Every Tuesday we take some time to feature one of the brilliant video game voice actors in the business via Voice Actor Tuesday. In just over 2 hours we’ll be uploading another voice actor feature to celebrate those actors who bring life to the worlds in our games. That said, the voice actors have been fighting the good fight since 2014 when they proposed a strike after SAG-AFTRA (an actor’s union) contract came to an end with big publishers. Publishers included EA Games, Activision, Disney, Take Two, Insomniac, and Warner Bros.
They want royalties to be paid to games that exceed 2 million sales as well as stunt payment for “vocally stressful” recordings, along with some other demands. Things are about to move into full force as, come 21 October (this coming Friday), the union will forbid any of its 150,000 strong members to take part in any voice, motion-capture, and background work on games. In total 11 game companies will be affected and they won’t have access to some of the best talent in the business. Earlier this year 96% of the members backed this movement, so it’s not as if the majority are being held back by this decision. Here is what SAG-AFTRA had to say:
[quote]The videogame employers we are striking continue to operate under the terms of an agreement structured more than twenty years ago for an Industry that was only beginning to utilize professional performances. Since then, games have evolved to provide increasingly immersive and cinematic experiences that compete with television and theatrical motion pictures for consumer dollars. It is time for this now mature industry to pay and treat professional performers according to the standards and precedents that our union has established and defended for generations.[/quote]
The various game companies replied with a collective response:
[quote]We consider the Union’s threatened labor action to call a strike precipitous, unnecessary and an action that will only harm their membership. SAG-AFTRA represents performers in less than 25 percent of the video games on the market. Any strike would not only deny SAG-AFTRA’s membership work, but this would also give their competitors, who do not engage union talent, a leg up while any strike would be in place.[/quote]
It sounds like a war is on the horizon, so expect this to get a little messy.