Video Game Voice Actors Could Go On Strike October 21st

Later this week the SAG-AFTRA members who voted for a strike last year if certain monetary and safety conditions weren’t met by major video game publishers, will actually go on strike later this week on Friday, starting October 21st, if they can’t get anything accomplished in one final meeting.

Games Industry picked up the news from the official SAG-AFTRA website, where the actor’s guild announced that they will be holding one final discussion with major publishers before going in full strike mode. The discussion will take place between October 17th and October 19th.

According to an update post, the SAG committee wrote somberly that they aren’t confident that publishers will budge, stating…

“Based on past experience, we are not confident management is willing to make the changes necessary to bring this contract up to the standards of our other agreements. Unless you hear differently from us, effective Oct. 21 at 12:01 a.m., you should be prepared to strike the following video game employers with regard to all games that went into production after Feb. 17, 2015”

They rattle off a list of publishers, including many familiar faces.

Activision Publishing, Inc. Blindlight, LLC Corps of Discovery Films
Disney Character Voices, Inc. Electronic Arts Productions, Inc. Formosa Interactive, LLC
Insomniac Games, Inc. Interactive Associates, Inc. Take 2 Interactive Software
VoiceWorks Productions, Inc. WB Games, Inc.

Yes, that’s right… that list includes Activision and Electronic Arts. That means every Madden, FIFA, NBA and NHL title in the works could be affected, along with every upcoming Battlefield, Medal of Honor and Star Wars game that could have entered into production after February, 2015.

Most interesting is that this means that if the strike does commence this weekend, every Call of Duty game currently in production will have to fire the voice actors and bring in new people.

The good part about games is that they can redo all the lines without having to worry about losing star power. However, if there are some big names attached who still have lines to complete and performance to capture, or if they have to go in for reshoots, this could put a serious damper on the production of the game.

However, most times they do the performance capture early on and knock that out of the way for some games and then work on the graphics, assets, and polishing up the levels and cinematics thereafter. They don’t have the traditional Hollywood shoots, so it’ll be interesting to see how this strike could affect games currently in development since last year. If you’re worried about a game like Red Dead‘s sequel, don’t be. If the game is due for release in 2017 or 2018 then it’s already been in development since before 2014.

Of course, games like Borderlands 3 would be severely impacted — since they started hiring and pre-production back in early 2015 — along with any game that BioWare or Rocksteady is working on, or heck any game in development under the listed publishing subsidiaries that have started work on their games after early 2015. That means most titles being affected are ones due for release in 2017, 2018 and 2019.


Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • jimmyt

    Strike Witches

  • Thorable Inu

    Gladoss was voiced by someone they found from another profession, opera singer, fresh talent vs the tiny clique of over paid “names”, the most gross are hollywood actors lending their voices because it breaks immersion and adds nothing.
    The further the games industry stays away from Hollywood the better, the two never mix in any way good. Remember all the best blizzard fmv sequences from the past, they were voices of people most people had never heard of.

  • Kage

    Fuck them. Voice actors are pretty much the least essential aspect of any video game – and their recent bitching hasn’t exactly cultivated sympathy (seriously, one of their demands was that THEY could only voice projects – and that giving traditionally non-VOs work should be illegal).

    Look at Conker’s Bad Fur Day – only TWO people voiced every character, and they were DEVELOPERS.

  • epy

    How about you pay more to the devs instead. No sympathy for these hacks.

    • Edzepp

      If Game devs want better compensation, that’s hardly the VA union’s responsibility. Developers have to fight for better compensation, because the companies ain’t gonna do it without a fight.

  • Bitterbear

    The videogame industry should not unionize, period. AAA games are already expensive to make, imagine the costs if everyone is unionised, the costs alone would kill small studios . Not to mention that it’s going to be a very hostile environment for non-unionised developers.

  • Gorgon

    Joke’s on them. Unlike movies and animation, video games can be done well without any type of voice over at all and be successful. It’s all about gameplay.

  • Hawk Hopper

    This is what happens when you try to turn video games into movies.