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Gaze upon the horror of Street Fighter characters turned into 'real humans' by AI

Where were you when you saw the AI gaining enough awareness to try to destroy humanity's resilience with creepy photos of Street Fighter characters made flesh?

One day, we’re going to look back on all the artificial intelligence systems we’ve created and despair. That day might be the one when our inevitable robot servants have a horrific uprising, or it might just be the day when you see an AI’s attempt to render Street Fighter’s Zangief as a real person based on a quick scan of his in-game appearance. If it is the latter, today’s the day, by the way.

Twitter user Siberian_644 has crafted a wonderful, often nightmarish twitter thread of Street Fighter 5 characters rendered as photo-realistic people thanks to a Google AI algorithm. These sorts of filters are fairly common these days, from things like FaceApp to other neural network trained AIs that can turn people into cartoons or the reverse.

With Street Fighter 5, there’s some surprisingly decent results, like this attempt to render a real-life Chun-Li:

But there’s also incredible outcomes like that previously-mentioned attempt to recreate Zangief:

The iconic live-action version is of course an allegedly coked-up Jean-Claude Van Damme -- but this algorithm delivers a version that doesn’t look anything like the Muscles from Brussels:

SF5 newcomer Rashid, however, actually comes out pretty well like a real person who actually looks like their in-game counterpart:

The way these renders work in a broad sense is that the features it has are lifted from a huge database of real-life photos which the AI has learned from. That’s why you sometimes might get a slightly uncanny feeling of vague familiarity from some of the characters; it might be picking up features of commonly-photographed celebrities, for instance.

Claw/Vega always boasts about his beauty - that’s why he wears a mask in battle, to protect his face. It’s fair to say that Google does his good looks more justice than SF5 itself:

Poor Ryu doesn’t fare so well:

Lucia, who is a relatively new transplant from the Final Fight games, has an algorithm photo that looks so eerily close to somebody I knew years ago that it’s seriously creeping me out.

One thing the algorithm doesn’t seem to cope very well with at all is accessories - eyepatches become glasses, and Ibuki’s ninja face covering being mistaken for, er, seemingly an extreme five-o’clock shadow.

That almost universally-hated Ken face that appears in SF5 has done quite well in this experiment, though. It even got rid of the banana hair!

And, finally, here’s Dictator/Bison in his most terrifying form to date:

Chilling. The true extent of Psycho Power is revealed. You can find even more incredible AI creations in the original twitter thread.

About the Author

Alex Donaldson avatar

Alex Donaldson

Assistant Editor

Alex started out his career in the games media as an over-eager kid working on fan sites, and now has decades of experience. He's the resident expert on esoteric matters like Pokemon Go, hardware, Japanese RPGs and fighting games, and outside of VG247 he's the co-founder of genre-dedicated outlet RPG Site. He also collects original arcade machines, Lego, and considers himself a whiskey buff.

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