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Video game voice actor strike reaches tentative agreement

SAG-AFTRA confirms video game voice actors are able to resume working with struck companies immediately.

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SAG-AFTRA video game voice actor strike

SAG-AFTRA confirms video game voice actors are able to resume working with struck companies immediately.

The video game voice actor strike, by members of the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (or SAG-AFTRA for short), has been ongoing since October 2016. Following failed contract renegotiations in 2015, union members were unable to work with 11 major companies, including Activision, EA, and Take 2.

Members were protesting against conditions faced by video game voice talent. Specific complaints involved the additional stresses and risks that game voice actors face, from participating in motion capture combat and stunts to straining their vocal cords, and not being aware of these risks and stresses when negotiating rates prior to accepting contracts.

Think about how strained poor old John DiMaggio’s throat must be after a session screaming “God damn it!” in a recording booth, in his super-scratchy Marcus Fenix voice, a thousand different ways. Got that in your head? Now imagine doing that every day of your working life, while also doing your regular acting job, and also motion capture and stage combat.

You have to admit, when you put it that way, SAG-AFTRA and its members have a point.

In the intervening period, one of the major casualties is prequel Life is Strange: Before the Storm, with Ashly Burch unable to reprise her role as Chloe Price due to the strike.

Now though, an ending is on the immediate horizon for the 11 companies and SAG-AFTRA’s over 100,000 active members (not all of whom are directly involved in video game voice acting; the union coves all manner of broadcast performance).

Today SAG-AFTRA announced in a letter to its members that it has reached a “tentative agreement to end the video game strike”. This includes an additional bonus structure to reflect the additional workload and stresses of video game voice actors, and “significant improvements in the area of transparency” to “empower performers and their representatives to bargain knowledgeably for compensation and to understand the nature of the performance that will be required”.

While the proposed contract changes will still have to be ratified by the SAG-AFTRA board at its next meeting in October, the guild is advising its members are “free to provide covered services pursuant to the expired terms of the prior Interactive Media Agreement with the struck companies effective immediately”.

The new terms will come into effect immediately following their expected ratification.

Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.