Several high-level video game voice actors for some of the biggest gaming developers will go on a strike real soon, which may negatively affect the ongoing development for upcoming triple-A titles.
While most of them don’t always achieve as much recognition and valor as the current line-up of hollywood movie celebrities, these actors who lend their voices to various video games work extremely hard at their craft. And for that, they expect certain standards while being involved with game developers, both large and small.
A lot of these video game voice actors are members of a well known guild, called SAG-AFTRA, that helps out these gaming voice actors with working out deals with any and all developers in the industry and maintain certain standards professionally. For almost over a year now, the guild has been in constant negotiations with some of the industry’s biggest developers, working towards creating a simple and fair contract for voice actors that will rooted in industry standards for best practices. However, all the negotiations until now have completely failed.
As retaliation towards these meetings and negotiation sessions that went in vain, the SAG-AFTRA guild and many of the industry’s most prominent voice actors have called for a strike against a specific 11 gaming companies. It is a list which includes some of the biggest, most well-known companies in the entire industry. The strike will begin on October 21st unless SAG-AFTRA is able to come to an acceptable deal before then, which it expects will be the most likely case.
In a statement to Deadline about the impending Strike, SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris offered the guild’s perspective on the situation and said,
Through many months of bargaining with interactive employers, we have not reached a fair agreement covering SAG-AFTRA performers working in video games–often the most popular games in the world. A strike is not to be entered into lightly, but when the employers leave us with no recourse, we must stand firm for our members. It is imperative that we secure for them the protections, compensation and benefits they deserve.
These are the 11 companies that the strike will be targeting:
- Corps of Discovery Films
- Disney Character Voices
- Electronic Arts
- Formosa Interactive
- Insomniac Games
- Interactive Associates
- Take-Two Interactive
- VoiceWorks Production
- WB Games
The game development industry has officially responded to the upcoming strike with a statement of its own. Scott J. Witlin, who’s been representing the industry in the negotiations as it’s spokesperson. He states that the industry has been negotiating “in good faith” over the previous year and a half, also that the industry is “deeply disappointed” by the impending strike.
According to Witlin, as of now, voice actors are already paid more than a staggering $100 per hour, along with benefits. He also went ahead offered some additional statements about the existing state of affairs for the voice actors, and all the efforts that the gaming industry is implementing to these help actors succeed.
The video game industry’s current proposals on the negotiation table includes wage increases for most performers and additional avenues for compensation that could yield many hundreds of dollars more in payments for limited integration and ratification bonuses.
Although the Companies have had only one report of workplace injury due to vocal stress, the Companies have continued to look to ways to reduce the burdens on performers in this area through the more flexible work scheduling and other innovative work arrangementsm,
says Witlin in the official statement.
For obvious reasons, we gamers would love to see the two involved parties reach a reasonable agreement in a timely and orderly fashion. Though so far it doesn’t seem like the two groups will conclude these negotiations anytime before the October 21st strike, hopefully the consequential delay won’t be too long.