If you play video games with sound on, you’ve probably heard Jennifer Hale’s voice more than once: She’s a voice actress with countless credits under her belt, including many for MMOs, like World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, Elder Scrolls Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Marvel Heroes, Heroes of the Storm, Diablo III, and EverQuest II. Perhaps her most iconic role, however, is as FemShep in the Mass Effect series. And she’s just one of the many voice actors involved in the strike we’ve been covering since last week.
In an interview given to NPR over the weekend, Hale argued that the strikers are targeting a dozen studios whose games sell more than 2 million units. For smaller developers, she says, the terms of the proposed agreement are better for everyone, as it opens up the guild to work with more studios and vice versa. And while Hale acknowledges that some acting groups have broken with the strike, she says most are in “solidarity” with the SAG-AFTRA because they “recognise that what’s at stake is their own ability to buy a home in the future, put their kids through school.” Hale herself might be part of the lucky elite, but most of the actors striking are freelancers seeking better employment rates and treatment. “This is a war on the middle class,” she says.
GIbiz reports that Scott Witlins, the lawyer for the affected companies, including ActiBlizz, EA, and Disney, says the actors’ “position doesn’t fit in with this industry” and that their work “represent[s] less than one tenth of 1% of the work that goes into making a video game” — that it wouldn’t be fair to pay them under “vastly different system” from everyone else working on these titles.
Picketing is set to begin in Playa Vista, California, early this afternoon.