So now the dust has settled on this, I’m wondering how everyone feels the long term influences have been?
Personally, I’m kinda shocked that basically Life is Strange is now 100% tied to the strike action. Every time Before the Storm gets a mention it’s not about forefronting a young queer relationship (still not totally out of an era where everyone was too afraid to even mention teen queer relationships because of things like Section 28 that criminalised such depictions in various places) and just about the casting.
This reminded me that… the actual union fight was with Blindlight. That’s the company that was being struck during production, with whom many studios and publishers had contracts (as posited above, publishers who were not struck probably had contracts that didn’t give them an easy out if Blindlight could provide performances, even if not ones they would have provided when they could hire union VO talent).
Didn’t The Evil Within 2 have a completely different cast in the second game for returning characters? Unknowns who were recorded by Blindlight during the strike period? Wait, who was cast for Juli Kidman? And their other credits include… additional voices in Before the Storm?
You would think that I’d actually know for sure if Bethesda (similarly not a struck company but long time collaborator with Blindlight for VO) broke the strike too, because that sure sounds a lot like they broke it in exactly the same way as Square Enix did. But I can’t remember a single time that it’s been mentioned.
It would be extremely unfortunate if the long term effect on the public consciousness around this strike is just the one queer game affected (and the labourers who worked on it) can be disparaged from on high (without this being applied to the other games/series in the same situation) while the actual production company who was struck and hired that non-union labour continues to work with every AAA publisher under the Sun with no pushback or even the notion of boycotting.