Voice acting in video games is serious and often thankless work. You have to recite hours of dialog that doesn't always get heard, and only a handful of actors (like Nolan North, John DiMaggio and Troy Baker) have high-profile careers. However, they're now fighting to get a bigger piece of the pie. The actor union SAG-AFTRA is considering voting for a strike that would push for more payments and greater rights for game voice actors. It's proposing that these performers should get bonuses every time a game sells 2 million copies, and stunt pay when they have to strain their voices -- think about every game where your character screamed from taking damage. The guild also wants stunt coordinators for motion capture work, and it hopes to prevent companies from both hiring their own unionless staff as well as instituting fines over relatively arbitrary faults, such as failing to audition for small roles.
A strike won't take place unless 75 percent of voters are in favor of the proposals. If the action does go ahead, however, it'll set up a rare and potentially significant battle between game publishers and their voice talent. That could be good for actors that sometimes get short shrift, but it could also delay more than a few titles dependent on spoken roles. The strike has supporters who would be sorely missed if they stopped working, like Jennifer Hale (the female Shepard in Mass Effect) and Wil Wheaton, so this would be no small loss.
[Image credit: Michael Bezjian/WireImage]