When it comes to narrative and cinematic games, or even the smallest but dedicated story driven games, many of them are make or break the immersion based on a character and their portrayal. This boils down to their mannerisms and their voice.
And now the voices of many of gamings biggest protagonists and antagonists are taking up arms and calling for representation for what they do. Here is the breakdown.
GameInformer Direct Quote said:A long-running conversation between publishers and voice actors over contract terms may be coming to a head. SAG-AFTRA, the union representing actors (including voice actors) is currently considering a strike to push the matter to resolution.
Chief among the issues under discussion is the matter of “back end bonuses.” These are a trade-off, with lower fees for service, but a percentage of the gross. This is becoming more common in film, and now may become a piece of the gaming landscape.
Additionally, SAG-AFTRA is looking for stunt pay for those actors put in vocally stressful situations. Additionally, with the increase in motion capture performance, the union wants to have stunt coordinators available.
The matter has been under intense discussion since the beginning of the year. The two sides met in February and then again in June with no resolution.
Now, SAG-AFTRA is taking a vote on whether or not to strike. In order for that to happen, 75 percent of voting members would need to approve the action. If successful, members would be unable to work during the strike, and the union would ask that non-members abide by the action.
The group goes so far as to suggest that the proposal from publishers, including Activision, Disney, EA, and WB Games may not be legal. “Saying no will be much easier if the interactive community is on board,” the union indicates on its FAQ page. “It comes down to a question of power. The employers can dig in their heels indefinitely. A strong strike authorization vote is the best way to shift the power dynamic.”
So far, a number of notable voice actors have voiced their support of the strike. Included are Wil Wheaton, Phil LaMarr, Jennifer Hale, Ashly Burch, and Steve Blum, using two different hashtags (#PerformanceMatters and #IAmOnBoard2015).
What this boils down to, is that unfair contracts have been asked for by producers in the video game industry, and now to the point that voice actors have to use the organized union to negotiate further. If the negotiations continue to meet with standstills, numerous voice actors will go on strike, and we are not like to hear their voice work anytime soon.
It's a touch and go topic, one that we will be following very closely as it develops.
SAG AFTRA has now authorized a full strike. This means a new meeting will be held to further discuss future payment opportunities. If no agreement is reached this time around, many major voice actors WILL go on strike.
SAG-AFTRA video game voice actors have authorized the union’s national board to call a strike with 96.5% of those voting backing a work stoppage.
SAG-AFTRA plans to ask companies to return to the bargaining table. Previous talks in February and June failed to produce an agreement on a successor deal.
Reps for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have refused to comment.
“It is important to note that the referendum result does not mean that members are on strike, rather, it gives the National Board the authority to declare a strike,” the union said. “A 75% ‘yes’ vote was required to give the National Board that authority. With this result in hand, the Negotiating Committee will seek to return to the bargaining table and continue to press for a fair resolution on behalf of performers working in video games.”
The contract covers work performed for Activision, Electronic Arts, Disney, Warner Bros. and other employers of video game voice actors.
The strike authorization has been supported by several notable voice actors including Elias Toufexis (“Deus Ex’s” Adam Jensen), D.C. Douglas (“Resident Evil’s” Wesker) and Jennifer Hale (“Mass Effect’s” Femshep). The movement also has Twitter hashtags: #PerformanceMatters and#iAmOnBoard2015.