Voice acting, Claptrap, and Randy Pitchford

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#1 Edited by FinalDasa (3233 posts) -

Update: Oh boy. Boy oh boy. David Eddings updated some stuff on Twitter and....well....yeah...

Fresh off of a string of controversies that would kill most careers, Randy Pitchford is already knee deep in another problem.

If you've spent time with the Borderlands games you'll almost certainly recognize the wannabe sidekick known as Claptrap. His roles usually vary, but whether he's comic relief, attempting to be the hero, or about to run away from the fight there's no questioning that Claptrap best represents the feeling of Borderlands. So as Gearbox prepares to release the third numbered game in their franchise it was a bit baffling to hear the voice of Claptrap won't be coming back.

David Eddings currently works as the head of games publishing for Rooster Teeth, but not that long ago he was the vice president of licensing and business development at Gearbox. On the side he was also the voice of Claptrap (this is why you'll see it mentioned he wasn't originally paid for this role, dude was an executive). But now that Eddings is no longer with the company he wanted to return to his role and, of course, get paid for it.

According to Eddings, Gearbox "couldn't afford" him implying they didn't want to pay him what a voice actor deserves. However Gearbox did hire veteran voice actor Jim Foronda to step into the role, presumably getting paid for it.

Gearbox's official statement isn't too rude or crude. They state that employees are offered chances to voice characters if they wish (nothing like getting extra work from employees and not having to pay anyone for it) but also hires outside voice actors and pays them normal, competitive rates.

But then the magician spoke up. Randy stated on his Twitter that Eddings was offered double the usual pay to return to the rule, refused, and "is bitter and disgruntled about having been terminated."

Now this isn't as controversial as a lost USB stick, accusations of embezzling $12 million, or yelling at the gaming press because the you can't determine the definition of microtransactions. But a public tussle with a former executive over proper compensation and pay isn't a good look.

How Pitchford believes this is a good look or proper process for handling this issues is baffling. Almost as baffling as his continued access to Twitter.

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#2 Posted by Relkin (1214 posts) -

I thought that Claptrap sounded different in one of those recent gameplay trailers.

I'm not much of a Claptrap fan, but a lot of people love him; it's probably safe to assume that the voice actor was a big part of why so many love him so. I imagine this will be pretty disappointing for those folks. And for me, I guess. However you feel about him, he's practically the mascot of the franchise.

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#3 Posted by conmulligan (1949 posts) -

I don't particularly care who voices Claptrap, but this seems to be part of a wider pattern of Gearbox stiffing voice actors. Why else would you dump Troy Baker and continue to cast existing employees in significant roles unless your goal is to spend as little as possible on voice talent?

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#4 Posted by Barrock (4154 posts) -

This game just seems mired in grime and muck.

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#5 Posted by BoOzak (2648 posts) -

I'm not sticking up for Randy but isnt this the same guy who pretty much called him an called 'asshole' not too long ago? I'm not surprised if theres some bitterness on both sides. Regardless they both seem shitty. I would be all for Claptrap being utterly destroyed shortly after the intro to the game but I doubt that will happen.

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#6 Posted by Onemanarmyy (4502 posts) -

Between Claptrap & Rhys not being voiced by their well-known voice actors, it gives the appearance that they are on a somewhat tight budget and have identified where they could save a buck without compromising the entire product.

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#7 Posted by nutter (2300 posts) -

@onemanarmyy: Maybe...

I go to Borderlands for solid shooting, lots o’ guns, bonkers shit, cool musical intros (seriously, every planet or chapter should have a musical interlude), skill trees and co-op action.

They could reprise every role, replace every voice character, wink and nod at it the whole time, and I wouldn’t care.

I love and respect what voice actors bring to games. Borderlands just isn’t a vehicle for those things (for better or worse).

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#8 Edited by Onemanarmyy (4502 posts) -

@nutter: I bet you're not alone. Choosing where you're able to save money while still making people excited for the next game is quite an important skill when money is tight. Keeping these characters around but going for more affordable voiceactors seems like a decent middleground.

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#9 Posted by shivermetimbers (1721 posts) -

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#10 Posted by Ares42 (4366 posts) -

I get that it's in to rag on Randy and everything, but this sure seems like a "it takes two to tango" thing. And it's not like Randy took the first swing here.

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#11 Edited by nutter (2300 posts) -

@ares42: I’m not a fan of Internet dog piling, and I’m not going to do it here, but Randy does get himself into some weird shit.

I don’t know if he needs some better avoidance skills or what, but it’d be beneficial to avoid so much drama.

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#12 Posted by NTM (11872 posts) -

I don't know who's in the wrong and right, and I don't like to assume since I don't know the reality of what's going on. I will say, however, that Pitchford did say that Troy Baker didn't want to reprise his role as Rhys, and Troy Baker refuted that, saying he never said it and would have loved to return.

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#13 Edited by Jesus_Phish (3900 posts) -

@finaldasa: So does this thread get updated or should we start a new one now that Randy has been accused by Eddings of physical assault?

I feel so bad for everyone under him at Gearbox.

@boozak - This is the guy who after Wade Callender sued Randy and the information on the USB drive came out and after Callender had specifically accused Randy of possessing child porn, David Eddings tweeted out "Yes it's true" before trying to clarify that he meant that Randy is a liar, a con-man and could possible be a perv but he doesn't know.

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#14 Posted by Dude559 (23 posts) -

Imagine being a GBX employee that poured your heart, soul, and time into Borderlands 3.

Now imagine everyday being a Randy Pitchford gaffe story. Taking all that hype and channeling it into confusion and rage at this guy with his spicy hot Tweets.

I feel for these employees. Randy should really step down from GBX or at the very least delete his social media, but neither of those will ever happen.

Randy is so damn toxic. He's ruining this game's image with him clasping to it so vehemently while throwing feces everywhere on Twitter.

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#15 Posted by notnert427 (2289 posts) -

Man, before Twitter, it wasn't as readily apparent when people are petty, mouthy, awful, etc. It's kinda great that there's an outlet for supposed adults to act like children.

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#16 Posted by MrGreenMan (231 posts) -

I swear this man just can not help be part of some kind of drama. Honestly anyone else would have been fired long ago if all this terrible drama started affecting their company. Maybe if this stuff starts affecting the company financially the shareholders will force their hand to have him removed. At this point, he's doing more harm to his own company because he's a big ole cry baby and can't stop being a man child. So what will The Randy Pitchford Saga twist be next week? This all feels like a really terrible day time soap opera.

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#17 Posted by pappafost (230 posts) -

Randy Randy Randy. They say there's no such thing as bad press. THAT DOESN'T MEAN YOU ACTIVELY CREATE IT!

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#18 Edited by FacelessVixen (2668 posts) -

I guess it is true that you either die a hero or live long enough to become an asshole.

Anyone remember the zeitgeist around Borderlands 1, or even further back when Gearbox was the little developer that could? I miss those days.

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#19 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7652 posts) -

I'm not an expert but I think "scale" is currently at $900 an hour with SAG-AFT. So, double scale is STILL low pay for what was asked, $900 dubled for two or three hours is still low pay for what Gearbox gets. Rady saying, "Oh, he passed up getting DOUBLE scale" as if it a gift or makes up for the past dispute is crazy. It sure seems like what David wanted more than the money was for Randy to stop being a pile of dung...but that WAS too much to ask Randy. ;-)

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#20 Posted by Onemanarmyy (4502 posts) -
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#21 Posted by Rahf (532 posts) -

"Omg omg omg, I voiced a character in Borderlands!"

"Great, how much did they pay you?"

Imagine being that happy for exposure. Exposure that doesn't matter and nobody cares about.

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#22 Edited by soulcake (2820 posts) -

When ClapTrap is the voice of reason...

How long before Borderlands 3 is self published and 2K doesn't want anything to do with this guy.

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#23 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3900 posts) -

@rahf: He didn't do the voice for exposure and nobody is hired on to do the voice for exposure, everyone will be getting paid.

He did it because like a lot of small developers, they just use people around the office for voices. Other prime examples of this are Digital Extremes - everyone who voices a character has another job in the studio and Blizzard where a few of the original staff members provided VO for characters.

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#24 Edited by Rahf (532 posts) -

@jesus_phish: Conflating Gearbox with small developers is not the soundest argument in my world. And you're asking someone to do free work that normally pays a couple of thousand dollars if the role is big enough.

This also explains why some of the voicework in Borderlands has been hit and miss, and how undervalued good VA is. Inexperienced people do poor work.

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#25 Posted by JoeDangerous (609 posts) -

At this point I can't tell if Gearbox got rid of its PR team to free up revenue for Borderlands 3 development or the PR team currently exists and is immensely stressed right now.

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#26 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3900 posts) -

@rahf: Gearbox where absolutely a small developer when they started and when he first took on the role of Claptrap.

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#27 Edited by dudeglove (13780 posts) -

Damn, Randy really wants to win hottest mess this year huh.

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#28 Posted by wardcleaver (331 posts) -

Man, before Twitter, it wasn't as readily apparent when people are petty, mouthy, awful, etc. It's kinda great that there's an outlet for supposed adults to act like children.

Exactly. This comes across as two man-children having a playground spat for all the world to see.

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#29 Posted by rocketblast0063 (324 posts) -
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Randy can easily fix this though. Just sing that song again and he's once again a hero!

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#30 Posted by Shindig (4963 posts) -

It must be a nightmare where your liability is also your company's owner.

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#31 Posted by North6 (1159 posts) -

There are so few VA out there, and its always so easy to tell them in their roles that its distracting. With the number of amazing performances from non professional voice actors it has to be tempting to just go with whoever seems passionate about the role. I don't doubt Randy when he says it started out that way.

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#32 Edited by North6 (1159 posts) -

@monkeyking1969: Holy shit, I don't think they're paying $900 an hour. This is scale, I believe. Do you think $900 an hour is low?

6. SAG Interactive/Video Game Rates

SAG Video Game Scale Off-Camera: Up to 4 voices / 4 Hours $825.50

SAG Video Game Scale On-Camera: $825.50 / Day

SAG Video Game Scale On-Camera: $2,088.25 / 3-Day

SAG Video Game Scale On-Camera: $3,150.90 / Week

Source - https://abspayroll.com/sag-rates-2019/