As Nintendo’s Bayonetta 3 nears its long-awaited October 28 release date, the video game franchise’s fan base has been shaken by a statement shared by the series’ lead actress, Hellena Taylor, who shares that she did not return for the new entry after being offered just $4,000 to reprise her role.
“The Bayonetta franchise made around $450 million. This does not include merchandise. As an actor, I trained for a total of seven and a half years,” Taylor explained in a statement on his Twitter. “What did they think it was worth? What did they offer me to pay me? The final offer to make the whole game – as a buyout, lump sum – was $4,000. It’s an insult to me [and] the time I took to work on my talent and everything I gave to this game and the fans.
Taylor first voiced the character of Bayonetta, a shape-shifting witch who can summon demons, in the first entry in the 2009 action series, published by Sega and developed by PlatinumGames. PlatinumGames partnered with publisher Nintendo for the sequel Bayonetta 2 in 2014, in which Taylor reprized her voice role. Beyond the main franchise entries, Taylor is also credited as the voice actor for Bayonetta in the Super Smash Bros. fighting video games. for 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.
Before addressing the issue directly, Taylor’s absence from Bayonetta 3 had raised eyebrows among fans of the franchise for some time. In the new game, Bayonetta is voiced by Jennifer Hale, who is considered one of the hottest voice talents working today, with big credits like Mass Effect, Metal Gear Solid, and Halo 5: Guardians.
“I’m asking fans to boycott this game and spend the money you would have spent on this game donating to charity,” Taylor continues. “I didn’t ask too much. I was just asking for a decent and dignified salary. What they did was legal, because it was immoral… I decided to do it [this] standing up for people around the world who aren’t being paid properly for their talents. Fat cats cream the top and leave us the rotten crumbs.
Taylor shared that she suffered from depression and anxiety about her financial situation, which worsened to the point that she “became suicidal” at one point.
The actress also offered an explanation of the timeline behind her decision to step down from the franchise, sharing that she was asked to audition for the role again before receiving an “insulting” offer. After writing to Hideki Kamiya, creator of the Bayonetta series, she received a reply from the developer saying that “the memory of my first encounter as Bayonetta is a memory [he holds] dear.” This note accompanied the revised offer of $4,000.
“I’m not afraid of a nondisclosure agreement. I can’t even afford to use a car. What are they going to do? Take my clothes? Good luck to them,” Taylor continued. Bayonetta always stands up for those with less power and what is right. By doing this, you are with her.
Kamiya, whose Twitter account is restricted, had some backlash directed at him on the social media platform. While the developer didn’t directly acknowledge Taylor’s allegations, he did share a vague message as the voice actor’s statement began circulating, writing “Sad and deplorable about the attitude of lying.”