Bayonetta 3 voice actress Jennifer Hale has asked fans to be kinder following online abuse.
The furore around the game’s voice actresses has been raised once more after new claims surfaced disputing that original Bayonetta voice actress Hellena Taylor was offered just $4k to work on the third game.
The debate has fired up both passion and negativity on all sides: towards Taylor, Platinum Games, and Hale, who was somewhat unwittingly dragged into the fiasco.
“Finally, I hope that everyone involved may resolve their differences in an amicable and respectful way,” Hale said in a previously tweeted statement.
Now she’s taken to Twitter once more, saying: “There are lessons in this. So many lessons.”
“Let’s just be good to each other. Let’s start there. And sleep. Sleep is nice.”
there are lessons in this.
so many lessons.
let’s just be good to each other.
let’s start there.
and sleep. sleep is nice.
— Jennifer Hale (@jhaletweets) October 19, 2022
Other voice actors have responded in support, as well as fans apologising.
“Not much good comes from animosity and hate,” said Returnal and Hitman voice actress Jane Perry. “This is a highly unusual opportunity to talk about something that’s not quite right in our industry. I hope it doesn’t get lost in vitriol.”
Absolutely Jenn! Not much good comes from animosity and hate. This is a highly unusual opportunity to talk about something that’s not quite right in our industry. I hope it doesn’t get lost in vitriol. Sending love!🥰
— Jane Perry (@janelizperry) October 19, 2022
Voice actress Liisa Lee Lovett, who’s worked on Dying Light and Devil May Cry 5 among others, also responded in support: “Lessons. And sleep. Huge love to you.” Voice actor Steve Blum (Neon White, Diablo Immortal, Mass Effect and many more) responded: “love you, sister”.
Alix Wilton Regan, the voice of the female Inquisitor in Dragon Age: Inquisition among others, shared Hale’s previous statement. “If there’s one thing I know about the video game world and voice acting industry in general, it’s that your rage should rarely rarely rarely be directed at actors (we have so little power/intel/say) and most definitely should not be directed at @jhaletweets,” she said.
Guys n Gals
If there’s one thing I know about the video game world & voice acting industry in general, it’s that your rage should rarely rarely *RARELY* be directed at actors (we have so little power / intel / say) and most definitely should not be directed at @jhaletweets 🙏🏻❤️ https://t.co/tbAY3FcSwl
— ALIX WILTON REGAN (@AlixWiltonRegan) October 17, 2022
Even David Hayter has chimed in, who was succeeded by Keifer Sutherland as Snake in the Metal Gear series. “To put the blame on another actor is unjust,” he said. “And Jennifer Hale is the absolute best of us.”
To put the blame on another actor is unjust.
And Jennifer Hale is the absolute best of us. https://t.co/AC6bJJaS38
— David Hayter (@DavidBHayter) October 18, 2022
Other voice actors responded to Taylor’s videos with their own stories of underpayment.
When asked by a fan what he earned for his voice work in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Revali, Teba, Great Deku Tree), Sean Chiplock replied: “I was paid approx $2k-$3k 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). I made MORE from voicing Spade/Dail in Freedom Planet 1 because *that* generously gave me sales royalties.”
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).
I made MORE from voicing Spade/Dail in Freedom Planet 1 because *that* generously gave me sales royalties. https://t.co/37tDNdshOU
— Sean Chiplock SOON @ Anime Texas (Woodlands, TX) (@sonicmega) October 15, 2022
Bryan Dechart, best known as Connor in Detroit: Become Human, said: “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 and no ground was gained…”
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…
— Bryan Dechart (@BryanDechart) October 15, 2022
Speaking to The Guardian, John Schwab (Dandelion in the Witcher series of games) noted the extra work and commitment that goes into video game voice acting.
“Some people might think that getting paid $4k to do a game sounds amazing,” he said. “But the commitment that it takes to get a game done – we’re talking dozens and dozens of hours of recording. And on top of that, the travel that nobody pays for, the agents’ fees, the tax… People think you show up, work for two hours and a game comes out. Absolutely not.”
He added that he sympathised with Taylor: “You get a few thousand pounds to play a lead character, and then that video game makes $700m. How does that make you feel, when you’ve created the role?”
Another anonymous source told The Guardian about standard conditions and workload.
“In contrast to screen actors, video game actors come into the room with little or no information about the project, before they are expected to give a naturalistic and nuanced performance – in addition to screaming, shouting and grunting – by reading a script off an Excel spreadsheet they’ll have been lucky to have received the evening before,” they said.
“Players have started to expect the same experience in games as when they watch a film, and people are winning Bafta awards for their work in games. But the industry still doesn’t see the actor and their work as something to think about until the very end of the process. All game actors want is fair working practices and a fair wage.”
Earlier this year, the games industry called out toxic fans after Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert disabled his blog and God of War Ragnarök cinematics producer Estelle Tigani received NSFW pictures from fans demanding the game’s release date.