Hellena Taylor, the original voice of Bayonetta, has denied insider claims that she was offered $15,000 to work on Bayonetta 3. This comes after she called for a boycott of the upcoming title after allegedly being offered an “insulting” $4,000 to reprise the role.
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Game Director Yusuke Miyata stated in an interview with Game Informer that Hellena Taylor would not voice Bayonetta again due to “various overlapping circumstances.” Instead, they placed their faith in Jennifer Hale instead. Several weeks later, Taylor denied she was unavailable for the work.
Taylor claimed PlatinumGames made an “insulting” offer to voice the role, which prompted Taylor to write Bayonetta creator Hideki Kamiya asking “what I’m worth.” Kamiya offered high praise in reply, but this was allegedly followed by a “final offer to do the whole game, as a buy-out at a flat-rate, was $4,000 US dollars. This is an insult to me.”
As such, Taylor asked fans to boycott Bayonetta 3, “and instead spend the money that you would have spent on this game, donating it to charity.”
Taylor also revealed that the general lack of people being paid what their talents were worth (“Fat cats cream off the top and leave us the rotten crumbs”) had caused her anxiety, depression, fears of becoming homeless, and even becoming suicidal. “I am not afraid of the non-disclosure agreement. I can’t even afford to run a car. What are they going to do, take my clothes? Good luck to them.”
However, the voice actress’s claim was soon brought into question by former Kotaku writer and now Bloomberg scribe Jason Schreier in an October 16th expose, who asserted that, “according to two people familiar with the negotiations as well as documentation reviewed by Bloomberg,” PlatinumGames wanted Taylor to voice Bayonetta once more.
Three people “familiar with the game’s production” asserted the cost of voice acting had increased for Bayonetta 3, as PlatinumGames this time relied on unionized actors. This meant they would be paid a minimum of $900 for a single four hour session; as stipulated by the SAG-AFTRA Interactive Media Agreement. This isn’t including bonuses, along with well known and recurring talents being paid more.
According to Schreier’s report, Taylor was reportedly offered $3,000 to $4,000 per hour across five sessions. In other words, a total of at least $15,000, or $750 per hour across 20 hours.
In response, Taylor then allegedly “asked for a six-figure sum” and residuals. The latter is a form of union-backed royalty paid usually after a performance’s initial broadcast, and a major point of contention for the 2016-17 video game voice actor strike.
Following negotiations described as “lengthy,” PlatinumGames rejected the counter offer and began seeking a new voice actress. As an aside, in September 2021, Taylor replied to a fan saying they couldn’t imagine Bayonetta voiced by anyone else “Well you might have to.” As others probed she only added “I’m not at liberty to say.”
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PlatinumGames later allegedly offered Taylor a cameo — not impossible as Bayonetta 3 seems to feature multiple Bayonettas from other worlds — and would pay her one session’s fee.
Again, this would be $3,000 to $4,000, the higher end somewhat being in-line with Taylor’s version of events. In fact, the above doesn’t clash with Taylor’s allegations, assuming she found the initial $15,000 minimum offer insulting.
Nonetheless, the voice actress denied Schreier’s report. In an email addressed to the outlet, she described the claims as “an absolute lie,” further alleging PlatinumGames were “trying to save their a— and the game,” and that she stood by her original claims. “I would like to put this whole bloody franchise behind me quite frankly get on with my life in the theatre,” Taylor stated.
Neither PlatinumGames nor Nintendo responded to Bloomberg’s requests for comments. The outlet cited other voice actors who supported Taylor, with their claims of being paid $3000 to $4000 for even nonunion work on AAA games.
Bryan Dechart, Connor in Detroit: Become Human, declared, “For those curious, yes, this has happened to me. I booked the lead character of a AAA game by a studio that has made MANY games. They refused to register the project w/@sagaftra & offered to pay $4k for the entire game. I passed, but someone else did it & no ground was gained…”
Sean Chiplock discussed what he was paid to voice Revali, Teba, and Great Deku Tree in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. “I was paid approx $2,000-$3000 overall because it was based on the total number of hours in the studio (which was higher because of voicing 3 characters in a single game).”
Chiplock added, “I made MORE from voicing Spade/Dail in Freedom Planet 1 because *that* generously gave me sales royalties.”
Despite this, VGC reported they can corroborate the claims made by Bloomberg’s sources, “via our own sources.” VGC notes they also viewed unspecified documentation, corroborated the potential $15,000 pay, and pointed out Taylor had requested residuals. Their source didn’t provide the figure of the former Bayonetta voice actress’s counter claim.
According to the outlet, “One person with knowledge of the deal claimed to VGC this represented a significant increase on Taylor’s fee for the second game.”
Further, VGC alleges, “People with knowledge of Platinum’s negotiations indicated that they were aware Taylor had suffered depressive episodes in the past.”
Once again, Taylor denied the source’s claims when speaking to VGC. She stated any suggestion she was offered more than $4,000 “categorically untrue,” and that it could have been $15,000 “an absolute lie, and a complete joke.”
“I’d quite like to put this in the [rearview] mirror and leave the whole bloody franchise behind,” Taylor reiterated. “So I think I’ll just let my videos stand. I spoke the truth.”
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