The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) announced that they have reached a tentative agreement with eleven video game companies, effectively ending the year-long strike that began October 21, 2016. The strike began due to video game voice actors and big gaming companies unable to come to an agreement over fair salary amounts for the voice actors in addition to lack of transparency when disclosing information about different projects. Many voice actors participated in the strike to support others who had been subject to unfair contracts and job payments. Some voice actors who supported the strike were even forced to give up important leading roles, such as Ashly Burch who originally played Chloe in Life is Strange and Alyson Court who played Claire Redfield in Resident Evil 2.
SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris released an official statement on their website, stating “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.” Voice actors will now receive bigger bonuses than they had before, and bonus payments are ” based on the number of sessions worked on each game, beginning with a $75 payment on the first session and totaling $2,100 after 10 sessions worked.” Bonus payments will ensure voice actors receive fair compensation for a game that may have financial success, but ultimately turns out low ratings from critics.
Voice actors also receive more transparency for their roles, as more information will be given in contracts and upfront negotiations regarding details of the game such as code names of the project, the genre, and what type of role the character has in the game. More sensitive information about the character will also be released, such as their use of profanity and whether or not they participate in sexual acts or violence.
Though the agreement contains much of what SAG-AFTRA asked for, some details regarding voice actor management during recording sessions were left out, in addition to how employers should handle an actor’s potential “vocal stress.”
SAG-AFTRA will review the full contract at their October meeting, which will officially end the strike if they accept the terms of the agreement.