Whether or not you find Claptrap to be one of the most grating characters in Borderlands, it was hard to miss how slightly different he sounds in Borderlands 3.
The reason why Claptrap sounds different in Borderlands 3 is simple, and it’s because original voice actor David Eddings won’t be reprising his role in the sequel.
When Eddings played Claptrap in earlier Borderlands games, he worked at developer Gearbox as the studio’s vice president of licensing and business development. This detail is crucial because, according to Eddings, he wasn’t paid for his earlier performances.
When he did finally request a fee for returning to voice Claptrap in Borderlands 3 (he’s no longer with the company), he wasn’t offered one and thus the role went to somebody else. Eddings revealed these details on Twitter, adding that Gearbox told him “they couldn’t afford” to hire him to work on the sequel.
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
Interestingly, Gearbox’s account of the story is different. In a statement to IGN, the developer said it offered Eddings “an industry standard rate” but wasn’t able to reach an agreement.
“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,” the statement reads.
“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 also chimed in on Twitter to say that Eddings was made “a relatively generous offer to reprise the role.” Adding in a followup tweet that it was “twice the union rate”.
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
Borderlands 3 is out September 13 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.