The voice actor behind Bayonetta calls for boycott of franchise’s third installment.
Voice actor Hellena Taylor, who provided the voice for the titular character in the English language version of the video game franchise Bayonetta, has called on fans to boycott the franchise’s third installment. In a series of videos posted to her Twitter account over the weekend, Taylor claimed that the flat rate she was offered to reprise her role was not a “decent, dignified living wage.”
“I decided to do it to stand up in solidarity with people all over the world who do not get paid properly for their talents,” Taylor said. The franchise is worth $450 million, not including merchandise, according to her.
Taylor claims that she was offered $4,000 for the role, which she suggested was too low given her years of experience. Bayonetta’s publishers Nintendo and SEGA of America and game developer Platinum Games did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“This is an insult to me, the amount of time that I took to work on my talent and everything that I have given to this game and the fans,” Taylor said. “I’m asking the fans to boycott this game and instead spend the money you would spend on this game, donating it to charity.”
Support for Taylor
Taylor’s viral videos have reignited a discussion surrounding fair pay for voice actors in the gaming industry, with many online voicing their support for her. One Twitter user wrote “pay your leads more,” in response to a Platinum Games’ tweet promoting the Oct. 28 release of the third installment.
“I was excited about this game…. Now I’m not even going to buy it,” another person wrote on Twitter. “This is coming from someone who owns Bayonetta 2 on the Wii U. Why do so many industries treat voice actors poorly?!?”
“I canceled my Bayonetta 3 preorder,” yet another user wrote.
Factors that Affect Voice Actor Salaries
Some gaming industry experts say many factors go into deciding how much a voice actor is paid. Without more context from the publishers and developers, it’s hard to know what is fair compensation in Taylor’s case, they said.
Voice actors in the gaming industry are often paid an hourly rate that’s agreed upon before they begin recording. This rate can depend on factors such as experience. Voice actors are eligible to be represented by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).
In 2017, SAG-AFTRA reached an agreement with video game companies, after a nearly yearlong strike by the union against video game producers, developers and publishers, Variety reported.
The agreement put in place a bonus structure that provides additional payments to performers based on the number of sessions worked. In 2020, that agreement was extended to 2022. It’s set to expire Nov. 7. According to a 2020 SAG-AFTRA rate sheet, the current rate for a day performer (up to 3 voices/4-hour day) is $956.75. For a day performer (1 voice / 1 hour), the rate is listed as $478.50. Voice-over sessions for video games are usually four hours, according to SAG-AFTRA.
It’s unclear whether Taylor is a member of SAG-AFTRA. A representative for the union did not immediately respond to a request for comment.