Bayonetta 3 developer reiterates support for replacement voice actor after controversy

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Bayonetta 3 developer PlatinumGames has responded to the controversy that’s embroiled its upcoming game after it replaced longtime protagonist voice actor Hellena Taylor with Jennifer Hale. The studio published a statement saying, “We give our full support to Jennifer Hale as the new Bayonetta,” and asking people to “please refrain from any further comments that would disrespect Jennifer or any of the other contributors to the series.”

The studio also says that it agrees with a statement recently posted by Hale herself. The actor, who is best known for voicing the female version of Commander Shepard from the Mass Effect series, recently posted a tweet emphasizing her support for the right of actors to be properly paid. She asked for people to keep an “open mind” about the forthcoming game, which she says was created by “an entire team of hard-working, dedicated people.”

The controversy originally erupted after Hellena Taylor, who voiced protagonist Bayonetta across the series’ first two games, called for a boycott of the upcoming Bayonetta 3 over the “insulting” pay offer she was given to reprise her role. “The final offer, to do the whole game as a buyout, a flat rate, was $4,000,” said Taylor in a video posted to Twitter. “This is an insult to me, for the amount of time that I took to work on my talent and everything that I have given to this game and to the fans.”

PlatinumGames hasn’t responded directly to Taylor’s claims. Prior to Taylor calling for a boycott, game director Yusuke Miyata told Game Informer (via Nintendo Everything) that “various overlapping circumstances made it difficult for Hellena Taylor to reprise her role.”

However, sources speaking to Bloomberg have disputed Taylor’s version of events, and claimed that she was instead offered $3,000 to $4,000 per session for at least five sessions. Negotiations reportedly fell apart when Taylor asked for a “six-figure sum” and residuals, after which Platinum offered to pay her for one session as a cameo. Taylor told Bloomberg that this account was “an absolute lie.” 

In response to the criticism directed at Hale for taking on the role, other voice actors within the industry have rallied to her defense. Perhaps most notably, David Hayter, who voiced Metal Gear Solid protagonist Solid Snake until he was unceremoniously replaced with Kiefer Sutherland in MGS5, tweeted that “to put the blame on another actor is unjust. And Jennifer Hale is the absolute best of us.”

If nothing else, the incident has shown how voice actors who bring characters to life in bestselling games can earn relatively small feels of just a few thousand dollars (and no residuals). “Some people might think that getting paid $4,000 to do a game sounds amazing,” John Schwab, a voice actor from the Witcher series of games, told The Guardian. “But the commitment that it takes to get a game done – we’re talking dozens and dozens of hours of recording. And on top of that, the travel that nobody pays for, the agents’ fees, the tax … People think you show up, work for two hours and a game comes out. Absolutely not.”

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Originally appeared on: TheSpuzz