Video Game Voice Actor Strike: What is it?

The 340-day strike for The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has reached an end. A tentative agreement has been made between the voice actors and 11 Video game companies: Activision, Electronic Arts, Take-Two Interactive and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and more. The strike began on October 21st, 2016. SAG-AFTRA was striking for four issues: Transparency on voice acting contracts, prevent stress on extensive vocal sessions, stunt coordinators available for on hand performance capture studios, and bonus pay depending on sales of the game.

  • Not every voice actor knows what game their voices will be in. Often, voice actors are contracted for a specific role, sent to a recording studio, and then given a script. This is more relevant on actors playing small characters or NPC’s.
  • Voice acting sessions can become quite straining on vocal cords depending on the role. Grunts, screams, and battle lines session can become strenuous and taxing. Some actors claimed they were forced to shout for hours which can cause permanent damage to vocal cords.
  • Some voice actors are requesting to perform certain stunts for performance captures in the game. To save money, most companies will not hire professional stunt actors for roles but rather have their on-hand voice actors perform the action.
  • The biggest issues were the request for bonus pay based on video game sales. The original request from SAG-AFTRA was a full day’s pay for each 500,000 units sold. Certain games sell extremely well but voice actors are not compensated for their “efforts in improving sales.”

Not everything was achieved but so far SAG-AFTRA is considering the negotiation to be a big step forward. An alternative form of payment was agreed upon but not based on sales of the game. Voice actors will receive a  bonus of $75 for their first session and end up with a total bonus of $21,000 for 10 sessions. 

“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,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “The bonus payments we have now are significantly larger now than what we had 11 months ago. The existence of additional payments beyond your session fee is in the video game world for good, both in our high-budget and independent promulgated agreements” said Keythe Farley, chair of the SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee”

Voice actors will also receive more transparency from Video game studios. They will know the project code names, the genre, whether it is a sequel or part of a previous IP or if it is a recurring 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 stunts will be required,” said chief contracts officer Roy Rodriguez.

The contract also contains an “employer commitment” regarding issues of long video recording sessions. The agreement isn’t finished. SAG-AFTRA’s national board will review the contract at its next meeting in October.

Arguments against the Strike:

SAG-AFTRA doesn’t represent every video game voice actor. They make up 25% of the industries voice acting talent. 40% of the top-selling games don’t even use SAG-AFTRA voice actors.

Sources:

Eurogamer

Endgadget

Polygon

Titanfall 2 Co-Op Drop and Free Weekend Play!

Titanfall 2’s July 25th update includes new horde mode and a free weekend!

For people who enjoy mechas, fast-paced action, first person shooters, and Attack on Titan, Titanfall 2 is the game for you. Despite decent sales for the franchise, Respawn, the developers of the game, continue to pump out new and free content for the series. The new game type will be a Players vs Environment (PvE) called Frontier Defense. Fans of the first game will remember it from the original. The update will release July 25th which includes more maps, Titan Upgrades, and a free weekend to play.

Frontier Defense:

A four player cooperative mode. Your task is to protect the harvester from 5 waves of enemies. Like every horde mode, you’ll earn currency to purchase traps, upgrades, and abilities unique to the mode. There are 4 levels of difficulties: Easy, Medium, Hard, and Master. Insane can be considered one but it’s a feature mode.

There will be 5 maps for the game mode: Homestead, Forwardbase Kodai, War Games, Rise, and Blackwater Canal. Rise is the new map from the previous Titanfall game. There will also be unique upgrades to your Titan and Aegis Ranks exclusively for this mode. If you buy the in-game paint job with real money, you’ll receive double XP until August. 28th.

If you’re interested, the trailer is below. I’m a huge fan of Titanfall 2 and I highly recommend it if you’re a fan of fast-paced shooters.

Sources: Respawn, Polygon, Eurogamer

E3 Wrap Up

E3 2017 is officially over. With so many trailers and gameplay videos out there already, I am only going to write about games that I am looking forward to. I will post an article soon about all the games coming out in 2017 so come back soon!

Assassin’s Creed Origins: After taking a year off to create a full game, Origins is the new title in the Assassin’s Creed series. It will take place in Egypt and you can see through the skies with a hawk! There is a big emphasis on the new weapon: a bow. Melee combat looks more interesting than the previous series. It will be released October 27, 2017. If you pre-order it, you get a bonus DLC.

Anthem: A new Space RPG from Bioware. It looks amazing and it is a 3rd person shooter with customization mech suits. There seems to be an emphasis on Co-Op and is meant to be a rival to Destiny. There’s plenty of space animals and exploration. Visual impressive and something to look forward to.

Dragon Ball Z Fighter: Capcom take notes! This is how a fighting game should look! Dragon Ball Z Fighter is made by Arc System Games who makes the Guilty Gear and Blazblue fighting game series. They are specialist in anime fighters and using 2D – 3D animation look amazing. A 3v3 fighter. So far, the only characters are Goku, Vegeta, Teen Gohan, Buu, Cell, and Frieza. Environments are destructive based on certain moves and deflections similar to the anime itself.

The Evil Within 2: Another game with an American environment. Not much was shown about the game but the Main Character will need to go back into his insane mind to find his daughter.

Kirby: The new Kirby will have a bigger focus on multiplayer. You can create allies by absorbing your enemies and using them to combine your absorbed abilities. You can also play with 4 Kirbys at once!

Metro Exodus: The 3rd entry in the Post-Apocolpytic first person shooter. This will be an open world game. There are a ton of rats and dark environments. Resources are rare and survival is 1st priority.

A Way Out: A Co-Op focused game regarding two guys trying to break out of prison. This game has cut scenes where the players have to agree on certain choices. The story revolves around them breaking out of prison and accepting their past.

Mario Odyssey: Mario’s hat possesses people? It does and the environment looks beautiful. Plenty of 3D platforming and fun based on what I see in trailers. Some of the environments are realistic which is a strange twist. There are still fun worlds that are very Mario-y if that’s a word.

 

E3 Schedule Guide!

Are you excited for E3? If you want to know the upcoming schedule for the event and games being announced, check out teh article.

If you are excited for E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) like myself, I’ll put the whole schedule below so you can plan your day. If you don’t know about E3, it is a huge convention expo dedicated to Video Games and shows off upcoming games from different companies. You can watch the trailers, play demos that won’t be released for months, and see amazing new games in Los Angeles, California. If you can’t go but want to see the event, you can watch it online on Twitch.

I’ll only be posting the time it starts in America. The time is PDT.

EA (Electronic Arts) 12PM – Saturday, June 10th

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If you like Fifa, there will be FIFA 18. Most likely they will announce all their yearly sports series. More importantly, Star Wars Battlefront 2 will have more trailers. Hopefully more news about the story and new game modes will bring people interest after how poorly the first one reviewed. The story is set to be canon and part of the Star Wars story after Return of the Jedi.

Rumors: A new 3rd person shooter from Respawn, developers of Titanfall and a potential rival to “Destiny” from Bioware.

Microsoft 2PM, Sunday, June 11th

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Most exciting news from Microsoft will be their new project Scorpio. Not a new console, but an upgraded version of the Xbox One. It will have 4K resolution, better CPU, GPU, and more memory than the PS4 Pro. Overall, it’ll just be a better version of the Xbox One. If you haven’t gotten one yet, perhaps save your money for this one.

For games, a new Crackdown game although Crackdown 2 reviewed poorly and a Sea of Thieves are confirmed for the show. No rumored big IP (Intellectual Property) but it could still be hidden until the show which is pretty exciting.

Bethesda 9PM, Sunday, June 11th

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Rumors: A sequel to the Wolfenstein story based first person shooter and The Evil Within from the same designer for Resident Evil 4.

Don’t be looking for any news on an upcoming Elder Scrolls or Fallout game. Most likely there will be news regarding Skyrim for the Nintendo Switch and Quake Championship.

PC Gaming 10AM, Monday, June 12th

Usually the PC Gaming show is pretty dull. It’s mostly about new technology coming to PC. They are generally dragged out and most of their trailers are already shown before hand.

Ubisoft 1PM. Monday, June 12th

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Ubisoft has a pretty good schedule this E3. A new Assassin’s Creed that may be a series reboot called “Assassin’s Creed: Origin.” Of course, Far Cry 5 will have some upcoming trailers and The Crew 2. No Beyond Good and Evil 2 unfortunately.

Rumor: Mario Rabbids which had a potential leak a week ago. A collaboration between Nintendo and Ubisoft.

Sony 6PM, Monday, June 12th

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So far, Sony has been pretty good with hosting a good show and having plenty of games to be excited for. Final Fantasy 7, Kingdom Hearts 3, Death Stranded and Shenmue 3 will not be released this year but there may be a trailer. Last year, God of War and Spider-Man had trailers but hopefully they receive an announcement date.

Of course, The Last of Us 2 is on everyone’s mind. After the teaser trailer at Playstation Expo 2016, avid Playstation fans are hoping for a gameplay trailer. Hopefully there will be a more VR games. As of right now, the PSVR needs more solid games such as Resident Evil 6.

Nintendo 9AM, June 13th

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Nintendo will not be having a conference but will have another Nintendo Direct that mostly focuses on Splatoon 2 and ARMS which I mentioned in previous articles. They will also include a Nintendo Treehouse which is an extended direct which will go more in-depth for the new games. Last year, it was a bit long and felt repetitive after it only showed The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Rumors: Super Nintendo Classic Edition.