Bayonetta voice actress Hellena Taylor details ‘insulting’ offer to reprise her role in Bayonetta 3

Bayonetta voice actress pay dispute

She’s also calling for a boycott of the game

Because we live in an era where so many of the best things in life carry more baggage than a member of the royal family going on a weekend holiday, there are now calls for a boycott of Bayonetta 3 coming from the actor who gave Cereza her voice in the English-speaking world.  As was recently reported, voice actor Jennifer Hale is taking the reins of the title character in this month’s big Switch release.  In an interview with Game Informer, Yusuke Miyata, who is directing the series’ third entry, said Hale was offered the role because “Various overlapping circumstances made it difficult for Hellena Taylor to reprise her role.”  Today, Taylor, who was the English Bayonetta voice actress in the first two games of the series as well as Anarchy Reigns, Super Smash Bros., and Bayonetta: Bloody Fate, offered a different account of why she didn’t return for the threequel.

In a series of social media posts, Taylor said she reauditioned for the role and was given an offer she considered “insulting.”  She said she then wrote a letter to Hideki Kamiya asking for what she was worth.  According to Taylor, Kamiya responded by saying he values her contribution to the game before offering her a flat rate of $4,000 for the role, an amount that would cover the entirety of her work on the game.  Calling that amount an insult, Taylor is now asking fans to boycott Bayonetta 3 and instead take the money they would have spent on the game and donate it to charity.

“I understand that boycotting this game is a personal choice and there are those who won’t, and that’s fine,” Taylor says in the second of four videos she released on Saturday.  “But if you’re someone who cares about people, who cares about the world around you, who cares about who gets hurt with these financial decisions, then I urge you to boycott this game.”

Shortly after Taylor’s tweets went live, Kamiya did post a short response to the allegations on Twitter, writing, “Sad and deplorable about the attitude of untruth. That’s what all I can tell now.”

I shouldn’t make more money than the Bayonetta voice actress

While there are some questionable points made by Taylor in her posts, including suggesting the Bayonetta franchise has somehow made $450 million not including merchandise and all the religious stuff in the fourth video, the alleged offer of $4,000 seems pretty in line with what has been said about pay rates for voice actors in games and anime.  While SAG-AFTRA has made strides to help actors in these areas, it’s clear its reach is still quite limited.  As an aside, following the video game voice actor strike of 2017, SAG-AFTRA came to an agreement with 11 western video game developers on a three-year contract for voice work.  That contract was extended in 2020 and is set to expire or be extended again on November 8.

It is a touchy situation because I know many people, myself included, have been looking forward to Bayonetta 3 since we first got wind of its existence at The Game Awards in 2017.  I know a lot of people are going to feel for Ms. Taylor and reject the idea her voice is worth so little but still buy the game anyway.  It’s possible that PlatinumGames will offer a more concrete response on the matter than a single tweet.  I don’t think I’m in a position to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do with your money.  Go with what your heart is telling you in this situation.

Whatever people choose to do when Bayonetta 3 releases later this month, it’s not difficult to see that a fundamental change in attitude is needed with how actors are treated when lending their talents to a video game or anime or anything of the sort.  Video games are a $100 billion industry and are the primary form of entertainment for huge swaths of the population.  As games become bigger, bolder, and more profitable, it’s important that everyone contributing to their development is compensated in a just and fair manner.

CJ Andriessen
Just what the internet needs: yet another white guy writing about video games.