There might be an end in sight for the voice actors' strike that's troubled game productions for the last year or so, based on a press release issued this afternoon by SAG-AFTRA, the union representing the voice actors. A tentative agreement has been reached with the 11 game companies they were striking against.
If you're unfamiliar with the strike, this piece will help.
The big takeaways: a new bonus structure for additional sessions, resulting in additional payments to voice actors; new requirements on disclosure and transparency when it comes to the way game companies pitch projects; an "employer commitment" to work on the "issue of vocal stress during the term of the agreement." (That last one seems awfully vague and non-committal.)
The disclosure change is a humorously ridiculous concession by the video game industry. Read this:
"The new transparency provisions 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," said Rodriguez. "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
It's absurd companies were ever able to get away with that to begin with.
Unfortunately, it does appear the voice actors failed to secure one of their big negotiating points: residuals. This would have allowed them to make money on a game, based on sales after release. The bonus structure appears to be a compromise, with the hope of extracting more concessions, whenever the next contract comes up. (I would put the odds of this happening at low, however.)
The contract will be formally reviewed at a SAG-AFTRA meeting next month.