Unlike the stars of the Silver Screen, video game #Voice Actors very rarely receive the credit that they are due. It's a sad state of affairs, but it's the reality of the situation all the same. Even the most fanatical of gamers would be hard-pressed to name any superstar voice actors, bar a few notable exceptions (Troy Baker, Nolan North, Tara Strong). Indeed, like most people who work on video-games, voice actors are just the unsung heroes of an industry that refuses to take itself seriously as an art-form. As far as AAA publishers are concerned, video games are a Business and nothing more, and so there's accordingly no need to treat the individuals who craft their products with any respect.

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Voice actors to take industrial action

Well it seems like those individuals are finally starting to take a stand, as The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is now threatening to go on #Strike, should a series of demands not be met. The guild has specifically addressed 11 AAA publishers, including Warner Bros. and EA (both of whom are notorious amongst gamers for their shady practices). 

What the Guild wants

There are a variety of stipulations to #SAG-AFTRA's demands, including one that dictates that performers should be entitled to a greater share of the profits, if a game sells upwards of two million copies. The reasoning behind this, is that similar arrangements are permitted for those working in the film industry. Elsewhere the guild proposes that actors should be granted ''stunt pay'' for any recording sessions that they deem to be ''vocally stressful'', which essentially means that performers should be paid extra if they are required to scream, screech or otherwise exert themselves.

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Likewise, there is also a concern that voice actors are often being required to shout for hours at a time without breaks, reportedly leading to severe damage to their vocal chords, and that this needs to be ratified immediately. 

In general however, the overarching concern is that the video game industry is a massively profitable one, and yet at the same time, voice actors seem to gain no benefit from that fact whatsoever. Gabrielle Carteris, the guild's president, has reasoned that such a lucrative industry should readily reward the people that contribute to it, and distribute profits in a way that fairly represents the hard work of voice actors. In his words, he wants to see voice actors receive the "benefits they deserve''. 

The strike

The guild has thus informed its members to be prepared for industrial action as of October 21st. Should a final resolution not be made by October 19th, then guild members will be required to stop work on any game that entered production after February 17th 2015.

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It is worth stressing, that only the aforementioned targeted companies will be subject to the strike however. 

In an burgeoning industry that is still trying to find its feet artistically, this is definitely a positive step. Voice Actors are an integral part of creating fully realized characters, which in turn makes them the emotional anchors for their respective games. There is no good reason them, why they should not be treated with the same respect as their cinematic and tele-visual counterparts.