The Game’s Voice Acting Strike Has Tentatively Ended

It's been nearly a year and it looks like we finally have an agreement.

The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have agreed to new terms with some of gaming’s biggest publishers. SAG-AFTRA had been on an 11 month plus strike against some of the industries giants. They were demanding fair compensation for voice actors, mainly revolving around post-release bonuses.

Residuals were essentially the sticking point of the negotiations to begin with. Known as secondary compensation, the voice actors on strike were adamant that secondary compensation should be contracted into each acting contract. Situations such as Michael Hollick’s portrayal of Niko Bellic in Grand Theft Auto IV were cited. Hollick worked with Rockstar for 15 months on the game and received a flat $100,000 contract. Grand Theft Auto IV then went on to sell over 25 million copies.

Some of the game’s industries biggest publishers were involved with the negotiations. Those include Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Take-Two Interactive, Activison and Electronic Arts. Picketing frequently took place in front of EA’s offices located within Playa Vista, California.

Talks for new terms began between SAG-AFTRA and gaming publishers in February of 2015. After terms were unsuccessful, the strike began in earnest on October 21, 2016. It lasted 335 days, making it the longest strike in the history of the Screen Actors Guild which has been around since 1933.

It sounds as though SAG-AFTRA didn’t quite get what they were hoping for in the terms of residual payments though. Instead, actors will be paid bonuses based upon the number of sessions they work for within a certain project. With each subsequent session being rewarded more than the one prior. Payment for said sessions are to be issued prior to the game’s release. Keythe Farley, Chair of the SAG-AFTRA committee, handled the negotiations and said that the newly implemented bonuses are “significantly larger now than what we had 11 months ago.”

Gabrielle Carteris, President of SAG-AFTRA, also chimed in, saying that “this is an important advance in this critical industry space. We secured a number of gains including for the first time, a secondary payment structure which was one of the members’ key concerns.”

 

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