Voice acting enthusiasts can breathe a sigh of relief this week as the 11-month long strike for residual payment and game transparency may be coming to a close. Beginning in October 21st, the Screen Actors’ Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) agreed to petition game companies like Activision, Electronic Arts, and Warner Brothers Studio to give voice actors more financial pay in top-selling games including their work.
While this deal still needs to be approved by the union’s board of directors, voice actors are entitled to receive compensation relating to the number of sessions they performed for the game. Specifically, the pay starts out at $75 dollars per session, maxing out at $2,100 after ten sessions. The agreement also pushed companies to cooperate with SAG-FTRA policies, which include giving breaks between sessions and allowing for more transparency on game projects.
These two issues gave insight to the amount of work these voice actors put into their jobs. The game industry stresses secrecy in their projects, which is still a heated debate to this day. Voice actors are left in a position where in order to optimally perform on their role, they need more information than what the public can see. As of result, VAs often sign up for scenarios they had no idea was included, examples including racial slurs, sexual scenes, and heavy profanity.
Being a novice game developer and enthusiast of voice acting in games, the work put in by voice actors is sadly easy to overlook. In a moment, a person can get the impression of a “shoddy” performance in a line when they do not realize what is happening behind the scenes. Making a game is no easy task; it takes time for even the smallest feature to be implemented in. While the agreement that SAG-AFTRA is not set in stone, the boycott itself allows people to take another look at the sweat and tears people put into game development.