Video Game Actors Once Again Threaten To Strike

Members of the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) are threatening to strike against 11 game industry employers in a protest seeking changes to their contracts. According to a post from the guild, unless changes are made to voice acting contracts, members will start a strike on Friday against the following employers:

  • Activision Publishing, Inc.
  • Blindlight, LLC
  • Corps of Discovery Films
  • Disney Character Voices, Inc.
  • Electronic Arts Productions, Inc.
  • Formosa Interactive, LLC
  • Insomniac Games, Inc.
  • Interactive Associates, Inc. Take 2
  • Interactive Software
  • VoiceWorks Productions, Inc.
  • WB Games, Inc.

The formal strike notice lists issues such as extensive and lengthy intensive vocal sessions as well as a lack of stunt coordinators on site for performances as cause for the collective action. They also cite a lack of back-end payment for jobs such as residual payments. This is not the first time voice actors have threatened to strike.

"Based on past experience, we are not confident management is willing to make the changes necessary to bring this contract up to the standards of our other agreements," the guild elaborated in their post announcing the strike. Kotaku reached out to the guild for additional comment but had not heard back at time of writing..

A statement by a coalition of employers working with SAG-AFTRA was released today as well.

"We are deeply disappointed to learn today of the Union's threatened strike and its unilateral violation of the mutually agreed upon 'news black-out' on negotiation discussions," the joint statement said.

It is unclear if an agreement between the two parties will be reached before the strike starts on Friday.


Comments

    Good on them. If people like WB squeeze their customers so much it isnt too hard to imagine how they try and squeeze the talent from the other side as well. Taking money from all sides.

    Let them strike if they want to. I'm sure there are countless others who want to break into the industry and this would be their chance.

    So this is just, Nolan North taking a holiday and his agent calling it a strike, right?

    I'd probably like to hear more about how the residual payments have worked traditionally (ie every time I buy Home Alone 2 does Donald Trump get a kickback?) but also how the people threatening are proposing it would work in video-games.

    Don't look at me like that,

    Home Alone 2 was a good movie.

    The vocal strain, stunt/mocap performance, and transparency requests are entirely reasonable. They can piss right off with their request for "secondary compensation", though. They're at the back of the queue for that one.

    Edit: OK, that's not entirely fair. After 2 million copies sold everyone involved in the creative process deserves some kind of kick back. But the actors themselves are the least of the creative process when it comes to video games.

    Last edited 18/10/16 10:30 am

      If Skyrim had bad voice acting it wouldn't have sold anywhere near as much. If games went back to having voices done by programmers and other staff members, we'd play with the volume mted pretty quick and other gamers would stop playing and watch more movies or TV.

    I think the actual people developing a game deserve more money before voice actors do. Voice acting is probably the last thing I think about when it comes to the components of a game. If a bunch of these voice actors go on strike it will just allow new people to break into the industry. But yeah if developers themselves, the people programming and producing art assets aren't getting residuals then no one else should be. But i understand with the vocal strain stuff. That's probably not great. They might need shorter sessions in the booth or something.

      New people who can't act and ruin the atmosphere of a game?

    Playing devil's advocate to the topic of VAs being at the bottom of the list for kick backs. Granted that a great deal of voice acting is hit and miss, or could fall under the "additional voices" credit but there is a selection (albeit small) of games where the character performances really elevate the overall experience, the rancher house scene between Ellie and Joel in TLoU immediately springs to mind, most scenes in any of the episodics from tell-tale which are almost purely based on writing and performance etc.

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