The voice actor behind “PEGI 18” says he was paid just €200

You may not know his name, but Richard Wells is one of the most-heard voices in video games – and now he’s blowing up on TikTok.

Wells’ TikTok account, which he created last Friday, now has over 17m views – mostly on his first video, where he reveals himself as the voice of video gaming’s PEGI logos.

Yes, Wells voiced the “PEGI 12” and “PEGI 18” logos that play before video game trailers – and now, he’s told fans he was only paid €200 (£170) years ago to do it.

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“Hi, I’m Richard Wells, and I’ve been a professional voice actor for 40 years,” his first TikTok video begins. “I’ve made at least 10,000 recordings and spoken millions of words – but ironically I’m best known for just two. You won’t know my face, but millions of you gamers really do know my voice – because I’m the guy who says ‘PEGI 18’ on all your video games.”

Wells concluded by asking viewers to interact with the video if they recognised his voice – prompting more than 2.8m Likes (and counting).

“I’m absolutely overwhelmed by the reaction to that video,” Wells said in a follow-up post, thanking viewers for their response. “I’m absolutely gobsmacked.”

Wells has since replied with further videos answering common viewer questions – such as how much he was paid, and his thoughts on the use of AI.

“A few people have said ‘do I get paid every time I say it?'” Wells said of his PEGI logos. “Well, I wish,” he laughed. “I actually got paid €200 back in September 2009, and that’s all the money I’ve ever made [from it].”

In another video, Wells even dug out his original voice recordings from that day, with all of the PEGI logos included:

“For the moment AI is pretty great, but pretty scary also,” Wells continued. “It’s okay for hack jobs, but for anything that needs intent, emotion, emphasis… very often you hear stuff and they put the emphasis on the wrong word. I have no intention of selling my voice to an AI package because if you want me, you’ll get me.”

The issue of AI being used for voice over work in video games and in other mediums has hit the headlines repeatedly over the past year. Many voice over actors that Eurogamer spoke to last year were firmly against its use. Last month, actors raised concern at a “groundbreaking” SAG-AFTRA union agreement that allowed artists to “safely explore” opportunities for AI to use replicas of their voice.

For now, Wells seems to just be happy with the response he’s been given. “Thanks again for all your messages, for all 2m Likes for this old geezer,” he concluded.

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