Niko Bellic Actor got paid $100,000 for Grand Theft Auto IV

The New York Times has an interesting article about Michael Hollick, the actor who played Niko Bellic in Grand Theft Auo IV, a title that has so far sold $500 million worth of copies.

Apparently Mr. Hollick is disappointed that he only made $100,000 from his work in the game, and won’t make any residuals.

Jason Zumwalt, the voice of Cousin Roman, has a far funnier take on the subject in this YouTube video:

I have my opinion on the matter as a voice actor and someone who actively works in the video game industry. But I’d like to hear what you think. Sound off in the comments!

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About Jeffrey Kafer

I am a Seattle-based voice over artist specializing in audiobooks, but also working in corporate narration and commercials. You can find me at http://audiobook-voice-over.com View all posts by Jeffrey Kafer

2 responses to “Niko Bellic Actor got paid $100,000 for Grand Theft Auto IV

  • Greg Houser

    That was hilarious!

    Good find, Jeff.

  • SomeAudioGuy

    That’s certainly not a pay day to sneeze at, and the NYT article is certainly a good read, but I kinda agree with him. The unions screwed the pooch … again. Even assuming Rockstar is good about pay, Hollick probably pulled about 270+ hours of recording, and we all know how demanding VO for games can be.
    The video game industry might have to make some magnanimous gesture soon. As we cross the uncanny valley, the performance captured will begin to rival the technology that goes into the game itself, and we’re only at the beginning of photo-realistic gaming.
    A-List actors aren’t going to keep doing these if they can’t get a piece of the back end without becoming producers, and your average joe workaday (the vo actors that drive this kind of production) will start passing these up so long as the pay is the bare minimum they can get away with. It’ll become the play space of the newbie beginner VO actor, at a time when we need the best performers we can get.

    Just ask James Cameron if the technology drives the movie, or if the performances do (well I guess we’ll see what he has to say with Avatar). Look at recent movies that have failed to learn the storytelling lesson (George Lucas, I’m looking in your general direction), opting instead for flashy effects. They all suck. Video gaming companies are set on re-learning this lesson the hard way.

    Also this idea of fearing having to pay all the employees that actually produced the game if actors get residuals makes me crazy. Check out the credits on Iron Man. That’s a LOT of people, and they were all paid for their work.
    My game designer friends are all making low to mid 30’s for their work (long hours too), so I know the money isn’t going there. Actors getting residuals would be a great first step in legitimizing the VG industry.

    Jason’s take on the situation is a lot funnier than mine though…

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