Here at Nintendo Wire, we tend to take the weekends easy. We have lives beyond the pressure of delivering high-quality Nintendo news to the masses, and we all need a break every now and then. But occasionally during our off days a landslide of news around a single topic can occur — as was the case with the saga that unfolded this past weekend concerning Hellena Taylor, the original voice actress of Bayonetta.

The story technically begins a couple weeks ago, when Bayonetta 3 developers PlatinumGames revealed that Jennifer Hale (of Metroid Prime and Mass Effect) would be voicing the eponymous witch for the franchise’s third entry, taking the reins from role originator Hellena Taylor. The only explanation given for Taylor not returning was “various overlapping circumstances,” a nebulous statement implying scheduling conflicts or the like without suggesting anything specific. But then, this past Saturday, Taylor posted three tweets explaining her side of the situation:

 

 

In short: Taylor alleges that she was offered a mere $4,000 to reprise the role of Bayonetta for the entirety of the third game. For a franchise that she claims makes $450 million in revenue — before merchandising. She also revealed her struggle with mental health and depression while outlining the series of events in her account: after auditioning for the role again (as happens sometimes) her initial offer was even lower, at which point she wrote to series creator and supervisor Hideki Kamiya pleading for respect and veneration. She actually got a reply from him, wherein he gushed about her contributions and the value of having her — which is the point where she got the $4,000 offer. As a result, Taylor has asked that fans boycott the game and instead give money to charity, standing in “solidarity” with people of the world who aren’t paid proper wages for the work they do. 

The response was immediate and overwhelming, with Taylor racking up hundreds of thousands of likes and tens of thousands of retweets as people by and large accepted her version of events. Hideki Kamiya himself would chime in on Twitter thereafter, talking about the “sad and deplorable” state of “untruth,” implying that he can’t say anything else at the moment (perhaps due to NDA). Which kicked off a real firestorm.

 

 

Kamiya, long notorious for blocking anyone and everyone (including literally anyone tweeting at him in a language other than Japanese) blocked so many people criticizing him that Twitter restricted his account for suspicious activity, and there was a period of time yesterday where his account was deactivated (intentionally, it seems). It’s back up at the moment, though who knows if another spat will arise.

 

 

There’s even more going on here. Jennifer Hale (again, the one replacing Taylor as Bayonetta) has liked tweets that imply that she didn’t know about Taylor’s situation and can’t make a statement due to NDA. Taylor hasn’t tweeted any more since the original drop, but fans and news sites have kept the story going. And as long as Kamiya has a Twitter account, he’s going to keep blocking people. With only a couple weeks to go before Bayonetta 3’s release, this all comes at just the moment to affect pre-orders and first day sales.

It’s rather apparent that not all the facts of the situation are at hand. Kamiya and Hale both appear to be under NDA, which likely extends to PlatinumGames as a company, which would prevent an official statement from being made. As many online have pointed out, Hale would almost assuredly be paid more than Taylor’s lowball offer, leading many to wonder why they would do so in the first place (one friend theorized to me that they did it to intentionally make Taylor walk away so they could hire the bigger-name Hale, which is the only plausible idea I can think of with the current info on hand). And as we approach the game’s release, the fervor surrounding the issue is likely to intensify — especially if any more public statements do get made.

Bayonetta 3 releases October 29th. We’ll be sure to update the situation as any more facts come to light. 

 


 

Update: Jennifer Hale has shared a statement regarding the discourse surrounding Hellena Taylor’s tweets posted this last weekend. While Jennifer can’t directly address her feelings about the situation due to signing a NDA for Bayonetta 3, her words still provide a call for respect for all who have worked on the project. You can read it in full here:

 

 

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Written by Amelia Fruzzetti

A writer and Nintendo fan based in Seattle, Washington. When not working for NinWire, she can be found eating pasta, writing stories, and wondering about when Mother 3 is finally going to get an official localization.