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Troy Baker Says He Didn't Play Rhys in Borderlands 3 Because Gearbox "Wouldn't Go Union"

Baker comments on why he didn't return for Rhys' mainline Borderlands debut.

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ElementX626d ago (Edited 626d ago )

Who cares? In this article it says Gearbox offers industry standard rates and offers voice work to salaried employees. Why pay somebody more because they're part of a union? Might as well give it to somebody already on the payroll, hell I'd do it. I'm a machinist and I'm not part of a union, I get great benefits and pay without one.

https://www.eurogamer.net/a...

CobraKai625d ago

But since Baker is part of the Union, his hands are tied. The Union will not allow him to work on Non-Union gigs. It’s not about the money. Baker would face consequences for violating union agreements.

625d ago
DarXyde625d ago

shaggy2303,

On the other hand, you know GM is holding their union workers' health benefits hostage while exercising their right to strike, right?

TK-66625d ago (Edited 625d ago )

@Shaggy

"And that's why I totally disagree with unions in any form of industry"

Yeah unions > having your healthcare withdrawn by your employer for going on strike.

You're so quick to denounce and reject a union having any influence over the workplace but will gladly shill for corporations to control your life. Also unions do more than just ensure you get good pay and work benefits. They also ensure legal representation, and in case you're as ignorant as you appear to be on employment law the standards of evidence are stacked in favour of the employers.

Shikoku625d ago (Edited 625d ago )

Yes he can we union employees do it all the time to organize.

KillBill624d ago

The point being that all others working on the game would then also need to be in the union or be fired. So why make everyone unionize because one person chose to join a union that prevents him to do non-union work?

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 624d ago
BranWheatKillah625d ago

It's too bad you're not in a union and that they're not what they once were. You'd be getting paid double with better benefits but nah... lets make you work harder for less pay.

625d ago
rainslacker625d ago

Guilded actors can be fined, by the union they pay to be a part of, for working for a union shop. Kind of a screwed up system, but voice actors do have some valid concerns that go beyond money, as money is negotiated with every contract anyways. No voice actor is on salary with any developer or publisher. Same goes for most actors in the SAG, and any number of tv/movie productions where all the people who work on production are likely unionized. Them being unionized means that the studios have to be in order to get them to work.

Unions aren't perfect but they aren't completely useless. Sometimes they don't work, sometimes they do. I don't agree with holding professionals right to work elsewhere without consequence as a good thing, but these actors are of their own free will to sign up for the union, but it also means they may have to give up work from companies that aren't union shops.

Not all of this pertains to every production, as not all productions fall under general actor unions. For instance, I think motion capture isn't the same as studio work, so a motion capture contract he wouldn't be restricted from. This may have changed since last I read about it years ago though.

ElementX625d ago (Edited 625d ago )

Unions are optional. If you want to join one then go for it. They talk about better benefits, pay, etc but when I was an "in-house" security officer I had better benefits and pay working for the property owners than those contract security guys. When the company I worked for sold the property, the new owners brought in contract people. The contract company kept us on the payroll with the benefits we had because we knew the building. All those other "rent a cop" guys were makings less and had far fewer vacation days.

At my current job, we're non-union machinists. A union will probably get you a yearly raise, but we get them anyway and in addition, I've received several $1/hr raises in the 5 years I've been there.

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XiNatsuDragnel626d ago

Unions in gaming are necessary especially crunch times.

Bathyj625d ago

Unions are only necessary if your boss is shit.
If you don't like crunch time, the games industry isn't right for you. Be a florist or something.

SamPao625d ago

Or make the workplace a better place and still be part of it. its not that weird of a thought is it?

CosmicTurtle625d ago

I don’t work in the games industry but still don’t like human beings being put under ridiculous unhealthy levels of pressure, especially at companies like Rockstar who can absolutely afford to employ enough staff.

Bathyj625d ago

Can we all agree that crunchtime is part of the game production pipeline and everyone aspiring to be a GameMaker knows that?

It's just the nature of the business.

It's at the end when the deadline is looming that everyone has to put in extra. Even marathon runners that have jogged along for hours at a brisk pace and are physically and mentally exhausted must put in that extra burst of energy at the end and cross the finish line.

Besides, actors aren't affected by crunchtime. They finish their work a year before the game is out. It's the texture guys, the animators, the play testers that are doing 80 hour weeks for 3 months before release day.

Razmiran625d ago

No no no
Unions force bosses to not be shit, bosses would be much shittier if the threat of organized workers didnt exist

Kran625d ago

@Bathyj

"Can we all agree that crunchtime is part of the game production pipeline and everyone aspiring to be a GameMaker knows that?"

No. I won't agree. You can make a game without forcing your staff to spend unrelenting hours on a video game. We've seen this many times where you can make a fantastic game without crunching staff.

Video game businesses that do this are just greedy and just want money ASAP and make the next moneymaker ASAP rather than taking their time, delivering a high quality product and earning lots of money later down the lne.

WombBat625d ago

I actually agree with John Carmack on this. There is no need to unionize and/or legislate work hours.

Believe me, these guys working on these games can pivot into any other CS industry and make 3x the money with better work hours yet a lot of people dont make the move. It's about passion.

Many are willing to go through the trenches to get into the game industry but its so small and competitive that it's already hard to break in. With unions and laws in place, it would be even more impossible to break in.

Juusterey625d ago

Or
have people who don't just lie down and take it and make the industy better?

KillBill624d ago

Obviously you have never been a florist. But you are correct that the game industry does not grow with unionization nor does it allow for the best people to do the job needed.

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bluefox755625d ago

You can expect game production to suffer greatly if it happens.

BranWheatKillah625d ago

Holy shit, fuck so many of you callous assholes that think it's okay for people to have to work 80 hours a week because "they knew what they were getting into or they could leave."

Fuck you so much.

rainslacker625d ago (Edited 625d ago )

I work in the industry. While I know it happens, it's not something I'd say happens at 80 hour weeks at consistently regular intervals, and more often than not, crunch is maybe an extra hour a day for a couple weeks, and sometimes a Saturday. I'd also say that it's not so widespread across the industry that it means the entire industry needs to unionize.

Moreso, the fact that the entire industry, at least in the US, could be unionized based on less than 10% of developers actually wanting it is not a good thing at all. I don't want to join a union, because I don't like giving money to people who are only doing for me, what I can do for myself. I know how much in demand my skills are, I don't need them to fight for me, because others in the industry know how much in demand my skills are. I negotiated my pay and benefits at the start of my work, to be reviewed every 3 years for updates. So far, I've been fair in what I ask for, and the company has been fair in giving me what I asked for.

The truth is, a skilled developer can pretty much talk all the shit they want to their boss, and continue working, or if they happen to get fired because they decide to do it in front of the wrong person, then they can probably easily get a job at the studio down the road. There is an extreme shortage of skilled labor in the gaming industry right now, but also in the general IT industry, as well as all the graphic design fields out there. There are many going into graphic design, so things are better there, but a skilled, and especially an experienced game developer has a hell of a lot more power over their career prospects than any union ever could hope to achieve.

Thank you for your concern on my, and any of my developer brethren's behalf. We don't need you to fight for us, or discuss these topics on our behalf, when you are so clearly ignorant of the industry as a whole, and what unions could possibly achieve for us as workers in the industry. Trust me, we in the industry are very smart, and capable of making decisions for ourselves, and this discussion has been ongoing for a couple decades now. Nothing is so pressing that you need to get this worked up over it. Almost all of us could go find jobs that pay more, with potentially better working conditions.

KillBill624d ago

You are completely misinformed on the job being discussed and the work requirements.

625d ago
rainslacker625d ago (Edited 625d ago )

Unions in gaming would probably shut down the gaming industry, and you'd probably see your games taking 7-8 years to release, instead of 5.

And what bathy says is true. If you don't like crunch, gaming isn't for you. Good developers just need to find a studio that's managed properly, and crunch is usually limited.

This idea that the whole of the gaming industry is just this terrible place to work is misguided. There are bad studios out there. There are good ones. Some have too much crunch, some have almost none. A union isn't going to make things better at that poorly managed one, and it's only going to hinder the good management at well run studios, because unions effectively take away any and all control from management to do jack shit to hold their employees accountable outside egregious circumstances.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 624d ago
EmperorDalek625d ago

The characters just don't feel right, the voice actor changes for Rhys and Claptrap stick out like a sore thumb.

Kran625d ago

For Rhys, absolutely. The personality change is there and makes no sense.

For Claptrap, I mean I could tell at first but I could hardly notice, eventually I just got used to his voice. Doesn't mean its right though mind.

OhReginald625d ago

Unionizing the gaming industry will be its downfall.

DaDrunkenJester625d ago

Once its union the price of games and the inclusion of MT's will get higher. As they'll now need to pay higher wages as well as pay all the union fees for every employee. Not only that but it's going to hurt B-tier voice actors getting work because why pay the same rate for a B-tier when you could pay the same for Troy or Nolan because of scale rates.

Gameseeker_Frampt625d ago

Yet none of what you predicted has come true with movies even though that industry is unionized. Nice work Nostradamus!

TK-66624d ago (Edited 624d ago )

@DaDrunkenJester

"Not only that but it's going to hurt B-tier voice actors getting work because why pay the same rate for a B-tier when you could pay the same for Troy or Nolan because of scale rates."

We literally had an article, like a month back, about how Baker didn't get roles, and the reason given was "hes in too much stuff". So evidently your prediction isnt coming true. Also Nolan North was a VA in only 3 games last year so if you think he's getting all the roles you're deluded.

Facts don't care about your feelings, and that prediction of yours was 100% feelz over realz.

gamer7804625d ago

its a free market system.... you are free to join a union, but companies are free to not work with unions.

rainslacker625d ago (Edited 625d ago )

You aren't always free to join or opt out of a union. Usually you have no choice but to work for a union to join a union shop. If you don't join then you can limit your options when looking for a job, and if you do join, you can limit your choices when looking for a job.

Moreover, the decision to join a union isn't always based on majority consensus, but rather if just enough people want to unionize. That's a bad thing IMO, as less than 10% of people in a shop can make that decision for 100% of the people.

On top of that, once a union is in place, it's almost impossible to get rid of it if it ends up not being good for the workers. Unions generally work on the idea of getting their foot in the door, because after that, they pretty much are in for life.

It's a tricky situation when it's a serious reality of happening. Things can get heated, but it's always kind of a rough transition, particularly if the workers and management aren't really aware of how everything is supposed to work, and who is responsible for what.

gamer7804625d ago (Edited 625d ago )

Well yes and no, yah you are right you don't have to choose a job thats heavily unionized, but there usually are options if you don't want to join the union where you work, although not always Sometimes if you have a spouse that has good benefits already you can opt out of the union and miss out on some of the benefits but then you can pocket your union dues. My wife has done this in the past.

rainslacker625d ago

It would really depend on the nature of the union. When most people talk unions, they think of auto workers, or maybe dock workers, because they are the most well known and prolific unions out there.

Not all unions are set up to completely marginalize what management does,like when a manager needs to handle something, they cant do it directly, but have to go through the union. Not all are set up to make it so ots really hard to get fired, so may just offer recourse on behalf of that employee if they are fired to see if it was justified.

However, I think that a game industry union would be set up much like the way movies are set up. A lot of those people are contract workers, and generally, there isn't much difference in the way the two production pipelines work. Their union works for them a lot of times, but it also restricts the production companies options, and makes it so productions are longer and more expensive. A union won't always be a benefit for both parties, and they're never really set up with that intent.

I just feel unionizing the whole of the industry because there are some bad shops out there is a bad idea, and I think when the discussion really comes up within back channels for devs, they often come to the same conclusion that it just wouldn't work the way they think.

The biggest reason unions havent taken hold in the industry is because it's never really been made clear what benefit it could really bring to working conditions. Many in the industry are fairly pragmatic, and know why crunch happens, and this broad generalization that its lots of hours all the time is just not true. It's also understood that without these crunch times, it can completely stall or derail a production. Better pay and benefits is not typically a consideration, especially nowadays where most are contract workers, and the industry cant afford to keep a full staff on the payroll for an entire production. It's just the way it is, and contractors typically paid really well, and dont often have trouble finding work where they can negotiate their pay. Unions may actually hurt their ability to negotiate, as one aspect of unions is equal pay, regardless of work. I know many of the high performers in the industry get paid a lot more because they perform, but unions could change that dynamic

KillBill624d ago

And who's fault is that...? The unions. They are the only ones limiting the hiring criteria in the situation.

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