Enlarge / Just because you still live in a retro-futuristic post-apocalyptic Commonwealth doesn’t mean you’re necessarily funny.
Bethesda / Prof Majowski
Modders can change a lot of things in their favorite games, but dialogue from professionally voiced characters wasn’t one of them—at least until recently. The AI voice generation could open up new modding opportunities for some games, as was already the case with a Fallout 4 mod pack.
Roleplayer’s Expanded Dialogue (RED) is listed in the NexusMods catalog as “Massive Expansion of Vanilla Dialogue” and adds over 300 completely new lines of dialogue to the game. These lines aim to solve a problem dear to the hearts of Fallout 1, 2 and New Vegas fans: role-playing games. If you’re playing as a ruthless jerk, a brilliant nuclear scientist, or a strong but dimwitted oaf, you’ll see more dialogue options to reflect that. Mechanically, the “roll-the-dice” voice “checks” based solely on your Charisma level in standard play can now be unlocked through related traits or abilities.
Enlarge / If you cannibalize a player, let them talk about it too.
Bethesda / ProjMajowski
They’re not just new labels for existing dialog, either. RED, created by NexusMods user ProfMajowski (and first seen by us at PCGamesN), says it used ElevenLabs speech AI to generate its more character-like lines. The results can sometimes “sound a little ’emotional’,” the creator writes, but “otherwise they sound basically like the original.” Nothing your character can say new now will change the mechanics or reactions of the game, but it should sound a bit more character.
It remains to be seen whether tweaking existing voice files with AI to create new sound-like lines will stand up to legal and copyright scrutiny, or whether the new material can claim its own copyright.
Modders looking to recreate Fallout 3 within Fallout 4’s engine were forced to shut down in 2018 after Bethesda informed them that the language files the mod would have transferred and transformed weren’t even fully owned by Bethesda itself, making the unpaid Legally opened liabilities team. From that point on, modders tended to seek out their own voice talents, which usually worked for free, including Fallout: London, Fallout: New Vegas: The Frontier, and others. For now you’ll definitely get better and more vibrant voice acting results, but the AI results could soon be good enough for modders looking to move faster on big projects – if they can do it legally, of course.
I didn’t get a chance to pedal too hard on the RED mod, both due to the dependency traps of trying to set up a new mod in the Vortex manager, and the fact that you have to play a lot of Fallout 4 in a new one , mod-able game before you meet characters who have really interesting things to say. Still, the opportunity to hear a strong, agile, but incredibly stupid wastelander make his way through burned-out Boston makes a repeat very appealing.