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When Microsoft updated their Pixar themed Kinect title, Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure, for the Xbox One X they also updated it with a new level based on Finding Dory. However, the new level very nearly came into being without one key element. It looked like the game would have to ship without the voice of Dory. In order to make the new level feel like a Pixar film, Microsoft brought in the original voice cast of the film, however, due to the recent Screen Actors Guild strike surrounding video game voice actors, Ellen Degeneres wasn't available to lend her voice to the title character. Microsoft Game Studios Jörg Neumann revealed at a recent event for the updated game's launch, that the strike ended just before the game was finished, allowing them to get her in and quickly record her lines. According to Neumann...
The SAG strike...it literally just ended right before we finished and we got Ellen Degeneres' voice in there. Otherwise it was a little quiet.
Since the SAG strike was an issue of North American concern only, it was only the English language version of the game that was affected. Jörg Neumann explained to me at the event at the Disneyland Hotel, there were no issues getting the voice actors for Dory in all other languages the game was being translated into. As a result, everybody else was going to get an authentic Finding Dory experience, while English speakers would just get a voiceless fish, because even bringing in another actress wasn't an option.
All the other languages were fine. We were like 'what are we doing?' There was nothing we could do. It's not allowed to [use a sound alike] you can't do anything. It was a little scary.
The SAG voice actors strike ran for several months and dealt primarily with royalty payments that voice actors felt they should receive from successful games as well as policies in place to deal with vocal stress. Strikes are serious business and, as such Neumann told me that while technically, they could have spoken to Ellen about getting another actress, that was a line nobody was willing to cross.
You can't [use a sound alike], it's a union thing. You can't do anything. Ellen has to give her permission and nobody wanted to talk to her because it's so sensitive. I was very relieved, but it was literally like three days before.
In the three days before the new level for Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure needed to be finished, they were able to get Ellen Degeneres into the studio to record her lines as Dory, filling what would have been a massive hole, considering all the other characters in the new level are fully voiced. It would have been impossible to not notice the missing voice.
Rush: A Disney-Pixar Adventure has been updated with 4K resolution for the new Xbox One X, alongside Disneyland Adventures which has also been updated. Both games are available now.