Hellena Taylor claims she was just offered $4,000 USD to work on the full game
Hellena Taylor, Bayonetta’s original voice actor, revealed over the weekend in a striking sequence of videos released on Twitter that she didn’t return for Bayonetta 3 due to an “insulting” offer for the part. As a result, she has asked fans to boycott the videogame, which is set to be released on October 28th.
On October 15th, the voice actor shared her narrative in three videos on Twitter, revealing her years of experience plus training. “And what did they think this was worth?” She stated in the video. “The final offer to do the whole game […] was $4,000 US dollars.”
Taylor termed the offer “an insult to me,” and urged players to boycott the game and contribute the money they were planning to invest on Bayonetta 3 to charity instead. Taylor stated in later videos that she made this statement to express her solidarity “with people all over the world who do not get paid properly for their talents,” and she discussed the impact the offer had on her and her mental health, including concerns about losing her housing and suicidal thought patterns.
Taylor’s disclosure comes at a time when voice actors are growingly disclosing how little they are paid to play some of entertainment’s most popular characters. Anairis Quiones claimed on Twitter that she received only $150 for her role as Rika Orimoto in the acclaimed anime movie Jujutsu Kaisen 0. Other voice actors raised similar complaints on Twitter, claiming that voice work is consistently underpaid, with major studios even refusing to negotiate with union contracts which should guarantee voice actors certain protections.
Taylor continued to explain how, in her native Britain, there is a cost-of-living problem that has “nurses going to food banks to feed their children,” while “fat cats cream off the top and leave us the rotten crumbs.” Taylor estimated that the Bayonetta series has grossed $450 million.
However, in direct response to Taylor’s videos, Hideki Kamiya, the developer of the Bayonetta series at PlatinumGames, tweeted, “Sad and deplorable about the attitude of untruth. That’s what all I can tell now. By the way, BEWARE OF MY RULES.”
Taylor stated in her videos that she is not concerned about any legal action for a breach of a nondisclosure agreement because she “can’t even afford to run a car,” and that she had wrote to Kamiya himself to voice her discontent. She claimed that his reaction looked complimentary of her abilities and that fans were excited to see her return to the part, only for him to offer her the $4,000 reward. During an early October interview with Game Informer, Yusuke Miyata, game director, stated that Taylor was unable to return her role due to “various overlapping circumstances.”
Taylor wished Bayonetta’s new voice actress Jennifer Hale, widely known for her role as Commander Shepard in Mass Effect, the best of luck. It’s amusing that Hale is Taylor’s replacement, given that Hale’s extensive video game titles, including Overwatch & Ratchet & Clank, as well as her numerous animated TV and movie roles, suggest she’d likely fetch a larger pay than Taylor. Hale had declined to comment on the subject, but she liked several tweets which praised Taylor’s work campaigning for voice actors, along with those that indicated she couldn’t comment due to an NDA and that she didn’t know Taylor’s circumstances when she accepted the part.
On October 17th, Jennifer Hale wrote on twitter a short statement that said, “I support every actor’s right to be paid well and have advocated consistently for this for years.” Hale did not specifically mention Taylor or address Taylor’s remarks in her clips that Hale cannot call herself Bayonetta or that people should not buy any spinoff games featuring Hale as Bayonetta. Hale concluded her statement by adding, “Finally, I hope everyone involved may resolve their differences in an amicable and respectful way.”
Taylor added that she understands why people may not want to boycott, but she advised the few who care about how individuals are treated to spend their money somewhere else.