I put the word scandal in air quotes because, first, taking one person’s word as gospel without knowing all the facts is so common these days you can easily ruin lives (or someone’s hard work) based on something trivial and stupid. I am, of course, making reference to Bayonetta’s former voice actress, Hellena Taylor, going on a Twitter tirade at the risk of breaking NDA because of the fact PlatinumGames, the creator of the character she voiced for two games and an anime movie (dubbed by Funimation), wouldn’t pay her more money because they supposedly only offered her $4,000.00 (US or CDN. or changed from UK Pounds, don’t know). Now, while I would be delighted as a working-class citizen to have four thousand bucks right now in my pocket, her recent outburst is making it public that voice over performances get paid like shit in the industry.
Except its been common knowledge for a while voice over performances in general don’t pay that well, hence why some voice actors, not all, are part of a union. Taylor herself called for more unionization. Ok, fine, I side with her on that because I think talented people deserve to be paid for their hard work. Too bad I won’t be on Taylor’s side in all of this due to one major thing.
Trying to start a boycott.
Yes, folks, after how many years on Twitter, Hideki Kamiya, Bayonetta’s creator, deactivated his Twitter. Probably because of the shitstorm Taylor created, and oh boy, hearing about the racism towards how Japan should be nuked again and those chomping at the bits to lash out at an anticipated Nintendo project set off all those fire works. I’m sure PlatinumGames and Nintendo are both thrilled at this turn of events. And on top of that, trying to sabotage the sales of a game Platinum initially wanted her to be a part of but money put a giant monkey up her ass.
People are, of course, taking her side in all of this. I, for one, once again remind everyone that her words are not gospel; Kamiya only made one English written tweet that wasn’t exactly directed at Taylor but did come across of being massively pissed that someone they casted for what is considered a company mascot has decided to make him and others out to be villains, but he has since went silent. Every gaming website is reporting on her words like they are truth, even though it’s been known for years voice actors don’t get good pay with video game work. However, when you take a look at Taylor’s IMDb , you wonder if she is actually a voice actress to begin with; her page does not have a lot of major voice acting roles, the only major role to her name is voicing Bayonetta three times, but I don’t know what her full-time position is. She hasn’t even said anything herself.
The voice actress who replaced Taylor to voice Bayonetta in Bayonetta 3 is Jennifer Hale. Hale is no stranger to voicing video games, but one fact most people don’t know about is that Hale herself is part of a voice actor’s union. Yes, these unions do exist, and the big bad, evil Nintendo and PlatinumGames cast a voice actor with years of experience under her belt despite being part of a for the people union. Taylor, who you should remember is calling for unionization of voice acting, is also part of a union herself in the U.K., but not a voice acting union. While she has done the usual “oh I have nothing against Hale, really!” the boycott actions just feel extremely petty to me, but that’s just me.
Bayo3 director Yusuku Miyata spoke to Game Informer for their Bayonetta 3 preview that trying to get Taylor to voice Bayonetta again couldn’t occur due to overlapping circumstances. It seemed obvious Miyata and Kamiya wanted Taylor back to voice Bayonetta for the third time, and it seemed Nintendo was onboard getting voice dubbing to go in the U.K. just for her, only she got pissed over the payment because Bayonetta, according to her, was a series worth half a billion in merchandise sales and the sales of the games themselves. How does she even know that? Bayonetta initially released in 2009 on Xbox 360 and PS3, and Platinum’s titles are not huge sellers. But the first Bayonetta did see re-releases on both WiiU and Switch, and a 4k remaster on Steam, PS4/5 and Xbox One. Also, the second Bayonetta was initially exclusive to the WiiU, Nintendo’s worst performing home console in its entire history, can’t imagine it made tons of money on that, though we do know the Switch version of Bayo2 sold one million. There are also development costs, marketing costs and retailers taking a cut of the sales to consider. I also don’t consider the officially licenses products like collectors’ figures and the anime to be huge sellers either, unless they somehow are, nobody knows what their sale figures are. Somehow Taylor does, which begs the question how she learned this information in the first place. It probably didn’t come directly from Platinum and they casually let her know about them.
This is the ultimate crux: who do we really believe? And is it worth trying to sabotage the sales of a former employer, who mind you, wanted you back a third time but you weren’t happy because of certain financial reasons? In this situation, nobody is a winner. Bayonetta 3 is highly anticipated even with the fact Jennifer Hale replaced Taylor, and many think she is did a great job with voicing Bayonetta, but now a small group of (racist) online gamers are being shitheads about it loudly to the point Kamiya shutdown his Twitter account. Taylor may have people on her side now, but for how long? Sure, the drama YouTuber channels, and the drama gamer YouTube channels will no doubt push this for views, but in the long term, she has burnt a major bridge between her and PlatinumGames that is irreplaceably damaged. After this stunt, she will never be Bayonetta again, and to try sabotaging the sales of a game that obviously took a long time make and appears to be a labor of love from Platinum feels extremely scummy.