Replica Studios and Charisma powering the future of storytelling

Replica Studios and Charisma powering the future of storytelling
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harisma is a technology platform that allows storytellers to create conversational experiences with a unique combination of controllable AI and creative storytelling tools. Replica Studios’ AI voices lets storytellers give characters in their Charisma projects voices and emotions, bringing them to life in web, app, gaming, VR and other interactive experiences. Charisma’s no-code story engine powers multi-character conversations for award-winning entertainment, marketing and training.

Turning linear experiences into interactive narratives

Charisma’s platform empowers storytellers to create immersive narrative experiences by developing scripted branching paths that allow characters to react to users in real-time via text or speech. Whether it’s an entertainment experience like a visual novel or game, or a training experience for corporations or disenfranchised youth, Charisma’s goal is for creators to develop engaging experiences for users. 

As users input text, Charisma uses AI to identify what the user said and match it with one of several pre-determined branching paths in a narrative. These nodes, make the player feel like they are experiencing a dynamically evolving story based on their inputs. However, as storytellers can’t possibly predict every input a user will have, Charisma found that experiences lost immersion if a player went too far off-script.

“Replica has been really pivotal to our journey. We wouldn’t have been able to create the depth and quality of experiences that we’ve created without it.”
- Annette Parry, COO and co-founder of Charisma Entertainment

Artificial intelligence plugs the hole

To fill the gaps and create a more fluid experience for the user, Charisma implemented generative AI into its platform. Generative AI allows characters to respond more believably to user inputs. When players have conversations that veer off-script, a response is generated that more closely reflects the user’s line of discussion and moves players back towards the story. 

However, storytellers can’t possibly predict everything that players may write and have voice lines readily available. In response, Charisma partnered with Replica to incorporate its AI voices into the platform to keep players immersed in stories that use generative AI elements.

The Kraken Wakes

To test and showcase what its platform is capable of, Charisma developed an interactive adaptation of John Wyndham’s iconic sci-fi story The Kraken Wakes. Players assume the role of a journalist attempting to piece together the truth about mysterious fireballs that crash down into the ocean’s depths. The Kraken Wakes uses ground-breaking conversational gameplay, allowing users to type or talk to the game’s characters in natural language to influence the characters’ actions and emotions, and shape the story as it unfolds. Characters react dynamically to the player’s lines of questioning throughout the experience, making each playthrough unique.

“We find that Replica voices work best in our platform because the voices sound more emotional.”
- Annette Parry, COO and co-founder of Charisma Entertainment

Replica’s voices power all of The Kraken Wakes 20+ voices. Annette Parry, COO and co-founder of Charisma said she felt Replica’s voice library excelled at creating the “conversational, characterful voices” required for effective storytelling. As characters in The Kraken Wakes change their mood and relationship towards the player based on the player’s interactions with them, Replica’s range of emotional styles help to ensure shifts cannot only be seen but heard too. 

Today, Replica’s Style Morphing feature further increases the emotional range of its voices, allowing storytellers to have AI voices perfectly deliver their desired performance. This authenticity will be further enhanced by Replica’s new Vox-1 voices which are rolling out in phases, providing better quality and clarity. 

“Replica was able to create a conversational lilt that allowed us to tie our nodes together”
- Annette Parry, COO and co-founder of Charisma Entertainment

An ethically sourced voice cast

While the emotional range of its character voices is what drew Charisma to work with Replica, Parry also believes that Charisma’s “values are very aligned” with Replica’s. These include a commitment to ethically sourcing voices via the licensing of voice actors’ data for training and close monitoring of how their voices are used. Replica’s voice monitoring tools helped Charisma to identify and correct a nefarious use of generative AI in a project that was against Replica and Charisma’s terms of use.

Parry, is excited to see what the next quarter looks like as more storytellers adopt generative and voice AI to enhance their stories. “I see a lot of opportunities,” she said.

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