We recently reported about a possible strike by the Video Game Voice Actors Union SAG-AFTRA (here) and prior to this back during September 2015. It turns out that a common ground could not be met and the strike is now happening. Due to this all going talks with several major video game publishers have stopped and the SAG-AFTRA strike has commenced as of 12:01 AM PDT / 3:01 AM EDT.
What does this mean for us, the gamers? A lot actually as several major titles will be affected, which could possibly lead to delays of those titles. Companies that are affected include Activision Blizzard, Warner Bros, Take Two / 2K Games, Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts and many others. Games that were / are currently in development could see an extended delay if this strike isn’t handled swiftly. Definitely, something that could pose a threat to many gaming studios involved. For a full list of which games could be affected, SAG-AFTRA has compiled a list that can be viewed here.
The voice actors plan on picketing in front of the Electronic Arts building located in Play Vista, California.
This strike is the result of members belonging to SAG-AFTRA asking for changes to how they were being treated in comparison to other actors. Mainly the fact that the video game voice actors never received residual monies based on a games success. So if a game sold a certain percentage, they would like to receive some of that income. They were also asking for better safety conditions for voice-over and motion capture performers. All of which makes sense as it does apply to actors who appear in many motion picture movies. Video game voice actors are a huge benefit in many big budget titles and help improve the immersion of those games. Could you imagine playing Uncharted and not hearing Nolan North? I couldn’t and it’s not something that many fans would appreciate either.
A new system was suggested that would give the voice actors additional payments for every title that sold 2 million or more copies / or unique subscribers for online-only titles, with a proposed cap at 8 million in total. This didn’t sit well with the video game companies and instead, they countered with a 9% wage increase and up to $950 per game based on the number of sessions performed by a voice actor on a particular title. This was refused by the union and made the video game voice actor union feel like they were being disrespected.
I for one hope that the strike is handled swiftly and that the video game voice actors can get some if not all of the changes they are asking for. These people not only perform a ton of work for their respected games, have a huge fan following and without them the games that we play today would feel different. Until many games of old, the newer titles that we all enjoy have a huge selection of voice actors involved, of which many of those games are 100% voiced.