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Nolan North: "Their performance matters more than mine"

Veteran performer praises Naughty Dog's developers at the Game Awards, contradicting SAG-AFTRA's strike position

Nolan North appeared to take a stance in opposition to the SAG-AFTRA voice actors' strike action, using the stage at the annual Game Awards to make his point.

SAG-AFTRA and its members officially went on strike against a number of major companies in the industry in October, the culmination of two years of fruitless contract negotiations. The parties failed to reach a compromise on issues like residual payments, transparency and workplace safety, causing all performance work on games that went into production after February 2015 to cease, and public demonstrations to take place outside the offices of Electronic Arts and Warner Bros.

In all that time, one voice remained conspicuously and uncharacteristically taciturn: Nolan North, arguably the games industry's most visible performer. As other prominent figures like Jennifer Hale and Wil Wheaton were both active and vocal, North has for the most part remained silent. That ended last night, and not in the way that members of SAG-AFTRA might have expected.

Taking to the stage at the Game Awards to collect Best Performance for his work on Naughty Dog's Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, North used the opportunity to put the value of his contribution in the wider context of game production.

"I want to go out on a limb. I'm hearing a lot of talk lately about how Performance Matters," he said, referring to the slogan SAG-AFTRA has used the cornerstone of its social media campaign. "And it does. The performance of every designer, every programmer, of every hard working and talented person who works at that office. Not only Naughty Dog, but all of the developers that I've worked with.

"That performance is so important, and their performance matters more than mine. And that's important in this day and age, with all this talk going back and forth. Because without their performance, my performance wouldn't matter. It wouldn't even exist."

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Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.