Bayonetta 3 has been a hyped-up game from the start. When the franchise first started in October 29th, 2009, people latched onto the frantic, frenetic combat, the beautiful lyrical and aesthetic dissonance between upbeat pop music and showering the battlefield with gore, and the smooth, cultured voice of the titular Umbra Witch, voice by Hellena Taylor in probably her most iconic role. With the project heralded by Hideki Kamiya, director of PlatinumGames, which brought us not only the first two games but the critically-acclaimed Astral Chain, everything was shaping up to be perfect. What we ended up getting was a perfect storm.
Voice actors, alongside artists, are a group of creatives who have to constantly battle with getting paid what they’re owed. People tend to try and cheat them out of as much as they can, in an act of disrespect towards the person and their craft. So when Hellena Taylor posted a video tweet October 15, 2022, outing PlatinumGames’ lowball offer of 4,000$, people were, understandably stunned. Taylor, in her video, called for boycotts of the game, which many acquiesced to if the replies were anything to go by, even though the video she also tossed in some disparaging remarks about her replacement, Jennifer Hale.
Friends, Worldlings, Bayonutters. Hear ye!#PlatinumGames #Nintendo #Bayonetta #Bayonetta3 #Bayonutters #Boycott #NintendoEurope #NintendoAmerica #NintendoJapan pic.twitter.com/h9lwiX2bBt
— Hellena Taylor (@hellenataylor) October 15, 2022
Initially, it seemed to be another case of developers pulling shady tactics to save money, but the story (and opinion towards Taylor) took a 180 when it was revealed via Bloomberg that PlatinumGames tried to rehire Taylor at a price of 3k-4k per session, for five (5) sessions, not the whole game. Taylor refused the offer, asking for a six-figure sum, and residuals, which is where things turned worse.
Taylor and Kamiya both responded in turn:
This was around the time where things got muddled and turned from a “VA not getting paid what they’re owed” story to a “he-said/she-said” story of uncertainty and scrutiny. Jason Schreier, a reporter at Bloomberg, mentions having seeing written proof of Hellena being offered 15k for her work in Bayonetta 3. Although, he claims he can’t post the proof without “burning a source”.
The story developed further, reaching the peak it has now with the most recent development; Taylor’s initial offer was, in fact, 15k, not the 4k she claimed, as evident by this tweet thread from Taylor herself.
It has come to my attention that some people are calling me a liar and golddigger. I feel the need to defend myself and my reputation in the industry. See thread #PlatinumGames #Nintendo #Bayonetta #Bayonetta3 #Bayonutters #Boycott #NintendoEurope #NintendoAmerica #NintendoJapan
— Hellena Taylor (@hellenataylor) October 24, 2022
In it, she specifically mentions the processes of the offer, revealing that she was in fact offered 10k and later an additional 5k, not the 4k offer she claims was the first offer. In fact, the latter offer was for a cameo, not her full voice work in Bayonetta 3.
Since then, both trust and public opinion have been swayed, with many professing their outrage against Taylor for muddying the facts. The silver lining from this situation is that a lot more outcry and concerns have been raised about proper compensation for voice actors. What remains of Taylor’s future as a VA is up in the air, as well as public opinion towards PlatinumGames. With the launch of Bayonetta 3 only a few days away, it might not be the last we hear of this situation, but hopefully the last before release.