March 20, 2023
Bayonetta actor sparks debate over video game artist compensation after 'insulting' offer |  Radio Canada

Bayonetta actor sparks debate over video game artist compensation after ‘insulting’ offer | Radio Canada

Gamers around the world have been eagerly awaiting the release of Bayonet 3the latest in a series of stylish action games, on the Nintendo Switch.

But the outing was mired in controversy after the actor who voiced the titular character in previous episodes instead called on fans to boycott him.

On October 15, British actress Hellena Taylor posted a series of videos on her Twitter account, saying that developer Platinum Games had offered her US$4,000 to reprise her role for Bayonet 3. She described the offer as “an insult”.

She then called on players to boycott the game and donate to charity. The videos have been viewed more than 9.7 million times on Twitter.

“I didn’t want the world, I wasn’t asking for too much. I was just asking for a decent, dignified, decent wage. What they did was legal, but it was immoral,” Taylor said, adding that she was breaking a nondisclosure agreement to speak out online.

The ensuing spinoff also resurrected arguments that voice actors for video games and animation are often paid significantly less than their television and film counterparts – arguments that erupted during a strike. almost a year that started in 2016.

Different accounts

Platinum Games co-founder Hideki Kamiya did not directly respond to Taylor’s allegations, but tweeted, “Sad and deplorable about the lying attitude” later that day.

Kamiya, who can be notoriously quick to anger on Twitter, temporarily shut down his account after blocking dozens of fans expressing their support for Taylor.

Tuesday, a report by Jason Schreier of Bloomberg offered another account. He cited unnamed sources familiar with the negotiations, who claimed that Platinum Games had offered Taylor between US$3,000 and $4,000 per recording session to Bayonet 3for a total of approximately $15,000.

That’s about triple or more the standard minimum payment per recording for a video game performer, according to the SAG-AFTRA syndicate fee schedule.

The Bloomberg report says Taylor rejected that offer, asking for a six-figure salary plus residuals from the game’s sales, after which negotiations fell through.

In an email to Bloomberg, Taylor called the account “a complete lie.”

With Taylor absent, Canadian comedian Jennifer Hale voices Bayonetta in the next game. CBC has reached out to Nintendo of Canada, Platinum Games and Taylor for comment. None responded. CBC also reached out to Hale and SAG-AFTRA, and both declined to comment.

Conflicted Fans

Woolie Madden, a Montreal-based video game broadcaster and podcast host, says Taylor’s performance as Bayonetta was as important as any lead actor in a TV show or movie.

“That’s one of the main factors that brought this character to life and made him as beloved as he is among the fans. So that’s about as big as it gets,” he said. -he declares.

But Madden, a self-proclaimed “big fan” of the Bayonetta games, says last week’s controversy, with its evolving and contradictory stories, has been “incredibly confusing”.

“Nor would it have been the first time that voice actors in the video game industry have been underpaid or undermined, or somehow treated [as] disposable,” he said.

Woolie Madden is a Montreal-based video game streamer and podcaster. He describes himself as a “big fan” of the Bayonetta games. (Submitted by Woolie Madden)

Several years ago, David Hayter found himself in a similar situation.

The Canadian actor and screenwriter has voiced the main character Snake in the Metal Gear Solid series since 1998. But 2015’s Metal Gear Solid 5 instead featured Kiefer Sutherland as the English voice of Snake.

The decision angered many Western fans, who identified Snake with Hayter’s gravelly voice.

“It was hugely disappointing. And I don’t think it was handled with the respect that I thought I had earned at the time,” Hayter said of the situation.

Actor and screenwriter David Hayter has gained a lot of fans thanks to his role as Solid Snake in the Metal Gear video games. (Mario Azunoni/Reuters, Silicon Knights/Konami)

“But at the same time, I work in film and franchises evolve. People make different decisions. Actors are replaced. It happens.”

Hayter said he had no hard feelings towards Sutherland for taking the job, and also tweeted that fans shouldn’t direct anger at Hale for taking on the role of Bayonetta.

Turmoil on Twitter

Fans and online observers have expressed their anger at Platinum Games, Kamiya, and even Hale.

Some gamers posted screenshots of their canceled pre-orders for the game. But after the Bloomberg report introduced another narrative, others accused Taylor of lying.

Hale said on Twitter that due to a nondisclosure agreement, she cannot comment directly on the situation, but called on “everyone involved” to “resolve their differences in a friendly and respectful manner.”

Platinum Games broke their silence on Thursday nightthanking “everyone who contributed” and offering his support for “Jennifer Hale as the new Bayonetta” on Twitter.

“We ask people to refrain from any other comments that disrespect Jennifer or any other contributors to the series,” he continued. The statement did not name Taylor.

Fight for more salary, residuals

Taylor’s videos have renewed discussions about compensation for voice-over work in games and animation.

“There’s this misconception that voice actors are like celebrities and we get paid, you know, just loads of money. And the reality is that we don’t, and we don’t have it. never really done,” said veteran voice actor Ben Diskin.

“The average voice actor is just sort of…living paycheck to paycheck and, you know, doing what he can to get by.”

He noted that it is “absolutely reasonable” for longtime voice actors in lead roles to ask for or negotiate a salary above the union standard. These negotiations are generally not made public.

Voiceover work for video games usually doesn’t offer residuals or royalties like TV or movies usually do.

Some actors have corroborated this with their own social media accounts.

Sean Chiplock said he was paid between $2,000 and $3,000 for voicing a supporting character in Nintendo The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wildwhich has sold over 27 million copies to date.

“My two off-camera lines in [the film] Detective Pikachu made me more than anything [Breath of the Wild] did,” he noted.

Members of the SAG-AFTRA union demonstrate outside the offices of Insomniac Games on November 17, 2016. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

In 2016, voice actors from the SAG-AFTRA union went on strike against several major video game companies, demanding better pay, including residuals on sales of a game, as well as other protections on work place.

When it ended, the union had won several protections, as well as additional payments for additional recording sessions. But residual payments linked to sales remained irrelevant.

“There’s only one concrete wall in the industry to stop that from happening,” Hayter said.

Industry watchers have speculated that game companies are hesitant to pay residuals to actors because if they did, game developers could also defend them.

“It would be wonderful if everyone – the programmers, the animators, everyone who works on these games – just received a tiny fraction of a percentage of those sales to help them get by in this life,” Diskin said. . .

Buy or boycott?

When Taylor made his bombshell statement, Madden said he was considering a boycott Bayonet 3. But he’s less sure that’s the best answer he can make as a fan, as conflicting new accounts have complicated the narrative.

He says he’ll likely play the game, which he’s been anticipating since it was announced nearly five years ago. But it also doesn’t oppose those who choose not to buy it.

“I think the most important thing is…not to just pretend the problem doesn’t exist,” he said.

“You don’t have to vilify yourself for these decisions, but certainly don’t pretend that the problems that might exist don’t exist.”

#Bayonetta #actor #sparks #debate #video #game #artist #compensation #insulting #offer #Radio #Canada

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *