If you watched the Borderlands 3 gameplay premiere a few days ago, you notice that Borderlands robot mascot Claptrap sounds a little different. That’s because he’s played by a different actor; specifically a guy named Jim Foronda.
The original voice actor for the bot, David Eddings, was replaced due to 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'…
— David Eddings (@davideddings) May 2, 2019
So why wasn’t he paid for his massive contribution? Well, David was a Gearbox executive, having been a licensing, business and PR guy for the company for projects like Brothers in Arms and Duke Nukem Forever. He did the VO role without additional pay.
He left Gearbox in March 2017 to become head of gaming publishing at Rooster Teeth. Gearbox officially confirmed to IGN that the both of them couldn’t reach to an agreement rates-wise, so they went with Jim Foronda instead.
Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford said online that the company offered a generous rate for David, but was turned down.
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.
— Randy Pitchford (@DuvalMagic) May 3, 2019
Long story short, it’s just business, but keep in mind that voicework for video games have lower pay than most other gigs in the industry; it’s on par with the lowliest of QA positions. That’s why most of them like Troy Baker end up doing non-gaming work and other projects for extra income; relying on just video game VO is not viable in the short and long run.