The videogame voice actor strike has ended after over a year. While a tentative agreement between union SAG-AFTRA and several major videogame publishers like EA and Activision was reached at the end of September, the agreement has finally been approved by the guild. The agreement, which takes effect today, Nov. 8 and expires on Nov. 7, 2020, was approved by a 90 percent to 10 percent margin.
As previously reported, the agreement includes a new bonus structure for voice actors, “beginning with a $75 payment on the first [voice recording] session and totaling $2,100 after 10 sessions worked.” SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris commented on the agreement:
This agreement is the first step towards streamlining the work our members do in the video game industry. The deal includes significant improvements in the area of transparency and the payment structure ensures that our members are compensated fairly for their work. I am excited for what this means for our members moving forward.
The transparency that Carteris mentions stems from a demand of voice actors knowing the content of the projects they work on before recording voice work—previously, voice actors would have to recite offensive and uncomfortable language without their prior knowledge of the sensitive content. Per SAG-AFTRA’s announcement:
The deal also contains new transparency provisions that will enhance the bargaining power of our members’ representatives by requiring the companies to disclose the code name of project, its genre, whether the game is based on previously published intellectual property and whether the performer is reprising a prior role. Members are also protected by the disclosure of whether they will be required to use unusual terminology, profanity or racial slurs, whether there will be content of a sexual or violent nature and whether [live-action] stunts will be required.
The agreement also addresses the issue of vocal stress on the voice performers, and rejects certain provisions that management sought out, including fines for voice actors who are “late or distracted at session.”
SAG-AFTRA remains optimistic and confident for their members in the near future, with what is the longest actor’s strike in the country’s history now behind them.