When Borderlands 3 arrives in September, there will be a different voice behind its most iconic character, the monocular mono-wheel machine known as Claptrap. David Eddings, who voiced the robot in all the previous games (including Telltale's Tales From the Borderlands) has been replaced by voice actor Jim Foronda over what appears to be a pay dispute.
No. For the first time, I insisted on getting paid for my performance and all of a sudden they couldn't afford me. Now I'm not telling them how to run their business but maybe next time they should put the $12M payment from 2K in the Gearbox bank account instead. Just sayin'…May 2, 2019
The implication that Eddings did not get paid for his previous work might seem odd, but there's a reason for it: At the time of his performances, he was an executive at Gearbox, specifically the vice president of licensing and business development, and took on the role without additional pay. But he left the company in March 2017 to become head of game publishing at Rooster Teeth, which is why he wanted to be paid to return to the role in Borderlands 3.
Gearbox confirmed the situation in a statement sent to IGN. "Gearbox works to treat and compensate all voice actors at industry standards. We offer the opportunity for salaried employees to voice characters in the game, but is not a mandatory responsibility to their job requirements," a rep said.
"In this particular case, now that he was no longer an employee, we offered him an industry standard rate, but were not able to reach an agreement. We are confident and happy with Jim Foronda as the voice of Claptrap, and we are confident our fans will be too."
I have no idea how voice actor pay scale works but I have a hard time imagining that Foronda would come in any cheaper than Eddings. Apparently, though, that was the case. Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford said on his personal Twitter account that the offer was "relatively generous," but he also described his longtime co-executive as "Mr. Eddings," which doesn't imply the most congenial relationship possible between the two in my reading.
Mr. Eddings was paid very handsomely during his employment. After his employment he was made a relatively generous offer to reprise the role. Unfortunately, he turned that opportunity down.May 3, 2019
Foronda is a well-established voice actor with credits stretching back more than two decades, in series including Dragon Ball Z, Fullmetal Alchemist, Tokyo Ghoul, Star Wars: Go Rogue, and many others. He's also appeared in numerous videogames, including the previous Borderlands games.