While most of us were off exploring Hyrule or the Mushroom Kingdom, our little industry was growing up. As technology continues to develop gaming heroes and villains are becoming more and more lifelike, especially when it comes to their voices. Once confined to silence or the occasional "Yahoo!", game characters are speaking their minds more and more these days. Now the people behind those voices - Hollywood celebrities in the Screen Actor's Guild or American Federation of Television and Radio Artists - are on the verge of a strike in the realm of video game performance. Boing Boing has the story.
The Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA are in a critical, final stretch of negotiations with a group of major vidgame publishers, all of which have come to rely on union talent for increasingly cinematic -- and lucrative -- vidgames. The last contract covered Electronic Arts, some 70 other big gaming companies agreed to its terms.
A strike puts a halt to actors reprising their roles in video game adaptations of Hollywood films. No Sean Connery in From Russia With Love, no Samuel L. Jackson in the various games based on Revenge of the Sith, no Tobey Maguire in the inevitable pre-Spider-man 3 game. Beyond these obvious ramifications are the actors that you probably don't notice but would miss all the same. Say goodbye to John DiMaggio (probably best known as Futurama's Bender). James Woods back for the next Grand Theft Auto? Nope. Even Mario himself, Charles Martinet, would fall silent for Nintendo's microphones if Hollywood and gaming went their separate ways for a while.
With the most recent contract between SAG and AFTRA set to expire tomorrow, time is quickly running out before voice work comes to a stop. Both sides will eventually hammer something out (there's too much money at stake to not come to an agreement) and chances are the actors will end up with a pay raise. Don't be surprised if the gaming industry passes that cost on to the consumer. Maybe it's a good thing that Link is a man of few words.