This Skyrim Mod Uses ChatGPT To Create Realistic Conversations With NPCs

"Skyrim" has undergone dozens of transformations since it was first released for consoles and PC in 2011. Since then, it has been heavily ported and modded, and to this day, dedicated mod-smiths are adding new armor, weapons, quests, and characters to Bethesda's open-world RPG. The base game is fairly expansive and utilizes a recurrent quest system and dialog tree to ensure that gameplay stays fresh for a while. But after a decade of gameplay, even the best quest scripting and voiceover work can sound a little stale. 

That's where a new mod comes in; it uses AI technology and text-to-speech to breathe some new life into "Skyrim's" NPCs (non-player characters). Any changes to the dialog system are welcome after hearing two guards from the in-game town of Riften repeat the same lines about dragons for nearly 12 years. As with most Bethesda games (which include the "Fallout" titles), NPC responses are scripted as every line is accompanied by a voice performance. The new mod made by a user going by the name Art From The Machine allows players to ask NPC questions and receive answers that aren't from a set list. 

The Elder Scrolls gets new life

The as-of-yet unfinished mod uses ChatGPT to come up with the responses to the player character's prompts, but also xVASynth to synthesize the voice. In theory, this will allow players to have somewhat natural-sounding conversations with NPCs aside from having to pick from the same few dialog choices. With the mod, NPCs also have the ability to speak comments on the player character's actions that go beyond the standard "stop that" or "you are under arrest." AI contributions to art and culture have been controversial, to say the least, but more "Skyrim" content likely isn't a bad thing. 

Games like "Skyrim" have been friendly to modders since the game was released and evolving technology like AI can make not only make past titles endlessly replayable, but it can be used in future games to allow for more expansive quests and NPC interactions. As of now, videos of the mod in action show somewhat robotic responses from NPCs that at times sound more like a voiceover from a TikTok video than the voice-acting it's seeking to replace. The mod hasn't been made available for players to download yet, with its developer stating on Reddit that there's no firm release date at this time.