive.

Anthony Emecheta

Anthony Emecheta has over a decade experience as a freelance writer. Gaming has always been a childhood hobby and he is excited to be collaborating with a gaming company as a content creator. It is like having all the things he loves in one place.


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