Earlier this year, PlatinumGames mentioned that Hellena Taylor would not return to voice Bayonetta in the upcoming third installment of the trilogy. At the time, PlatinumGames said it was merely a scheduling conflict. , with the following being used to explain the change in direction:
Various overlapping circumstances made it difficult for Hellena Taylor to reprise her role. We held auditions to cast the new voice of Bayonetta and offered the role to Jennifer Hale, whom we felt was a good match for the character. I understand the concerns some fans have 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 that her portrayal of Bayonetta will exceed our fans’ expectations
Unfortunately, it’s come out yesterday that that’s not the case. Why? Because now the voice actor in question has come forward and asked fans to boycott the game outright over the pitiful amount of money they were offered for the role. Here’s the original tweet they made in its entirety:
— Hellena Taylor (@hellenataylor) October 15, 2022
As you can see, they weren’t offered anything close to a liveable wage here. Instead, they were offered…
Yep, $4k. For voicing the character for the entire game.
That’s utterly ridiculous. Seriously, it’s like 2 months wages for a normal job, and the minion offered for a union voice acting role in general. For the main character of a successful series with two games under its belt? It’s not just bad, it’s downright insulting.
And it gets even worse when you realise this wasn’t the first offer. This wasn’t their only attempt to get her to play the character, this was their final one.
The first offer (or however many there were) was likely significantly lower than this. So not only did they attempt to get the main voice actor to play the series’ protagonist for minimum wage, they attempted to have her return for less than minimum union wage entirely.
So what’s going on? What made PlatinumGames (and maybe Nintendo) think this was a reasonable offer?
Well, it’s hard to be sure, but there are a few theories going around. Firstly (and rather depressingly), pay for English speaking voice actors in many Japanese video games is often poor at the very best of times. Seriously, Nintendo themselves paid Sean Chiplock (the voice of Revali, Teba and the Great Deku Tree) a total of $2-3K for his work in that game:
I was paid approx $2,000-$3000 overall because it was based on the total number of hours in the studio (which was higher because of voicing 3 characters in a single game).
I made MORE from voicing Spade/Dail in Freedom Planet 1 because *that* generously gave me sales royalties. https://t.co/37tDNdshOU
— Sean Chiplock SOON @ Anime Texas (Woodlands, TX) (@sonicmega) October 15, 2022
Which even with the lesser number of lines required is a ridiculously low amount for the work in question. These characters have become iconic parts of a game that sold over 20 million copies, yet somehow their actor got paid peanuts for them in general.
Add this to Nintendo’s reluctance to use union voice actors and its effects on things like Super Smash Bros Ultimate (it’s why Cloud doesn’t speak English in that game) and you’ve got a situation where a ‘fair’ wage for this sort of work is apparently ‘as little as you can get away with’ for the companies in question.
But there’s another interesting possibility there. That being…
Did Platinum not want Hellena to return to voicing Bayonetta?
Because her replacement voice actor for the game (Jennifer Hale) is a well known actor in the industry with credits in games such as the Mass Effect series, Metroid Prime series (as Samus!) and various well known cartoons like The Powerpuff Girls and Codename Kids Next Door. She’s certainly not someone who’d expect to do work for cheap, especially not in a game as involved as this one.
So it’s possible that one of two things may have happened here. That either…
- Platinum thought they could get a replacement for cheap, but had to pay significantly more for Hale after not finding the right person for the role
- Or that they wanted Hale to replace Taylor, and deliberately gave the latter a lowball offer in the hopes she’d decline the job
Neither of which make Platinum look professional in the slightest, and in the case of the latter, somehow make them seem even scummier than before with this decision.
Regardless, it’s awful to hear PlatinumGames are treating a member of the game’s voice cast this way, and trying to cheap out on the voice work for Bayonetta 3 like this. It’s certainly made us hesitant to support the game for sure, and we’d probably advise anyone who isn’t comfortable giving these guys money to cancel their own orders and give the money to charity instead, as Taylor suggests in her own tweet.
Still, what do you think? Why do you think that PlatinumGames tried to replace the main voice actor for Bayonetta 3 here? Are you still going to support the game after this, or has the look behind the scenes made you decide to cancel your pre order?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below, on social media, or on the Gaming Reinvented Discord server today.