Fallout: New Vegas mod replaces techbro antagonist with an AI-created Elon Musk

Elon Musk in Fallout: New Vegas.
(Image credit: Obsidian / NoUsernameSelected)

You don't really get much more on-the-nose than this, but a new mod for Fallout: New Vegas replaces the in-game character Mr. House with the real-world character Elon Musk. First spotted by Kotaku, the Elon House mod, created by NoUsernameSelected, takes some cues from a pre-existing New Vegas mod which pulled the same trick with Mark Zuckerberg back in 2020. There's one twist here though: the New Vegas Musk is an AI creation.

In the game Mr. House runs the Strip, one of the big New Vegas locations, and depending on your actions can be friend or foe: essentially do what he says and you're golden, refuse to be a good dog and he'll come for you. House is presented as a tech visionary and in a way one of humanity's hopes, but unfortunately believes his own hype to the extent of deciding the rebuilt civilisation must exist under his sole command. You also communicate with him entirely through looking at a screen.

Clearly the mod's creator saw some sort of parallels to Musk, because Elon House swaps in an AI-created likeness of Musk and replaces all of House's voice acting with an edited AI Musk voice. The mod uses the ElevenLabs text-to-speech software, speech recognition software Whisper, and the image generator Stable Diffusion.

The likeness of Musk is recognisable and in-keeping with the New Vegas aesthetic, while the voice lines can be heard in the video and are deliberately a little robotic. NoUsernameSelected added this effect on top of the AI voice because, oddly enough, they reckoned the original results were too "real" as well as "crystal clear" and sat oddly with the rest of the game's audio.

"I already had the Elon picture just from messing around in Stable Diffusion a few weeks ago," NoUsernameSelected said to Kotaku. "The rest was basically just figuring out how to rip the game’s voice lines open, transcribe them with OpenAI Whisper, voice them with Elon’s AI voice on Elevenlabs, and put them back in the game. The overall API and subscription costs were only a few dollars for [about] 600 lines transcribed and voiced. With the right know-how, this kind of content is actually surprisingly easy to create."

How easy? The modder had used most of the tools before and obviously had the image ready to go, but the process of recreating the audio and putting it all together took "less than 24 hours from start to finish".

If you're getting a bit uneasy about this, it's probably not just Musk that's doing it. This is something of a novelty mod, sure, but it does everything it sets out to do with good production values, and fundamentally a self-taught modder has put together a thematically appropriate and well-realised representation of a public figure in a game. You don't have to have an opinion on whether this is good or bad to find it pretty remarkable.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."