As many of you may have noticed, there has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding the upcoming Bayonetta 3 this past weekend. The popular witch’s original voice actress, Hellena Taylor, shared some videos on Twitter in which she talks about why she’s in Bayonetta 3 was replaced by Jennifer Hale. According to Taylor, PlatinumGames only offered her $4,000 for the entire project. As we found out, and as Taylor herself explains in her video, the sum is perfectly legal, but the voice actress said it was “immoral,” which is why she ultimately turned down the deal. So far, there hasn’t been an official statement from Nintendo or PlatinumGames, but there is a new one Report von Bloomberg now claims that Hellena Taylor simply lied with her statement.
Bayonetta drama: was Hellena Taylor offered more money?
According to Bloomberg’s two anonymous sources, PlatinumGames wanted to hire Hellena Taylor for at least five sessions. Each of these sessions would have been paid between $3,000 and $4,000 for four hours in the studio. So Taylor would have made at least $15,000 from this. However, according to Bloomberg, the voice actress didn’t accept the deal, instead demanding a “six-figure sum plus royalties.” Ultimately, the studio decided to cast Jennifer Hale for the role.
Taylor himself told Bloomberg that this new information is an “absolute lie” and PlatinumGames is simply trying to save itself and the game. While it’s not certain which side is actually telling the truth here, discussions at least on Twitter are now centered around the treatment of voice actors and related professions as a whole. Also, the scenario that Taylor originally described is not entirely unknown. For example explained Bryan Dechart on Twitterhe would also have received an offer of $4,000 to play the protagonist of an AAA title.
It was also quite surprising for some people to learn that voice actors in video games do not participate in the success of the finished game, but are only paid for each session, in contrast to TV actors, for example. As explained by voice actor for The Witcher series, John Schwab, to The Guardian:
“You get a few thousand pounds to play a main character and then this video game makes $700 million. How does that make you feel once you’ve created the role?”
Jennifer Hale, Bayonetta’s new voice, has since made her mark also reported on Twitter. As Hale writes, she is unable to comment on the situation due to an NDA, but hopes the parties involved can resolve their differences. Presumably in response to Taylor’s call to boycott the game, Hale also wrote:
“I sincerely ask that everyone remember that this game was made by a whole team of hard-working, dedicated people and I hope everyone is open to what they have created.”
Hale also shared some posts on Twitter supporting the Bloomberg report. Incidentally, this was also made by Video Game Chronicle confirmed via their own sources, who also write that the $15,000 is a “significant increase in Taylor’s fee for the second game”. VGC sources also confirmed that Taylor was still demanding royalties on top of the six-figure sum. Finally wrote Jason Schreier on Twitter again, he said he “saw written evidence that Hellena Taylor was offered at least $15,000 for her work on the game.”
The voice actress herself probably doesn’t want to have anything to do with the whole situation anymore, so she explained to Bloomberg:
“I’d like to leave this whole damn franchise behind and get on with my life in the theatre.”
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Both Bloomberg and VGC are fairly confident about the credibility of their sources. Taylor’s original videos have now been viewed by millions of people, and as Jason Schreier himself writes on Twitter, the “full story” probably won’t get as much attention, which for Schreier prompts a whole different discussion. While we now have more information about the overall situation, there are certainly still some things that have not yet been made public and perhaps never will be. Since Taylor seems to have already closed the situation, it is quite unlikely that further major revelations will follow.