<em><strong>Trigger warning:</strong> the following article contains mentions of depression and suicide</em>
One of Bayonetta 3’s most head-scratching decisions was Platinum’s decision to switch Bayonetta’s voice actor from Hellena Taylor to Jennifer Hale. Taylor played the Umbra Witch in the first two games, but Platinum explained in our cover story that she wouldn’t reprise the role due to “various overlapping circumstances.” Taylor had been largely silent on the issue, presumably due to a non-disclosure agreement, but has broken her silence with a fiery message claiming “immoral” compensation from Platinum.
— Hellena Taylor (@hellenataylor) October 15, 2022
In a Twitter threadTaylor posted three videos in which she explained what happened between herself and Platinum. She says that when Bayonetta 3 was in development, she was required to re-audition for the role, which is standard practice since a performer’s voice can change as they age. Taylor states she passed “with flying colors,” to which Platinum presented her with what she describes as “an insulting offer”.
Taylor says she then wrote Platinum co-founder and Bayonetta 3 supervising director Hideki Kamiya directly to demand “what I’m worth.” She says Kamiya replied by expressing his value for her talent and her popularity with the fanbase. Platinum offered her $4,000 for the whole voiceover job.
“The Bayonetta franchise made an approximated $450 million. That’s not including merchandise,” says Taylor. “…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 to the fans. I’m asking fans to boycott this video game and donate the money you spent on it to charity. I didn’t want the world. I didn’t ask for too much. I was only asking for a decent, dignified wage. What they did was legal, but it was immoral.”
Taylor, a classically trained actor, writer, and director, says she’s calling for the boycott as a show of solidarity for underpaid workers. She comments on England’s cost of living and wage issues, saying, “there are nurses going to food banks to feed their children. This is unacceptable. It impacts mental health.” Taylor says the financial strife caused her to suffer bouts of depression and anxiety to the extent that she was at one point suicidal.
“I am not afraid of the non-disclosure agreement,” says Taylor. “I can’t even afford to run a car. What will they do with my clothes? Good luck to them.”
As for Platinum’s statement implying that a scheduling conflict was the reason Taylor was recast, she responds by saying:
“Platinum had the cheek to say that I was busy, that they ‘couldn’t make it work with Ms. Taylor’s schedule’ while I had nothing but time,” says Taylor.
Taylor said that Jennifer Hale would replace Taylor.
“They now have a new girl voicing her over. I love actors and wish her all the happiness in the world. She does not have the right to claim that she is Bayonetta’s voice. That voice was my creation. Bayonetta has no right to sign merchandise, and neither does Eva Green. I was her parrot in the video game The Golden Compass. That portrayal is hers and hers alone.”
Taylor concludes by saying, “They’ll probably try to do a spin-off with Jeanne. Don’t buy that one either.”
Hideki Kamiya appears to have tweeted a response, writing “Sad and deplorable about the attitude of untruth. That’s what all I can tell now.”
There you have it. We’ll see how or if Platinum as a whole responds (especially legally since Taylor is evidently breaking an NDA), but this is bad PR blow with Bayonetta 3 so close to release. Many Bayonetta fans were already suspicious that there was more to the voiceover than was stated by Platinum. Some hoped that the multiversal storyline would give them hope that Hellena would still appear as a Bayonetta variation. That’s not the case, apparently, and it’ll be interesting to see if a boycott does gain any traction.
Bayonetta 3, a new Bayonetta game, is set to be released for Switch on 28 October.
Source: Game Informer