I agree, and I don’t know all the details. Contracts can be broken, but who knows what the terms for that were at the time. This is a very different situation than her knowing from jump no matter how you cut it. Also her comments after the fact are not great. It’s a unenviable situation to be in and I doubt there was a graceful exit for her once the swap was made.
I’ve been beating that drum for a few years now
And yeah the downvotes on my talk seem to come from a concentrated group of idiots from fringe internet groups, because a lot of the downvotes showed up less than an hour after the video went up.
Also, even on Gamasutra, people seem to think I’m saying “make everyone black” as a solution, when I also criticize boring, safe, black characters, like Lincoln Clay.
Maybe? Perhaps this is ignorance, but I have a hard time believing walking away would seriously hurt the career of someone like Laura Bailey. Or a Nolan North, or a Steve Blum, or any other voice actor who seems to be in All The Things™. It’s different when it’s someone like Ashley Burch, who isn’t as established or ubiquitous, no?
Still, you’ve got a point. For Uncharted 4, Naughty Dog and the VGAs should be the ones to take the lion’s share of criticism.
Strange that they’d complain about only one particular group of people getting most, or all, of the representation in art! As if there’s something inherently wrong with that. Interesting!
So close to realization and yet so very, very far.
Attempting to fuck over SCEA on an Uncharted game would tank anybody’s career. You’d be lucky to make scale in an indie game for the rest of your life, after they sued you into the ground for breach of contract.
And anyway, once her performance was in the can, she can’t do anything to stop them changing things about it.
I will never “expect” an individual worker to destroy themselves over a point of principle when their opponent is a multinational corporation. This is why we have unions and why SAG-AFTRA is important.
I mean… Games isn’t exactly all that she’s… done?
When Ed Skrein took a similar stance, if memory serves, he was treated like a hero for a week or two?
We also seem to be very carefully avoiding career histories, and treating this like some aberration, which seems odd. Following several discussions (I think on these forums even?) about Faye Lee, Chul-Li, Kait Diaz, Angela Che- I mean, at some point you get into cartoons and anime, some of which are dubs, and I don’t know where people’s thoughts on that land just yet. (Seems like people are oddly just - more vaguely fine with it, for whatever reason?)
But the whole… “This is just one bad, shitty situation nobody could have avoided, oh well!” seems more… uhh… out of place in context in my head I guess? It also makes me way less comfortable with the, “oh, but look at how good a job the character artist did! It’d be a shame to not wear such beautiful digital bla-” -hmm… I just… nah? as… a defense of it? (Edit: The thing I guess I haven’t been able to find is a substantial comment, or apology, or anything beyond just “I didn’t know, look at how awesome my character is tho!” which is the one thing I’m certain bothers me. Now if only I was certain it didn’t exist, and it wasn’t just super hard to find.)
I dunno. This has been an interesting thread to read.
I’ve recently come around on this in a big way on this and pretty much changed my hair splitting stance in the previous thread. It’s very messy. It would be awesome if the VGAs and similar award programmes adopted some of the criteria that the BAFTA plans on implementing going forward.
Tldr: In order to qualify for Outstanding British Film and/or Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer you have to meet some combination of the following in respect to minorities:
• On screen representation, themes and narratives
• Project leadership and creative practitioners
• Industry access and opportunities
• Opportunities for diversity in audience development.
this is real funny because she couldn’t even keep a consistent accent. she sounded like a mix of british, south african and australian depending on the scene
is it bad that as person of color, I’m not mad at Laura? I read every comment in the thread and saw that a lot of you made great points but I don’t necessarily agree with all of them. People of color are hardly ever represented in gaming today, as someone who wants to see more characters of color (shoutout to Bayek), I want more developers to create more characters that look like me. Do I think Naughty Dog should’ve hired an actual black person to play Nadine? Yes. But as someone said earlier, I’d rather be represented this way than in no way. Is that messed up to say?
I… Think that is a question and a discussion that is better had between you and other people of color, because I don’t know that I personally would feel like I was able to bring anything worthwhile to that discussion as a caucasian. I will say that when I previously had discussions surrounding a census agreement in different groups and cultures I happen to be part of, I usually found it important to remember that your own experience and viewpoint matters, because it is yours. Listening to other people’s opinions on a subject can help you reflect on both the subject and your own opinion, and might help you better understand where your own opinion comes from and if the new perspective changes it.
It’s not messed up. You’re not required to be angry at things–we all pick and choose our battles anyways. Representation (like a lot of political issues) is intensely personal.
Like, I personally agree with the people calling for an end to casting white VAs as everyone (Steven Universe, at least, should be proof that people don’t need to) but it isn’t for me to tell you what your stance should be. You’re engaging with the topic and other people’s arguments while working through how you feel. I don’t know that I could ask anything more from you
As someone of color as well, I’m in a similar stance. However, learning that the devs turned the character from a different ethic group is something to be aware of with this situation. I will still love all the work these actors do but if there is a problem when things like representation and questionable practices we do need to bring it up.
I think making policies or rules that depend on the color of someone’s skin (only black people are allowed to VO black characters, only white people allowed to VO white characters, that sort of thing) is a dangerous solution to this problem, and I think there are better ways to make this all work. But I understand that trying to look at this problem from a neutral or practical standpoint is not appreciated among strongly opinionated people. (I am anti-racist too, btw.) But I guess I can not be of any help here.
Always be cautious you don’t become the thing you fear.
I don’t think anyone is saying that there should be hard and fast rules, just that we call out egregious anti-diversity moves by studios. I personally think the Naughty Dog situation was over the line, maybe you think differently. But in the end, discussing these matters isn’t tantamount to banning casting someone to play a different ethnicity. It’s simply players discussing how they feel about the games they play.
Here’s the way I look at it, as the most boring-ass white dude who’s never been discriminated against in his life -
I think, ultimately, the long-term goal should be to get this, and any other industry, to the point where they are selecting the proverbial “best person for the job,” because there aren’t any cultures, ethnicities, genders, orientations, etc, that are routinely under- or mis-represented. But, as Keynes once said, in the long term we’re all dead.
So, until we get to a place where we can see that everyone is getting a fair shake, the only way to address it is with specific targets, i.e., “It would be great if every actor were equally considered for every part, but until we reach that state, at the very minimum people from minority cultures should be representing those cultures.” (And the fact that some dude can jump in to name the 3 times a white person was portrayed by a non-white person off the top of their head really doesn’t prove anything. You can’t disprove a systemic problem with a couple of anecdotes.)
That is the goal, of course. More opportunity, so it doesn’t look like blatant robbery.
Again, not an industry insider or anything, but it also feels like a problem with a snake eating its own tail.
Most media you watch or play is probably going to have very few characters with pronounced, identifiable accents. You’ll get the occasional splash of color here and there, but by and large most cartoons or games have very neutral casts, or the voices people need to do are so outlandish it hardly matters. Most of the accents you’re going to run into are just variations on English is well, so you’ll get your Irish characters, Brits, Scotts, southerners, stuff like that.
So that creates a problem. If you’re looking for people who don’t have identifiable accents for the majority of your casting, you’re going to find very few professional voice actors who have natural accents. The people with the least distinct generic voice will get the most work because creators are not looking for a character with a distinct South African accent.
This in turn creates a problem for when you actually DO want someone with that pronounced accent. You’re either going to have a whole field of white people who do a lot of work and have learned to do different accents, or you’re going to have to scrounge to find a good voice actor with the natural dialect you’re looking for.
There is nothing to “scrounge” for, because the actors are out there. It is up to the studios/developers who hire actors to actually put in the work of hiring someone that fits the character’s race. And really, having seen a panel on the 10th anniversary of Uncharted and how they have a guy named Robin Atkin Dowes up there who played a majority of characters who were not white like him, shows Naughty Dog does not put up as much work as they like people to think. Neil Druckmann (the guy who hired Laura) acting like he is the most progressive person in the world when he does something like this shows Naughty Dog needs to regain my trust. Ubisoft, and any other developers out there as well.
Hence the snake eating its own tail.
If the majority of roles are for people who don’t have a distinct accent, then the people with the most experience will not have distinct accents, so when you look to hire someone experienced, you find people with no distinct accents, so the people with the most experience learn to do accents.
I never said it was anybody’s fault other than the studios and developers who create a system where the people with the most work are the ones with the least identifiable accents or the ones who can hide it the best.
This argument is a farce.
You know a lot of “American” sounding actors are actually British, right? Like how Idris Elba can be Luther, a London cop, Stringer Bell, a Baltimore Drug dealer, AND Charles Miner, a paper salesman on the Office.
Playing a South African would take work. A White Colonialist vs. a black South African would be different as well. But at the end of the day its up to a director, and an actor, to deliver a role - even poor roles come from hard, if not poor work. You ever see this series on linguistics on Wired?
There’s no snake eating its own tail. It’s Naughty Dog having SHIT directors for casting/directing South African VO. They usually have pretty good directing/acting (for the director reference, try playing Shadow Complex or any of the games where Nolan North is told “just be Nathan Drake”). But this is a failure on EVERY level. Don’t make a South African character if you can’t do it right. Don’t make a black South African if you’re gonna cast her as white.
I already said that this is a problem of Naughty Dog perpetuating a problem that they themselves put into place. That’s the entire point I’m making.