Tales from the Borderlandsactor Troy Baker, who played Rhys Strongfork in Telltale Games’ adventure game, “turned down” the role inBorderlands 3, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchfordsaid earlier this year. But what he left out was that it was because Gearbox reportedly refused a union agreement that would allow Baker to work on the game.
Bakertold VG247that he turned down the role because Gearbox “wouldn’t go union.”
The voice actor is a member of American labor union SAG-AFTRA, which fights for fair treatment of workers in the industry — in 2017, the unionreached a dealthat ended an 11-month strike against video game companies.
“I can’t do a non-union gig,” Baker said. Union memberscan only accept union work.
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.
SAG-AFTRA released a statement confirming Gearbox “refused and disengaged” from union talks.
“The misguided decision by Gearbox to deny their performers the opportunity to have fair union wages, a safe workplace and the possibility of health care coverage for their families, is unfortunate,” a SAG-AFTRA representation said in a statement to Polygon.
We’ve reached out to Gearbox for comment regarding the union agreement and will update when the company responds.
Baker voiced Joel inThe Last of Usand will reprise his role inThe Last of Us Part 2, due out in 2020. He’s also known for his roles in Uncharted,Mortal Kombat 11, andBioShock Infinite.