Amazon’s AI Art in the New TV Series ‘Fallout’ Sparks Controversy

Amazon's AI Art in the New TV Series 'Fallout' Sparks Controversy

Viewers have criticized the use of AI-created art in a teaser for the upcoming Amazon Prime TV series ‘Fallout,’ which is based on the popular video game franchise of the same name.

Amazon announced on X (formerly Twitter) that Fallout will premiere in 2024. The company shared a postcard-style image that some people believe to be AI-generated art.

Among other things, the promo shows a red taxi on the right, which has a back that looks like a front. The dystopian image also features the Vault Boy mascot from the Fallout video game standing in front of a ruined Los Angeles.

Amazon ‘too cheap to hire an artist’

According to industry media, the Fallout video game franchise is set in a post-apocalyptic U.S. after a nuclear war. Published by Bethesda Softworks, it has been praised for its immersive gameplay, rich lore, and memorable characters.

The upcoming Amazon Prime adaptation of the game will be set in Los Angeles, California. After the company posted the teaser, several people, including gamers and creatives, reacted with suspicion that the image had been hastily done using artificial intelligence.

“An obscenely wealthy half-trillion-dollar company couldn’t be arsed to pay an actual human artist to create promotional art for their Fallout announcement. They used AI to cheap out and thought they could get away with it,” tweeted fantasy artist Osias.

Teen Wolf TV series star Stephen Ford questioned Amazon’s decision to create the Fallout teaser using AI instead of hiring a human artist to do the work.

“The background is AI. They really couldn’t pay one f*cking artist to do this?” he quipped.

One fan shouted, “There’s a long history of film and TV adaptations that didn’t pay enough respect to their source material, but I think generating art using AI is the most disrespectful thing that could be done. It’s the lowest of effort, it’s literally not doing any effort.”

Gamers have often frowned at the use of AI-generated art in video games. Early this month, Dungeons & Dragons, a tabletop role-playing game, was forced to update its guidelines for artists after one of its illustrators admitted to using AI to help create their artwork.

Intentional artwork

Amazon has not disclosed how the Fallout promotional ad was designed. But creatives are pointing to a few aspects of the image that suggest the use of AI. It includes a woman with three legs, bizarre cars and buildings, and a clumsy background, as Stephen Ford said.

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It is possible that some of the “strange details” in the teaser “are intentional,” according to graphic designer Joseph Foley.

“The poster is designed to look like a billboard ad, and the misaligned building could be an attempt to mimic the look of when part of an advertisement gets pasted up out of line,” said Foley, writing for Creative Bloq.

“Artists also use nonsense text sometimes when the letters are unimportant and so small they’re not going to be read. As for the cars, the vehicles in Fallout were kind of odd, but they didn’t look like this,” he said, adding:

“These look more like normal 1950s cars messed up rather than the alt-world retro-futuristic cars of Fallout, which makes us wonder what the vehicles in the series will look like.”

As seen in the post above, Twitter user Zara insists the Amazon poster was generated using AI. If the Fallout poster is AI art, it would not be the first time that AI has been used for a TV series. Marvel’s Secret Invasion leveraged AI to create “intentional bad art” for the intro credits.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.