Actors (including video game voice actors) are currently considering a strike under SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents them, to resolve a long-standing issue with contract terms.
The dispute comes following proposals from top game publishers which would allow them to fine actors extortionate amounts for things like showing up late, or even just zoning out for a moment. And their agents could be fined even more (around $50,000-$100,000) for not sending actors to certain auditions, perhaps even revoking their union franchise if they actively choose not to.
However, SAG-AFTRA’s proposal would put a stop to these plans and also grant actors performance bonuses for their work on top-selling titles, requesting a percentage of the gross for every 2 million copies or downloads sold, or unique subscribers for online only games, capping out at 8 million, with lower fees for base service. This protects smaller budget games, but allows actors to be paid fairly. Additionally, the union wants to protect actors from ‘vocal stress’, requiring rest from intensive sessions, and see stunt coordinators provided for potentially dangerous stunts, especially with the rise of motion capture in video games. As well as more transparency, allowing actors to know what role they are actually auditioning for beforehand and know a little more about the game.
Voice acting in video games is becoming more and more important with the rise of mass-selling, story-focused titles like The Last of Us and Until Dawn, and MMORPGs such as Star Wars the Old Republic and The Elder Scrolls Online putting more emphasis on story and voice-acting than ever before. It seems a little ridiculous in this day and age that actors are still needing to negotiate their rights and safety in the workplace.
Source: SAG-AFTRARelated: Event (Real Life), Industry, News, North America