Are screen actors being paid too much to voice videogame characters?

Why game developers would pay more than they need to for celebrity voice actors is beyond me, but Hollywood actors are getting into the game business and coming away with five figure paychecks — for talking!

A Reuters article says that voice actors are paid about $760 according to Screen Actors Guild rules. That’s not bad for half a day’s work, but big name celebrities are earning much more.

Lev Chapelsky, the general manager of production company that contracts screen actors to do game voice work, says that it is common for these celebs to get paychecks in the high five figures for a single session. One unnamed star received $500,000 for a single session, and another demanded $750,000 for his voice — and that was for an hour’s worth of work!

Sure, actors like Keith David (Halo’s Arbiter), Terrence Carson (God of War’s Kratos), and Michael Ironside (Splinter Cell) have added some real value to the games they’ve contributed to. But I would say that it had little to do with their level of screen celebrity and more to do with the quality of their performance. And who’s to say that your $760 per session guy couldn’t bang out an equally compelling performance?

Is any voice performance in any videogame by any actor worth $500,000 to your ears?  

Dale North