After joining the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in Hollywood back in May, the actors union SAG-AFTRA began striking against studio executives demanding fair wages and clearer guidelines, job protection and proper creditation when it comes to the use of AI in movies and television. That strike may extend to video game studios and voice actors soon, including Insomniac Games, as the union’s board has now sent a vote to all members ahead of upcoming negotiations.
The actors union recently announced the vote on its official website for “forthcoming bargaining dates with signatory video game companies.” SAG-AFTRA extended the previous contract nearly a year ago and new negotiations are set to begin on 26 September.
The “signatory video game companies” cited by SAG-AFTRA include:
- Activision Productions Inc.
- Blindlight LLC.
- Disney Character Voices Inc.
- Electronic Arts Productions Inc.
- Epic Games, Inc.
- Formosa Interactive LLC.
- Insomniac Games Inc.
- Take Two Productions Inc.
- VoiceWorks Productions Inc.
- Warner Bros Games Inc.
SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher stated in the press release:
“Here we go again! Now our Interactive (Video Game) Agreement is at a stalemate too. Once again we are facing employer greed and disrespect. Once again artificial intelligence is putting our members in jeopardy of reducing their opportunity to work. And once again, SAG-AFTRA is standing up to tyranny on behalf of its members.”
SAG-AFTRA revealed the terms for video game voice actors and motion capture performers which include the same rate increases as movie and TV actors in addition to job protection from AI and mandatory five-minute-per-hour rest periods for on-camera performance capture actors.
Depending on the outcome of the negotiations, this could very well delay several video games currently in development under the aforementioned gaming companies, which include Marvel’s Wolverine developer Insomniac Games, Electronic Arts and Take-Two Interactive. While Insomniac’s focus right now is on Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, it’s unclear how far along in production Marvel’s Wolverine is or whether these strikes will affect the game’s voice actors and subsequently, the game’s development.