Here at SA Gamer we really value the video game voice actors in the business. It’s these individuals that can often make the difference between a believable cinematic or, more so, a believable in-game world. When Nathan Drake brings the world of Uncharted to life with his chirps and random comments there’s a voice behind it. When the Joker brings a smile to your face with his demonic humour there’s a voice pushing the boundaries and when you feel the struggle Lara is going through in any of her Tomb Raider games there’s a voice behind that too. Voice actors are important, and they’re striking for a good reason.
Here is why:
[quote]While the companies are willing to disclose potentially objectionable material that may be involved in the role, they refuse to tell the performer’s agent what game the actor will be working on. This keeps the performer from being able to make an educated decision about whether to take job. This is unheard of in any of our other contracts.[/quote]
But that’s just one of many reasons as SAG-AFTRA chief contracts officer, Ray Rodriguez, confirms:
[quote]After nearly two years, management has been unwilling to resolve these issues in an equitable manner. This strike is not the union’s preferred outcome, but is necessary to let employers know SAG-AFTRA members will stand fast to their principles and not be exploited.
SAG-AFTRA has gone to the negotiations table with serious concerns affecting voiceover and stunt performers. It’s time for video game employers to take our concerns seriously and negotiate a modern contract based on actor safety, industry precedent and best practices.[/quote]
The publishers who are affected in this strike are as follows: Activision Publishing, Blindlight, LLCCorps of Discovery Films, Disney Character Voices, Electronic Arts Productions, Formosa Interactive, LLC Insomniac Games, Interactive Associates, Take 2 Interactive Software, VoiceWorks Productions, and WB Games.
Scott J. Witlin of Barnes & Thornburg, a spokesperson for the above-mentioned publishers, replied with this:
[quote]We had hoped this would be successful, but union leadership left mediation without providing a counteroffer. We urged union leaders to put the package to a vote of their membership, but union leaders refused.
We improved our offer to demonstrate our willingness to reach a fair, mutually-beneficial agreement after 18 months of negotiations. We value our performers and their dedication. The union has demanded a contingency fee based upon number of games sold or subscribers. Instead of that, we are offering to immediately reward the hard work of performers through this accelerated raise and Additional Compensation package.[/quote]
You might be wondering if there are any important voice actors involved in this battle? Have a look for yourself:
Jennifer Hale (Mass Effects), Ashly Burch (Life is Strange), Wil Wheaton (Broken Age), David Hayter (Metal Gear Solid), Steve Blum (Vanquish), Elias Toufexis (Deus Ex: Human Revolution), Sarah Elmaleh (Gone Home), and Tara Strong (Batman: Arkham City) are just a fraction of many voice actors that added their pledge to this strike.
You can follow the official strike here on the SAG-AFTRA page.