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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

No spoilers, except of how terrible we are

Butch:

I got nothing. My mother showed up unannounced, Mrs. McP came home early.

I WANT TO PLAY! Really I do!

But, here’s something tangentially related to a game we (I) am currently playing and a game we will play and it pretty much sucks:

Ashly Burch ‘Heartbroken’ She Won’t Play Chloe In Life Is Strange Prequel kotaku.com
As the longest strike in Screen Actors Guild history chugs on, video game voice actors are making painful career sacrifices to show solidarity with their union. 234 days into the strike, after Microsoft announced Life Is Strange: Before The Storm, fans immediately sussed out that award-winning voice actress and SAG-AFTRA member Ashly Burch will not reprise her original role as the rebellious teen Chloe.

This strike ain’t gonna end. They give the actors residuals, they’ll have to give Buttons residuals.

Feminina:

Oh man! That sucks. But yeah, complicated I guess. If you ask me I’m all for Buttons AND actors getting more money, but I suppose that’s a hard sell if you have to talk to your investors about them making less money, or whatever.

But people want to be paid for their work, and it’s hard to argue with the contention that if someone ELSE is still getting paid for my work 10 years from now or whatever, I also should be.

I mean, not me personally, since if anything my labor is likely to leach value OUT of the institution in 10 years (just kidding, my workplace!) but as a general concept.

I salute you, Ashly Burch. I hate the idea of Life is Strange or (horror!) Horizon Zero Naptime without her, but I respect the decision.

Butch:

Well, in other art forms, like, say, opera, in which my uncle has worked for 40 years, EVERYONE is union. He’s in the designers guild, the electrician’s guild (which is the same one as, like, power line dudes*), the carpenter’s guild, the scene painters’ guild, etc. And they all have rules, and their cut, etc. (This is to say nothing of the cut that Equity, SAG, the director’s guild and the writer’s guild get).

Now…games are an art form, and people are starting to get that.

SAG has reached out to everyone else that makes games and offered to help them unionize.

The publishers do not like this.

I mean, now, the Buttonses of the world are just employees at will, with no real rights or bargaining power or residuals. Imaging if the writers’ guild, the directors’ guild etc. got into EA and Bethesda and Square Enix. Imagine if, all of a sudden, there was an Engine Coder’s guild, a Level Designer’s guild, a motion capture guild, I could go on. All those rules…all those pieces of the tasty, tasty pie.

So is SAG gets residuals based on sales, the Buttonses of the world may well say “Hey, if them, why not us? Hey….come to think of it, WHY NOT US?”

The industry will do anything to keep that first domino from falling and having their art form resemble…well…every other damn one that’s made by groups of people.

Cuz it adds up! My uncle has designed enough sets in his day that the VAST majority of his income isn’t actually designing new ones, it’s getting paid when sets he made five, ten, even twenty years ago get rented out. Note: designed. He doesn’t OWN them, the opera companies do. They warehouse them, store them, keep them nice, and then write a check to some dude in New York they haven’t seen in ten years when they rent them out. The companies are a tad irked at that, but unions be unions.

My uncle makes good money. A vast percentage of it is no small thing.

So imagine that the game publishers really, really don’t want to go down that road.

Feminina:

I’m sure from the company’s point of view it’s a huge hassle, as well as an expense. You have to hire someone just to manage the paperwork, keeping track of who did what and needs to get paid when! Cutting all those checks to dudes in New York ain’t free!

But if that’s what you gotta do, that’s what you gotta do, and as a pinko commie liberal in Massachusetts, I gotta side with the unions (even though I’m technically management, and the natural antagonist of the union). Just do it, people. Respect labor!

Butch:

Either way, I gotta get my gamez made!

The publishers will have to give eventually. Each passing day, AAA games get more theatrical. It’s only a matter of time before they need actual lighting guys doing the lighting for cutscenes, so something of that nature. It’s only a matter of time before writers join the writers guild, or directors join the directors guild. They’re delaying the inevitable.

What’s stunning to me is that they can get ANYONE to do Chloe. I certainly hope that new Chloe knows that she will never, EVER get SAG-AFTRA work ever again ever. If you’re an actor, crossing those picket lines is career suicide. I was afraid when this strike happened that game development (or, at least games with voices) would come to a screeching halt as no one would take the work.

But there’s SO much money at stake. Part of the reason, say, opera companies don’t mind renting out their sets, even if they have to write a check to the designers, is that they need that revenue to ensure they’ll survive. Opera isn’t exactly lucrative, and any revenue stream the companies can get is something they vitally need, even if they have to share it. The same cannot be said of the average AAA game. There’s no reason for EA to grudgingly share a piece of the pie.

Feminina:

Maybe a specialized group of games-only voice actors will develop, of people who intentionally decide to give up the chances of other work in order to take game jobs. Obviously that’s a sucky choice to have to make, but enough people need work that someone would probably do it. Then you’d have this whole community of non-union folks who only do game voices, and hey, if you can’t get any other voice work maybe you’ll also take a sucky paycheck! A nice exploitable labor force.

Now I kind of feel like we shouldn’t even PLAY this new Chloe, but of course by that logic we couldn’t play anything at all until the strike is settled, and…and…that could be years…and we gots to play games!!!!!

Don’t make me stop playing games! I’m moral but not that moral! Damn it.

Butch:

I, too, will cross picket lines.

Cuz it’s gonna start showing up more. It’s lasted, I just checked, 234 days. That’s a lot. It’s the longest strike in SAG history.

Thankfully, it seems Uncharted’s Chloe is voiced correctly. I’ll take one Chloe out of two.

Feminina:

We lack the courage of our convictions when it comes to facing the long, bleak days without video games.

I mean, I guess we could just replay old games. Games we never got around to. Games we have to dig out the PS3 for. (Good luck with that.)

But then we’ll MISS OUT whine whine whine.

Basically, we’re weak and morally compromised. What’cha gonna do.

Butch:

Accept our weak and immoral state. It’s been working this long.

Feminina:

It also explains our obsession with booze and nudity.

Butch:

Did we really need to explain that?

Oh, and since we’re talking about other posts today:

Women Play Video Games
kotaku.com

I’m stunned. STUNNED I tell you.

Feminina:

They do?! No way, man. I refuse to believe it.

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