Trigger warning: The following article deals with depression and suicide
One of Bayonetta 3’s biggest headaches was Platinum’s decision to switch Bayonetta’s voice actor. from Hellena Taylor to Jennifer Hale. Taylor played the Witch Umbra in the first two games, but Platinum explained in our cover story that she won’t be reprising the role due to “various overlapping circumstances.” Taylor has been largely silent on the matter, presumably due to a non-disclosure agreement, but broke her silence with a fiery message demanding “immoral” compensation from Platinum.
In one Twitter thread, Taylor shared a three-part video message where she explained how things fell apart between her and Platinum. She said that when Bayonetta 3 was in development, she was asked to re-audit for the role, which is standard practice because a performer’s voice can change as they age. Taylor said she got through “with flying colors,” and Platinum introduced her to what she describes as “an insulting offer.”
Taylor said she then wrote directly to Platinum co-founder and Bayonetta 3 supervisor Hideki Kamiya asking for “my values”. She claimed Kamiya responded by expressing his value to her talent and popularity with the fan base. Platinum then offered her a flat $4,000 for all of her voice work.
“The Bayonetta brand has made about $450 million. Taylor said. “…this is an insult to me, the time that I have spent honing my talents and all that I have given to this game and to the fans. I’m asking fans to boycott this game and instead donate the money you may have spent on this game to donate it to charity. I don’t want the world. I’m not asking for too much. I’m just asking for a decent living wage. What they did was legal, but it was immoral.”
Taylor, a highly trained actress, writer and director, said she called for the boycott as a solidarity for underpaid workers. She commented on Britain’s cost of living and wages, saying, “There are nurses who go to food banks to feed their children. This is not true, this is unacceptable. It impacts mental health.” Taylor says the financial conflict left her so depressed and anxious that at one point she committed suicide.
“I’m not afraid of non-disclosure agreements,” Taylor said. “I can’t even afford to run a car. What are they going to do, take my clothes? Good luck to them.”
To Platinum’s statement implying that scheduling conflicts were the reason for Taylor’s rewrite, she responded by saying:
“Platinum has the cheek to say that I’m busy, that they ‘can’t work on Miss Taylor’s schedule’ when I have nothing but time.”
Taylor then commented on Jennifer Hale replacing her, saying:
“Now they have a new girl to voice her. And I love the actors, I wish her all the joy in the world, I wish her all the best. But she has no right to say that she is the voice of Bayonetta. I created that voice. She no longer has the right to sign merchandise as Bayonetta other than I have the right to sign as Eva Green, even though I am her parrot in the video game The Golden Compass. That portrait is hers and hers alone.”
Taylor concluded by saying: “They will probably try to make a side game with Jeanne. Don’t buy that either.”
Hideki Kamiya seems tweeted a responsewrote “Sad and reprehensible about dishonesty. That’s all I can say for now.”
So that’s it. We’ll see how the whole Platinum reacts or if it’s legal (especially legally since Taylor is clearly violating the NDA), but it’s a bad PR to be attacked so close with the release of Bayonetta 3. A vocal cult of hardcore Bayonetta fans suspected that there was more to the voiceover change than Platinum stated; some hope the multiverse plot is likely Hellena still appearing as a Bayonetta variant. Obviously not, and it will be interesting to see if a boycott gains any traction.
Bayonetta 3 is scheduled to launch on October 28 for Switch.