Those trying to keep up with Bayonetta 3 and its voice-acting controversy over the past few days have been on quite the rollercoaster, and the ride has just taken another turn. For those who haven’t been keeping up, original Bayonetta voice actress Hellena Taylor posted a series of videos in which she claimed she was only offered $4000 to do Bayonetta 3, a sum she deemed “insulting” and turned down. She further called on fans to boycott Bayonetta 3 and said new actress Jennifer Hale has no right to call herself Bayonetta. Series creator Hideki Kamiya seemingly replied, decrying an “attitude of untruth” from Taylor. Hale tried to walk more of a fine line with her response, advocating for better pay for voice actors, while urging fans to still give Bayonetta 3 a chance.
Well, Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier has stepped into the fray, with new information that seems to support Kamiya’s stance that Taylor wasn’t telling the whole truth. Schreier has reportedly seen documents that indicate Taylor was offered $3000 to $4000 per session to voice Bayonetta 3, with five sessions likely being required. That means Platinum was actually offering Taylor between $15,000 and $20,000 to return for Bayonetta 3, which is well above standard rates for video game voice acting.
Apparently, Taylor turned down Platinum’s offer, asking for a “six-figure sum” and residuals from sales of the game. It was at this point Platinum walked away and recast Bayonetta 3 with Jennifer Hale in the lead, although word is they still wanted to bring back Taylor for a cameo, offering her $4000 for a single voice recording session, which she also turned down. Perhaps this was the $4000 Taylor was talking about in her videos, although we don’t know for sure. Taylor has responded, saying this new account is an “absolute lie,” but has provided no evidence to counter the documents Bloomberg has seen. Other reputable sources, including Axios’ Stephen Totilo and Video Games Chronicle's Andy Robinson have backed up Bloomberg’s reporting.
While there is still some he-said, she-said going on, the preponderance of evidence seems to point to Hellena Taylor having called for a Bayonetta 3 boycott on false, or at least incomplete, pretext. This doesn’t invalidate many of the discussions that have been going on over the past few days – voice over actors absolutely should be valued more for their contributions to video games. That said, the attempt to paint Platinum's actions as uniquely bad, to the point of necessitating a boycott, seems misplaced (assuming another twist isn’t forthcoming).
Bayonetta 3 launches on Nintendo Switch on October 28.