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D&D publisher updates policies after AI art discovered in latest book

Artist faces pushback after saying AI was used for ‘polish and editing’

A Frostmourn giant as depicted in the print edition of Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants book for D&D. In it, a female-presenting giant is covered in gore. There’s something off about that hand, however. Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Dungeons & Dragons maker Wizards of the Coast has acknowledged AI-generated artwork was published in its sourcebook Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants, which released digitally on Aug. 1 for those who pre-ordered it. The Hasbro-owned company said in a statement that it will update its policies going forward to keep AI-generated or assisted work out of its publications. Images remain online at D&D Beyond, and are expected to be included in the physical book when it is released on Aug. 15.

“While we weren’t aware of the artist’s choice to use AI in the creation process for these commissioned pieces,” Wizards said in a statement posted Saturday to X (formerly known as Twitter), “we have discussed with him, and he will not use AI for Wizards’ work moving forward.”

The controversy came to light on Friday when D&D author NevernotDM posted on X to call out what he considered “seriously concerning” evidence of AI’s use in Glory of the Giants, which will be published on Aug. 15.

Saturday, artist Ilya Shkipin wrote on X that he’d used AI for “certain details or polish and editing” and went on to post comparisons of finished work and initial sketches to show what he meant. After pushback from artists and others in the D&D community, Shkipin deleted the posts. io9 published screenshots of Shkipin’s comparisons on Saturday.

The final art for this character, a Frostmourn, and others on D&D Beyond has characteristics that indicate AI was used. In another one, the Frost Giant Ice Shaper’s left foot appears strangely proportioned and turned, suggesting, or at least calling into question, the art’s origins.

Shkipin’s art has been in almost 10 years of Dungeons & Dragons books, going back to the fifth edition’s debut in 2014. Wizards in Saturday’s statement said it is “revising our process and updating our artist guidelines to make clear that artists must refrain from using AI art generation as part of their art creation process for developing D&D art.”

This isn’t the first time AI art creation and the world of tabletop games have clashed, resulting in statements and policies. In March, Paizo, makers of Pathfinder and Starfinder promised all contracts with its artists would forbid any use of AI in their work. About two months before that, a group of three artists filed a class-action complaint against two companies that make AI art tools, and DeviantArt, which has its own AI art generator.

The fallout over the inclusion of AI art on social media was relatively muted, with many noting that the influx in this kind of art is relatively new to the industry. Nevertheless, it’s just another in a long line of public relations issues for Wizards this year, including D&D’s OGL fiasco from January and an acknowledgement that Pinkerten agents were sent to retrieve leaked Magic: The Gathering cards from a content creators’ home in April.