U.K. Actors Union Equity Strikes First-Ever Video Game Deal For Voice Talent With Studio OMUK

Actors’ union Equity has struck its first ever agreement covering voice talent working on video games.

The 18-month deal, which sets out minimum fees and conditions of engagement, was made with voice production studio OMUK, which has cast and recorded voices for video games including “Horizon Zero Dawn” (pictured), “Game of Thrones” and “Second Extinction.”

The agreement runs until April 2023.

Among the conditions of engagement demanded by the deal are a commitment to providing more information to actors prior to audition or offer in orderto prepare them for battle scenes (which can cause vocal damage) or sensitive content such as sex scenes.

The contract also sets out minimum fees, which start at £300 ($400) per hour on a ‘Standard’ game (one with a budget of more than £5 million ($6.6 million)) and drop to £175 ($230)) per hour for a ‘Micro’ game (one with a budget of under £0.5m).

The first hour on any game will also be paid twice the hourly rate

“I am deeply grateful for the dedication of the voice actors who took the initiative and did the legwork that kickstarted the necessary consultation between industry producers, Equity and the agents,” said Mark Estdale, voice director and managing director of OMUK. “Without their work this agreement would not exist. This agreement is significant for all those working within and for the games industry. Like the TV, Stage and Film agreements it gives clarity regarding pay and best practice. Without taking this step, the games industry would remain the ‘Wild West’ of media even though it’s now probably the biggest employer of talent.”

I” am hopeful that this agreement will now become broadly endorsed and adopted. The terms of the agreement will be publicly available as I believe that broader scrutiny and transparency regarding good practice and pay are beneficial for a healthy creative industry. U.K. game development, supported by BAFTA is renowned for leading creative innovation and nurturing new talent, so I am particularly delighted that we have an agreement that is tiered in a way that supports and encourages micro and indie budget game development.”

Laurence Bouvard, voice actor and chair of Equity’s Screen and New Media Committee, added: “We are delighted to share with our colleagues in the games industry the news that the long-awaited Equity U.K. agreement for voice actors in video games is now official, with its first signatory Mark Estdale of OMUK, a leading studio in games audio. This ground-breaking agreement, drawn up as the result of months of consultations with U.K.-based actors, agents, and studios alike, reflects best practice and a mutual desire to achieve excellence in a safe and supportive working environment. This document has long been urgently needed to navigate the opportunities provided to performers in the rapidly expanding games industry, and we are grateful to everyone who has worked hard with us to make it happen. We have no doubt that other studios will soon follow Mark’s lead in signing up to this agreement, helping to further raise the profile of the already thriving UK games industry on the global stage.”

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