Video game voice actress quits role to support black talent

Video game voice actress quits role to support black talent

This story about supporting POC talent, boiled down, in 1:10 minutes.

What's the fuss?

The voice-over world has been dominated by white actors and actresses, often voicing characters of colour. In response, a well-known video game voice actress is stepping down from a black role to make room for more diverse casting.

The situation

Originally released in 1998, Guilty Gear is a well-known fighting game series enjoyed by millions for its easy to learn, hard to master gameplay. With a highly diverse roster of characters hailing from different countries of origin, gamers can easily identify with a select few.

One character in particular, Ramlethal Valentine, is an artificial life form. Ramlethal has long been considered Black by the community due to her skin tone, however in the past she has been voiced by Caucasian voice actress Erin Fitzgerald. Via Twitter announcement, Erin "happily stepped away so they could cast more appropriately". As a result, prominent Black voice actress Laura Stahl has taken Erin's place.

Boiling it down

Much like traditional media (i.e. animated films), voicing acting in video games helps a great deal in bringing interesting characters to life. However, the similarities don't stop there, as the problem of whitewashing in voice acting exists in the gaming industry as well.

The voice acting industry in traditional media has been going through a long-overdue renaissance, arguably originating from criticism over the casting of Apu from The Simpsons in 2017. Hank Azaria's stepping down from the role prompted an overwhelming amount of similar departures from other shows. Unfortunately, a similar reckoning hasn't happened in the video game industry, largely attributable to the problem that voice actors often don't know who they are being cast for in order to prevent leaks by the developer.

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