Claptrap voice actor David Eddings is reportedly not reprising his role in Borderlands 3 because development studio Gearbox "all of a sudden [...] couldn't afford [him]".
While Eddings has voiced Claptrap in all prior Borderlands games, he did so whilst also employed as a full-time employee of Gearbox, so he played Claptrap without drawing down additional payment for his voice work. But as Eddings left his position as vice president of licensing and business development to move to Rooster Teeth in March 2017, he reports he asked to be paid "for the first time" for Borderlands 3 but was seemingly unable to reach a payment arrangement with the studio.
When asked on Twitter if he would be returning as Claptrap, 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'..."
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 M payment from 2K in the Gearbox bank account instead. Just sayin'...— David Eddings (@davideddings) May 2, 2019
"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 Gearbox spokesperson told IGN.
"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."
Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford expanded on the subject via his own Twitter account, saying "Mr. Eddings" was offered a "relatively generous offer to reprise the role".
When a commenter on Twitter responded to Pitchford and said "pay your claptrap voice actor next time", the CEO replied: "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."
Borderlands alumni Troy Baker and Nolan North will also not be returning to reprise their respective roles, either. Initially, Pitchford said he was "told by the audio director" that Baker had turned the role down, but the voice actor refuted this, saying he would "love to come back" but "[Gearbox Software] said I'm not coming back".
"Their timeline tells an interesting story," Baker said, referring to the comments made by the Gearbox CEO (thanks, PC Gamer). "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."
Borderlands 3 is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on 13th September 2019.