Troy Baker says he couldn’t reprise Rhys in Borderlands 3 because Gearbox ‘wouldn’t go union’

Troy Baker has opened up on why he didn’t reprise his role as Rhys in Borderlands 3. 

Borderlands alumni Troy Baker and Nolan North confirmed back in May they would not be returning to play their respective roles in Borderlands 3. Initially, Pitchford told his followers on Twitter that he’d been “told by the audio director” that Baker had turned the role down, but the voice actor refuted this claim and insisted he would “love to come back” but “[Gearbox Software] said I’m not coming back”.

“You’ll have to ask Troy,” Pitchford said at the time. “I was told by the audio director that he turned it down. Fortunately, with how Rhys appears in the game, I don’t think it actually matters at all. You’ll see for yourself when the game comes out and you may disagree with me on that or not.”

“Their timeline tells an interesting story,” Baker responded at the time, referring to the comments made by the Gearbox CEO. “I think it’s interesting that Randy Pitchford tweeted out that I turned it down, and then he said he heard that I turned it down. So maybe… I would fact check before I tweeted out to the internet.”

“So they came to me, and they were like, ‘Do you want to do this?’,” Baker told VG24/7 over the weekend, expanding on why he didn’t participate in Borderlands 3. “Which I said, ‘Absolutely.’ And then they made it impossible for me to do the role. It had nothing to do with money, it had nothing to do with money. They just simply would not go about doing it the way that we needed it to be done. So then it was like, I never said no.”

When asked to clarify, Baker added: “It was simply a matter of they wouldn’t go union. And I can’t do a non-union gig. And without getting too deep into the weeds of that, we had long conversations about this. We always knew going into it, that this was going to be the thing. They were going to take these characters, and put them from the Tales from the Borderlands series from Telltale, into Borderlands proper. I’ve been waiting for this call. They were like, ‘Do you want to do this?’ And I said, ‘Yes’. They never, because they would never move from that position. I’m not mad. It’s invariably a completely different character, but it still stings.”

Claptrap voice actor David Eddings similarly claimed he would not be reprising his role in Borderlands 3 because Gearbox “all of a sudden […] couldn’t afford [him]” when he asked for payment for “the first time”.

Eddings portrayed Claptrap in all preceding Borderlands games but did so whilst working as vice president of licensing and business development at development studio Gearbox. While asked to return to reprise the role for Borderlands 3, Eddings says that as he no longer worked for the company after a move to Rooster Teeth in March 2017, he asked to be paid a performance fee “for the first time”.

Responding to a question about his return on Twitter, Eddings said: “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’…”

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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