Bayonetta voice actress urges game boycott over ‘insulting’ salary

Bayonetta from Bayonetta 3, reaches out to the camera.

Screenshot: PlatinumGames / Nintendo

In early October, Japanese developer PlatinumGames, known for its action titles, said game informant this upcoming Switch exclusive Bayonet 3 would not see voice actress Hellena Taylor reprise her iconic sultry role as the protagonist. Instead, Bayonetta’s English VA would now be Jennifer Hale, one of the industry’s most ubiquitous voice actresses, known for roles like Commander Shepard. At the time, Platinum claimed the replacement was due to “a variety of overlapping circumstances” that made it “difficult” for Hellena to play Bayonetta again. More than a week later, Taylor took to social media to challenge Platinum’s account, suggesting the studio wasn’t fully transparent about what really happened.

Rather than losing the role because Hale was the better performer, or because of something like scheduling conflicts, Taylor claims it was excessive pay. In a series of videos, Taylor goes on to say that Platinum apparently only offered her $4,000 for the entire performance, based on the trailers. appeared to show the main VA voicing multiple versions of the same character. For Taylor, who has spent years studying his craft and undeniably created one of the most memorable performances in the entire medium, the offer was considered insulting.

“We held auditions to cast the new voice of Bayonetta and offered the role to Jennifer Hale, who we felt was a good fit for the character,” said game director Yusuke Miyata. game informant at the time. “I understand some fans’ concerns about the voice change at this point in the series, but Jennifer’s performance was way beyond what we could have imagined. I’m confident her portrayal of Bayonetta will exceed our fans’ expectations. According game informantthe publication found Hale’s performance virtually indistinguishable from Taylor’s.

But Taylor called the whole situation, while legal, “immoral.”

“Sometimes I think I don’t look like Bayonetta at all,” Taylor said in a video, referring to her decision to speak out about what’s going on. “But I guess I look a little more like Bayonetta than I thought.

“I understand boycotting this game is a personal choice, and there are some who won’t,” she continued. “And that’s fine. But if you’re someone who cares about people , who cares about the world around you, who cares who gets hurt by these financial decisions? So I urge you to boycott this game.

Taylor was originally cast as the witch in the acclaimed 2009 action game, and reprized her role for the series in the 2014 follow-up. The series is widely regarded as one of Nintendo’s best modern franchises.

“I decided to do this to stand up in solidarity with people around the world who aren’t being paid properly for their talents,” Taylor continued, likely in part in reference to a wider movement within dubbing at the moment which has seen major roles replaced as performers compete for better pay via unions.

“The big cats get out the cream and leave the crumbs to us,” she said, before noting that her inability to earn a living wage from the industry has caused her to suffer from depression and anxiety. As she tells it, after being belittled, she wrote to Hideki Kamiya, Executive Game Director, to plead his case. She claims he recognized her importance to the role and how much it would mean to fans. But the offer apparently ended up being $4,000.

“I was worried about being homeless,” she said of the greater inability to earn a living wage. “It terrified me so much that once I was suicidal. I’m not afraid of the non-disclosure agreement. I can’t even afford to use a car. What is it? What are they going to do, take my clothes? Good luck to them.

nintendo, Bayonet 3‘s editor, and Taylor did not immediately respond to a request for comment. And while PlatinumGames hasn’t made an official statement about it, Kamiya himself appeared to respond on Twitter.

“Sad and deplorable for the attitude of lying,” he wrote. “That’s all I can say now.”

But more blatantly, he ended the note by typing, “By the way, BEWARE OF MY RULES.” As far as anyone can tell, this appears to be in reference to the use of Twitter, where infamously Kamiya is supposed to block people left and right. Namely, his header image is just a series of messages where he warns “bugs,” especially those in foreign languages ​​like English, that he has them or will block them. And his pinned Twitter post is a series of “rules,” which, if broken, warn people that they will lead to a blockage. “MY LOCK BUTTON IS BIGGER THAN EVER,” it read.

Sure enough, people and even publications that report on the Bayonet 3 The dubbing situation currently seems to be hit by Kamiya’s ban hammer. Meanwhile, other voice actors chime in with their stories and experiences. Sean Chiplock, who voiced Revali in breath of the wild, another game published by Nintendo, claims that he only received around $2,000 to $3,000 for his role, as it was based on the number of hours spent in the studio. But he noted that much of that payoff was due to him voicing three different characters, not one.

“Bayonetta always stands up for those with less power and stands up for what is right,” Taylor said in her videos. “And in doing that, you’re with her,” she said of the player’s potential decision to boycott the game. In the videos, Taylor also wished Hale, the new Bayonetta, all the best. But she still had some harsh words to say about what the role of Bayonetta would mean to her.

“But she’s not allowed to say she’s the voice of Bayonetta, I created that voice,” Taylor said. “She’s not allowed to sign merchandise as Bayonetta any more than I’m allowed to sign as Eva Green even though I was her relative on The Golden Compass video game. This betrayal is his, and his alone. They will probably try to do a spin-off with Jeanne. Don’t buy that either.

The latest video shared by Taylor was directed entirely at Nintendo, PlatinumGames, and “fat cats” in general. It was a story of Lazarus the beggar, taken from the Bible, and a broader critique of morality that comes with a focus on money rather than people.

Bayonet 3 will be released for Nintendo Switch on October 28.

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