Wizards of the Coast confirms AI was used in new marketing campaign

Wizards of the Coast has released a new statement about the use of AI, following a fresh controversy.
magic the gathering ai artwork

Two weeks on from affirming its anti-AI art stance, Wizards of the Coast is once again in hot water after images from a marketing campaign were identified as being AI-generated. To kick off January 2024, the official Magic: The Gathering Twitter / X account released artwork featuring several cards in a steampunk-style room – but fans of the franchise were quick to point out errors that suggested the art had been AI-generated, and then lightly touched up.

They pointed to the strange filament bulbs in the illustrated lamps, which appeared distorted, and to other telltale elements – the strange pressure gauge, and the odd, glazed look of the image. Initially, Wizards of the Coast disputed the fan assessment of the artwork, stating that it was done by a human, and not AI.

“We understand confusion by fans given the style being different than card art, but we stand by our previous statement,” Wizards of the Coast said (via PC Gamer). “This art was created by humans and not AI.”

Despite this, fans continued to press the company – and a community note was also added to the initial post on Twitter / X suggesting the artwork was indeed AI-generated.

Read: Wizards of the Coast doubles down on anti-AI art stance

Now, several days after these accusations surfaced, Wizards has confirmed it made a mistake – and that the marketing images released (and since deleted) were generated using AI, seemingly without the company’s knowledge.

“Well, we made a mistake earlier when we said that a marketing image we posted was not created using AI,” the company said. “As you, our diligent community pointed out, it looks like some AI components that are now popping up in industry standard tools like Photoshop crept into our marketing creative, even if a human did the work to create the overall image.”

“While the art came from a vendor, it’s on us to make sure that we are living up to our promise to support the amazing human ingenuity that makes Magic great. We already made clear that we require artists, writers, and creatives contributing to the  Magic TCG to refrain from using AI generative tools to create final  Magic products. Now we’re evaluating how we work with vendors on creative beyond our products – like these marketing images – to make sure that we are living up to those values.”

In a fresh statement on its website, Wizards of the Coast has pledged to be more diligent when working with artists, writers, and creatives to ensure that AI tools are not used to create future Magic products – marketing or otherwise. Going forward, the company wants to “get better at understanding whether and how AI is used in the creative process” as they believe transparency and better disclosure is important.

“We can’t promise to be perfect in such a fast-evolving space, especially with generative AI becoming standard in tools such as Photoshop, but our aim is to always come down on the side of human made art and artists,” the company said.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.