You might not know what Jennifer Hale looks like, but if you’re an avid gamer, you’ve definitely heard her before. Hale, named one of the world’s most prolific video game voice actors in the Guinness Book of World Records, is known for her roles as female Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect series, Ashe in Overwatch 2, Samus Aran from Metroid Prime, Bastila Shan from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Dr. Naomi Hunter from the Metal Gear Solid series and many, many more. (Seriously, just check out her IMDB page, which lists nearly 500 of her voice acting roles across various video games, TV shows and movies.)
Despite this extensive oeuvre however, Hale’s paychecks aren’t always on par with the considerable financial success that some of the aforementioned video game franchises secure. Her first gig as the nanotechnology-versed geneticist Naomi Hunter in Metal Gear Solid for instance yielded only $1200.
While Hale previously avoided naming Metal Gear Solid, only mentioning it as “a game which made $176 million,” and one which paid her “way less than [what] I wanted it to be,” in the latest episode of the “My Perfect Console” podcast made it clear that MGS was the game in question.
Hale agreed with host Simon Parkin that there was a “grotesque disparity” between her pay and $176 million, adding that “it’s indicative of what’s happening in modern culture. For every dollar that the workaday person makes—and [voice actors] are workaday people; all actors, on-camera, voice-over, who are not celebrities are workaday people—we make a dollar for every $399 [executives] make.”
Despite the fact that Jennifer Hale only made $1200 for her work in Metal Gear Solid, she still “loves” the series and her work in it.
“I love [Metal Gear],” Hale said. “It was such a crazy departure from anything I’d done before. I loved it because it was brilliant, and because it was just so unique… And it’s dark, and it’s mysterious, and it’s intense. I loved everything about it.”
Distress surrounding workplace conditions, culture and payment has been a point of glaring contention lately in the entertainment industry, with the Writer’s Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA strikes being joined by the Marvel VFX artists unionization with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
Hale said she would be willing to join in a strike with video game voice actors, adding that she’d like for video game actors, in addition to earning residuals from highly successful games such as Metal Gear Solid, to be able to work “on a flexible structure that honors the indie developers, that honors the budgets and capacities of teams. I would like to see that.”
What do you think of the fact that voice actress Jennifer Hale only made $1200 for her work in Metal Gear Solid? Let us know in the comments.