Prior to the release of Borderlands 3 Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford was asked about Troy Baker’s return as Rhys. Randy stated that Troy Baker turned down the role.
He shared the statement on Twitter, saying that his studio staff told him how Troy Baker refused to come back to Borderlands as Rhys.
You’ll have to ask Troy. 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
When the statement went viral fans asked Troy Baker about why he refused to return to the highly-anticipated Borderlands 3. Baker explained his side during an interview with VG247. According to Troy Baker, he said “yes” to reprising his role as “Rhys” in Borderlands 3. However, Borderlands 3 creators made it impossible for him to return.
So they came to me, and they were like, ‘Do you want to do this?’,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
The interviewer pressed him to explain what he means by this and it turns out, Gearbox didn’t want to work with a union voice actor. And since Baker can’t do a non-union role due to his agreement with SAG-AFTRA, the deal went through, however, Baker was never informed that he isn’t getting the role.
No, 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
The battle between union actors and some publishers is an on-going problem in the game industry. Two years ago, there was a huge strike when union voice actors demanded progressive labor practices.