The voice of Claptrap, David Eddings, will not be voicing the insufferable robot companion and guide in Borderlands 3. It turns out that there was apparently a dispute over getting paid to voice the character and Gearbox decided it was best not to go down that route.
On May 2nd, 2019 Eddings revealed that he was not going to be voicing Claptrap for the upcoming September release of Borderlands 3. The news was made public via a tweet.
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
It turns out that Eddings is still busy with other projects, and he requested to be paid for voicing Claptrap this time around, since all the previous times he did it while also working as the vice president of strategic partnerships and licensing at the company. However, Gearbox didn’t seem keen on following through with the negotiations and decided to have someone else voice the character instead.
This freed up Eddings to get back to his other responsibilities within the gaming industry, such as working at Rooster Teeth to publish physical copies of Bendy and the Ink Machine for the Nintendo Switch.
Would’ve loved to do it for the fans and my friends at Gearbox but not if it’s gonna cost me money too. I know you know, but most people don’t realize I’m not a professional voice actor looking for roles. I’ve got a ton of other responsibilities.
— David Eddings (@davideddings) May 5, 2019
This led to a bevy of responses criticizing Gearbox Software and the developers for being greedy and having terrible practices. Eddings responded by stating that the actual developers are fine, it’s just that the president of the company, Randy Pitchford, shoots himself in the foot.
Nah man — Gearbox is full of amazingly talented game developers. It’s not fair to blame the employees for the actions of one person. Be kind. They’re the ones forced to cringe and bear it every time the boss shoots himself in the foot.
— David Eddings (@davideddings) May 5, 2019
Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford was reached for comment by none other than gamers, who hammered him for not paying Eddings extra for voicing Claptrap. Pitchford retorted in a tweet on May 3rd, 2019 stating that Eddings was paid during his employment at Gearbox but turned down the offer to return in his role as Claptrap.
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
Of course, that’s just one of many public statements by Pitchford that may or may not be true, especially given that Pitchford stated that Troy Baker turned down a role for Borderlands 3, but according to Baker, he was never offered a role. Baker corrected Gearbox president in an interview with OnlySP, where he stated that Pitchford should have fact checked before tweeting.
As for Eddings… he’s never had any qualms about publicly standing his ground. He was one of the few people who publicly corroborated what was mentioned in the court documents that alleged that Pitchford pocketed $12 million for his own personal use.
As revealed in an interview from back in August of 2018 over on Destructoid, Eddings hasn’t been with Gearbox Software since 2017. He left to go work for Rooster Teeth and has been busy ever since. In the interview he stated that he likely wouldn’t be reprising his role as Claptrap unless it was to make some kid happy. So technically what he’s revealing on Twitter isn’t entirely new, only this time we get a bit more insight into why he decided not to return to the Borderlands franchise, and it seemed to do more with Gearbox’s priorities in financing (or lack thereof) than anything to do with Eddings’ unwillingness to step back into the role.
Either way, what’s done is done and he wont’ be voicing the character when Borderlands 3 launches this September with cosmetic microtransactions and the absence of the word “midget” on the Xbox One, PS4, and as a timed exclusive on the Epic Games Store.
(Thanks for the news tip WhiteGuitarBoy)