Video game voice actors could strike this week if deal not reached with publishers

Electronic Arts, Activision, Take-Two, Insomniac and WB Games could all be affected.


No one can argue that video games have evolved uite a bit over the years. Some of the best games are made that way because of the voice talent behind the characters that bring the story to life. At least that is the way the voice actors' union SAG Aftra sees it, having been trying for more than a year to negotiate a new deal for its members since last year. But now, a line has been drawn in the digital sand.

 In a union bulletin released today, it was revealed that a strike is planned for this Friday, October 21, if an agreement cannot be reached. Meetings are planned between the two sides throughout the week, but the union said in the statement that it is "not confident management is willing to make the changes necessary to bring this contract up to the standards of our other agreements.". The details of the strike:

"All covered services must be withheld, including, but not limited to: voice acting; motion or performance capture work; background work; principal on camera work (including singing, dancing and performing stunts); authorizing the use of your voice or of a sound-a-like voice in a videogame; consenting to the reuse of prior work into a struck game; performing on a trailer for a struck game and performing on 'downloadable content (DLC)' or other ancillary content connected to a struck game."

The notice says that any game is production as of Feb. 17, 2015, could finish production. But those starting production after that date will be subject to strike. Affected publishers would include:

  • 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.

SAG-Aftra expects to publish a list of games affected soon. The union also has posted a section on its website to keep members up-to-date on the negotiation, along with an FAQ and a regularly updated section on the negotiations.

"The videogame employers we are striking continue to operate under the terms of an agreement structured more than twenty years ago for an Industry that was only beginning to utilize professional performances," the document explains to member. "Since then, games have evolved to provide increasingly immersive and cinematic experiences that compete with television and theatrical motion pictures for consumer dollars. It is time for this now mature industry to pay and treat professional performers according to the standards and precedents that our union has established and defended for generations."

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
    • reply
      October 17, 2016 8:27 AM

      If it means I don't have to hear Jim Cummings in every single game as fourteen different characters next year then I could live with that.

      • reply
        October 17, 2016 9:13 AM

        I didn't think he that predominate in video games. Animation, certainly.

        • reply
          October 17, 2016 9:16 AM

          He's no Nolan North or Troy Baker that's for sure.

          • reply
            October 17, 2016 9:37 AM

            I think my fav is Clancy Brown (after Kevin Conroy, but he pretty much only does Batman).

          • reply
            October 17, 2016 12:39 PM

            Nor a Neil Ross or Quenton Flynn.

            • reply
              October 17, 2016 6:42 PM

              I have no idea who any of these people are. Who is Nathan Drake? That guy fucks.

        • reply
          October 17, 2016 4:30 PM

          He might not be as prolific, but I am just damned tired of his voice. I still harbor a grudge from seven or eight years ago when he portrayed Thor in Ultimate Alliance 2. One of my favorite characters that he just slaughtered. It was so incredibly bad.

          This year I had to hear him in WoW Legion as a key character throughout one zone, as a main character in one of the class halls, as a long quest chain character who doesn't shut up and a handful of lesser NPCs as well. I muttered "Good." when his character died.

          Skyrim x 20, FA4 x 20. And it's not just games. I have the unfortunate side effect of children. I think he, Tara Strong and maybe two other people voice everything in kid shows.

          Watching Star Wars Rebels with my kids, WELL GUESS WHO'S BACK? Fucking Hondo. I will bet you they put him in every other episode too on top of all the damned Imperials he already voices.

          Holy shit, Winnie the Pooh, if you want to make me hate the games I love, keep popping up in them.

          • reply
            October 17, 2016 4:34 PM

            I'm not loving the Hondo character. I get they do stuff like that to help keep it a kids show. But it really does weaken the series.

            I didn't realize he was in wow now. I left years ago.

      • reply
        October 17, 2016 4:43 PM

        He was Minsc you bastard!

    • reply
      October 17, 2016 12:37 PM

      The videogame employers we are striking continue to operate under the terms of an agreement structured more than twenty years ago

      Doesn't this explain the entire game development workforce?

    • reply
      October 17, 2016 3:45 PM

      I think EVERYONE should get a piece of the pie, not just the Voice actors. What about the Artist? Coders? engineers?

    • reply
      October 17, 2016 4:54 PM

      Nolan North will be alone and bored.

Hello, Meet Lola