Video Game Actors

Chloe Price goes on strike!

Me and my brother Jan Švelch have just published an article in Television & New Media about the Life is Strange recasting during the 2016-17 voice actor strike (when, among others, Ashly Burch was replaced by Rhianna DeVries as the popular character of Chloe Price). We’ve been interested in video game voice acting for a long time – and were shocked there had been next to no research on the topic! To what extent has the audience identified the character Chloe with her performers? And what does it tell us about video game acting as labor? Read the abstract below:

Video game voice acting does not rank among the core roles of video game production, yet actors in leading roles sometimes achieve wide recognition despite their contingent employment. In this article, we explore the role of voice actors in the video game culture using the specific case of the recasting of the video game series Life Is Strange, which was caused by the 2016 to 2017 SAG-AFTRA strike against video game companies. Our qualitative empirical analysis of journalistic coverage (including interviews with voice actors), promotional materials, press releases, and player discussions reconstructs the events of the game’s production and investigates the reception of the recasting with regard to actor-character identification and to labor conditions of voice actors. We find that voice actors, whose status is partly dependent on the popularity of their characters, attempt to rise “above the line” by engaging in relational labor.

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