Hellena Taylor, voice actress who voiced Bayonetta in Bayonetta 1 and 2, has taken to twitter requesting fans to boycott the upcoming sequel, Bayonetta 3. She has revealed that she was replaced as Bayonetta’s voice actress, not because they couldn’t make it work with her schedule but because they were only willing to pay her a flat fee of $4000. While this might seem, to some, a decent chunk of money, it’s worth considering just how much time and effort it takes to voice the main character of a video game. There have been a number of actors who have jumped from the big screen to video games and many have commented on just how many pages of text it’s necessary to voice, far more than for feature films. This isn’t a case of a few days in a studio and walking away with $4000. The process can take months which when taken into consideration makes the fee of $4000 look a lot less generous.
In her twitter post Hellena said that Bayonetta 1 and 2 has grossed approximately 450 million to date. Unfortunately, I’ve not managed to find any official source to confirm that. The Bayonetta games are not amongst the highest grossing titles of all time, with the Pokémon franchise having grossed an estimated 90 billion to date. However, I don’t really see the relevance of how much a game has grossed in determining the wages of voice actors. The Bayonetta games are AAA titles and not indie games. My opinion is that if there is enough money to fund a sequel then there should be enough to pay all contributing artists a decent wage. Platinum Games Executive Director, Hideki Kamiya’s twitter account has been restricted after he responded to the accusations as an “attitude of untruth”. Whether this restriction was added by twitter or if he restricted it himself to avoid a backlash is unclear. However, there has been no real official comment from Platinum Games offering their side of the story. Other voice actors have already spoken out with similar tales of low fee offers for AAA titles which makes me inclined to believe Hellena Taylor is speaking the truth here.
There has been a lot of issues raised with pay in the games industry recently with several developers having been highlighted for using low paid temporary staff to cut costs. There was also, not so long ago, a script writers strike, relating to film and TV productions in the US, due to low pay and poor working rights. It seems, to me, that is it well past time that pay and rights in the creative industries, including the games industry, is looked at. If it is the case that you can make more money flipping burgers for fast food chains than as a trained voice actor working in the games industry then there really is a major issue to be explore here. Unless Platinum Games can produce evidence in their favour, I will be boycotting Bayonetta 3. I played and enjoyed the first two games but I refuse to fund this level of pay inequality. Feel free to watch her first video below and click here for the others if you wish to watch more.
— Hellena Taylor (@hellenataylor) October 15, 2022