Voice acting has long been a part of game development and bringing games to life, with the voice actors union SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) seeking to provide better working conditions for voice actors in the video games and, potentially, calling for a strike in the near future until those conditions are met.
In an update on the official SAG-AFTRA website – the union that represents voice acting in video games and other media such as film and television – the group announced that negotiations are underway for improvements to the working conditions of voice actors in the video game industry after initial negotiations earlier this year. The group is meeting with several game publishers “with the goal of creating a fair contract that is rooted in industry standards and best practices.”
Specifically, the group is calling for fairer working conditions for voice actors and performance artists in the games industry including (but not limited to) fairer compensation, less stressful vocal or performance sessions, greater transparency in projects and auditions, the presence of stunt coordinators during motion capture sessions, and more.
However, SAG-AFTRA explained that “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.” In response, SAG-AFTRA is preparing a strike for supporting members to begin at 12:01am on October 21st, 2016, with the following publishers and studios being targeted by the strike:
- 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.
As defined by the group’s official notice, the SAG-AFTRA strike would cover all services such as “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 strike will be targeting the specified publishers and studios, though the notice also explains that “not all games produced by these employers are within the scope of this strike order,” as projects that were in production as of February 17th, 2015 “may complete production as to that game.”
Negotiations between SAG-AFTRA are currently taking place now through October 19th, with a potential strike being scheduled by the group on October 21st, 2016.