Bungie Discusses Generative AI Initiatives: BunGPT, Productivity, Content Creation, and Ethical Concerns

By Zuhaad Ali
Image: Bungie via The Game Post

Bungie’s now-former Chief Technology Officer, Luis Villegas, talked about how the Destiny developer is leveraging generative AI technology to enhance productivity, as well as the challenges and ethical concerns surrounding content creation with this technology.

Last year, Bungie was actively hiring candidates for its Machine Learning team to help “drive the development of software that allows our tools and systems to interact with GenAI models”.

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Fast forwarding to March 2024 at the Game Developers Conference, Bungie’s former CTO, Luis Villegas—who transitioned from Bungie to Sony PlayStation earlier this month—unveiled the studio’s initiatives in the realm of Generative AI.

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Image: Luis Villegas, Bungie via The Game Post

One of the key initiatives discussed was the implementation of BunGPT, Bungie’s own version of the popular virtual chatbot, ChatGPT. “We’ve been very bullish about how GenAI can help us but also very measure on how we look at it,” said Villegas.

“So, there are a few things that we have done: we have spent a lot of time understanding the space. We need to understand what’s happening. We need to understand at the leadership level, ‘Okay, how is this technology moving?’

“And one of the things that we’ve done [from] observing Roblox, Microsoft, and Unity, is that technology is moving too fast. It’s very difficult to commit in a specific direction because what’s true this week might not be true next week. The solution that looks good today, does not good in two weeks.”

“We’ve been doing this thing which is running a bunch of pilots. So we have usually three pilots at the same time, trying to understand how we can leverage the technology.”

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“[A] simple example, which I think a lot of studios are doing is, we implemented our own version of ChatGPT, we call it BunGPT. Part of that is helping also the studio understand what the technology can do for everybody,” Villegas continued.

“Because this is not just a technology transformation, it’s a cultural transformation. We need to make sure that everybody understands, ‘Okay, what is prompt engineering? How can I use this tool? How can I update the emails I’m sending?’

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Image: Bungie

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However, amidst the excitement surrounding these generative AI tools in the games industry, Bungie remains acutely aware of the ethical considerations in AI-driven content creation. The former CTO acknowledged the challenges posed by this frontier, stating, “We also have some explorations around content creation. I think content creation is where we think is the most potential, but also is the most spicy area right now.”

“Because it’s in the middle of like, not understanding regulation, there are ethical concerns, there are all these challenges, that we’re trying to navigate and understand to make sure that we do the right thing.

“But we have explorations about, ‘Okay, what does concept art look like in the future when you leverage all these tools? What does content creation look like when you’re sharing your own content and maybe using other people’s content as well?’”

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“I know we have some efforts with our friends at Sony where they’re trying to think about this space. There’s a Sony AI research arm that is thinking about, ‘Okay, we have all this data across Sony, How do we use it to generate better content?’”

Bungie PlayStation
Image: Bungie / Sony Interactive Entertainment

In addition to BunGPT, Bungie’s exploration into Generative AI extends to Copilot and search pilots. “We also have another pilot with Copilot, now everything is Copilot, which is helping folks understand how the productivity suites can change and how they can be more efficient,” said Villegas.

“We have a pilot for co-generation, helping the engineers see if this assistance can help them…Another one [is] around Search. Most studios have accumulated huge amounts of data around different products and it’s very difficult to search that data. There are products out there but they are not good enough, and I think Gen AI is helping bridge that gap.”

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Image: Bungie

Villegas explained how these GenAI tools are not only geared towards enhancing productivity but also to help “people reduce their fear and anxiety towards these tools.”

“Digital changes and transformations are super scary to all of us. We can go back and think about the Cloud transformation. it was terrifying. The smartphones. It was terrifying, and this is another wave that is going to bring a lot of change.

“That’s our main goal, it’s making your job easier,” he asserted. “Helping the studio be more familiar with the tools, understand what they can and cannot do…reducing their fear and anxiety towards these tools.”

Watch the full “The AI Revolution: An Expert-led Discussion on Generative AI’s Potential in Gaming” GDC panel discussion here.

In conclusion, Bungie’s exploration of Generative AI represents a significant step forward in the realm of development and studio productivity. However, the studio’s commitment to addressing ethical concerns underscores the importance of responsible innovation in an era defined by transformative technologies.

Destiny 2 The Final Shape is set to launch on June 4, 2024, on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.

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