Bayonetta’s voice actress calls for boycott of game over ‘offensive’ pay

Bayonetta from Bayonetta 3 reaches for the camera.

Screenshot: PlatinumGames / Nintendo

In early October, the Japanese developer PlatinumGames, known for its action games, reported Games Informant this upcoming Switch exclusive Bayonetta 3 won’t see voice actress Helena Taylor reprise her iconic, sultry role as the title character.. Instead, Bayonetta’s English VA will now be Jennifer Hale, one of the industry’s most ubiquitous voice actresses, known for roles such as Commander Shepard. At the time, Platinum claimed that the substitution was due to “various overlapping circumstances” that made it “difficult” for Hellene to play Bayonetta again. More than a week later, Taylor took to social media to dispute the Platinum account, suggesting that the studio was not completely transparent about what actually happened.

Instead of losing the role because Hale was a top performer or something like scheduling conflicts, Taylor claims it was overpaid. In a series of videos, Taylor goes on to say that Platinum apparently only offered her $4,000 for the entire trailer-based performance. appeared to show that the VA host is voicing multiple versions of the same character.. For Taylor, who has spent years learning her craft and has undoubtedly created one of the most memorable performances in the entire medium, the suggestion was deemed offensive.

“We held an audition to select a new voice for Bayonetta and were offered the role of Jennifer Hale, who we felt was a good fit for the character,” said game director Yuusuke Miyata. Games Informant at that time. “I understand some fans’ concerns about the voice change at this point in the series, but Jennifer’s performance was far beyond what we could have imagined. I am confident that her portrayal of Bayonetta will exceed our fans’ expectations.” According to Games InformantAccording to the publication, Hale’s performance is almost indistinguishable from Taylor’s.

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

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

“I understand that boycotting this game is a personal choice and there are those who won’t,” she continued. “And that’s okay. 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? Then I urge you to boycott this game.”

Taylor was originally cast in the role of Bullet Witch in the acclaimed 2009 action film and reprized her role in the series in the 2014 sequel. The series is widely considered to be one of the best contemporary Nintendo franchises.

“I decided to do this to express solidarity with people around the world who are not being paid properly for their talents,” Taylor continued, probably referring in part to a broader movement in voice acting right now where major roles are being replaced as performers vie for better pay through alliances..

“Fat cats skim the cream and leave us crumbs,” she said, before noting that her inability to get a living wage from the industry has left her depressed and anxious. According to her, after being ignored, she wrote to Hideki Kamiya, the game’s executive director, for her part. She claims that he recognized her importance to the role and how much she will mean to fans. But the offer was apparently still $4,000.

“I was worried that I would end up on the street,” she said of the greater inability to get a living wage. “It scared me so much that one day I killed myself. I’m not afraid of non-disclosure agreements. I can’t even afford to drive a car. What are they going to do, take my clothes? Good luck to them.”

nintendo, Bayonetta 3the publisher and Taylor did not immediately respond to a request for comment. And while PlatinumGames hasn’t made an official statement on the matter, Kamiya himself has responded on Twitter.

“It is a sad and deplorable attitude towards untruth,” he wrote. “That’s all I can say right now.

But even more egregiously, he ended the note by typing: “By the way, BEWARE OF MY RULES.” As far as anyone can tell, this seems to refer to the use of Twitter, where Kamiya is notorious for blocking people left and right. Namely, his header image is just a series of posts in which he warns “insects”, especially foreign languages ​​like English, that he has or will block them. And his pinned Twitter post is a series of “rules” that he warns will result in a ban if broken. “MY LOCK BUTTON IS BIGGER THAN EVER,” it says.

Of course, people, and even publications who report on Bayonetta 3 The voice acting situation right now seems to be hit with a ban hammer from Kamiya. Meanwhile, other voice actors share their anecdotes and experiences. Sean Chiplock, who voiced Revali in Breath of the Wild, another game published by Nintendo, claims that he was only given $2,000 to $3,000 for the role, as it depended on the number of hours in the studio. But he noted that this fee was mainly because he was voicing three different characters rather than one. According to SAG-ATRA 2020 price listvoice-over day of performers in the union can expect a minimum of $451 an hour in one role or $902 an hour for up to three people. It also lists potential small bonus compensation that depends on the number of sessions, but these recommendations may not tell us what a well-established an actor like, say, Jennifer Hale can get paid for his performances.

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

“But she has no right to say that she is the voice of Bayonetta, I created this voice,” Taylor said. “She does not have the right to sign merchandise as Bayonetta, nor do I have the right to sign as Eva Green, even though I was her parent in the video game The Golden Compass. This is a betrayal of her, and only her. They will probably try to do a spin-off with Zhanna. Don’t buy this either.”

The last video Taylor shared was directed entirely at Nintendo, PlatinumGames, and fat cats in general. It was a paraphrase of Lazarus the Beggar from the Bible and a broader critique of the morality associated with the dominance of money over people.

Bayonetta 3 Coming to Nintendo Switch on October 28th.

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