Voice actors lending their talents to some of the top game studios are preparing to go on strike. The SAG-AFTRA union, whose members include most of the voice acting talent in the US, has announced that it will stop working with select game developers until its demands are met.
As usual, the strike is concerned with payment, particularly the amount that voice actors receive for doing extensive strenuous sessions. The union wants ‘stunt pay’ for doing this sort of work; as well as royalties from games that sell more than two million copies.
The strike will affect 11 companies, which includes Activision, WB Games, Electronic Arts, an Take 2 Productions. This will essentially prevent the further development of games that require voice acting or motion capture until an agreement can be made.
Game companies are somewhat unconcerned by the impending strike. A spokesman claims that SAG-AFTRA only represents 25-percent of all available voice talent; and that there will always be someone who needs the work. While it is true that the union does not represent the entire voice acting industy, it does count several big names – such as Jennifer Hale and Wil Wheaton – among its members.
It’s unknown how long the strike will last, but it is unlikely to have a major impact in the development of games. On the other hand, not having to work may work in the favour of the consumer; as the voice talent have been known to work on independent projects while boycotting major productions. After all, the 2008 Writers’ Guild strike gave us the marvelous Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.