For those who have been following the labor strike of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), another critical moment has occurred, and the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) will be joining them on the picket lines starting after midnight of July 14, 2023. These groups will work together to pressure the AMPTP into meeting more amenable terms for all parties.
This strike began on May 2, 2023, when the WGA and AMPTP could not reach an agreement. The WGA and SAG-AFTRA are both seeking base pay and residuals regarding streaming television services and to ensure that AI outlets will not replace their work provided to any television shows or films. With this all happening and both parties not working together, some fans might be curious about how encompassing the strike is. Does this have to do with video games, and does the Writer’s and Actor’s strike mean for gaming?
How the 2023 Writer’s & Actor’s Strike Affects Video Games
It’s important to notice the rules the writers and actors who are a part of these groups have to follow during this extremely important strike. It’s relatively similar for both parts. The WGA outlined that all writers were prohibited from doing any type of writing, revising, pitching, and they are not allowed to discuss future projects with companies from the AMPTP. The members of the SAG AFTRA have a similar format where they are not allowed to join in any promotional work, take part in a press junket, attend film premieres, or join in any major events.
Based on these rules and how the WGA and the SAG-AFTRA operate, it’s extremely unlikely that these current strikes will impact any video games. There is the chance there could be issues, especially if a writer for a video game is with the WGA or if any actors from the SAG-AFTRA participate in voice acting or provide motion capture for a game, especially one with a movie tie-in .
If a video game with a motion picture or television tie-in falls under the umbrella of the AMPTP organization, things can likely become much more complicated. These are extremely unlikely, and many of the video games coming out right now do not occur in these circles. A majority of video games are relatively safe and likely won’t be impacted by this. In contrast, many films, television, and shows on streaming platforms will feel this the hardest, including live events like the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con.
The goal of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike is for the members of these groups to have more protection in the workplace from being taken advantage of and increased base pay. This is especially important in the face of a modern landscape alongside so many streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, and Max, to name a few. Not to mention the WGA fears of having to feel competitive with the growing AI programs, which might undermine them as a way to cut corners, potentially making it easier for larger companies to take advantage of any writer, and the same goes for many actors.
For now, fans of video games do not have anything to fear from the current strike from writers and actors. However, some video game companies are already looking into ways how they can use AI to workaround some of the writing processes.
Although the tasks shared by these companies are said to be small, it could be a slippery slope to where they continue to edge out more writing teams and streamline the process. A similar fight could come to video games in the next several years, especially as more AI programs become more sophisticated, even though they are still unable to replace the authenticity of any human writer diligently working behind the keyboard, putting their heart and soul into every key stroke.