Does Gearbox Sign Voice Talent to Contracts or Higher them as needed?

I think at this point for Gearbox it isn’t much of a problem. They aren’t quite that tight on funds that they’ll need to cut short a character’s screen time in order to reduce the amount of dialogue that character’s voice actor has to be paid for. At least, I think.

The Borderlands franchise does have some very distinctive voice acting, and I agree that it would definitely be disappointing to have some well-known characters not featured in the next game, but I’m not too worried about it personally.

It’ll be hire when needed, all characters in Borderlands can be voiced by anyone else with range, none of them have any iconic voices that can only be done by a single person, the only truly iconic character they own that they won’t be able recast so easily is Jon St John as Duke Nukem.
No other voice actor has been able to replicate the Duke Nukem voice like Jon as far as I know.

But even then with their most famous character, it’s pretty damn obvious that Gearbox doesn’t care, Jon St John himself confirmed that Gearbox didn’t direct him in any of the Gearbox related Duke products, which is why the Duke talk in World Tour sounds beyond god awful and doesn’t sound that good in the upcoming Bulletstorm port either.

Recasting someone like say Mad Moxxi can be easily done, but recasting JSJ as Duke will have the exact same bad results as recasting Michael Ironside as Sam Fisher.

You are vastly underestimating the talent and devotion to their characters voice actors have. You can tell when someone gets replaced.

I would think that the actors would be independent contractors. But Gearbox is based in Texas and seems to have a good working relationship with the actors they work with (plenty Borderlands people show up as characters in Battleborn, for instance), so I wouldn’t worry too much.

Funimation is also out of Texas, at least last time I recall. They have the equivalent of a troupe of voice actors they use for many projects that are in the area. They do ADR there with key directors, but will pull in talent from LA and have them work with an ADR director in a studio up there as well.

I was thinking about this largely because the characters that people seem to want in Borderlands 3 the most are NPCs with the great dialogue like Tina & Torgue, or from TFTB characters. If they are unavailable, or ask for more than gearbox would be willing to play, how would those things impact the development cycle? How quick would the turnaround time be on recasting (if needed)? Should they opt not to recast, would they rework the story to shift focus etc?

When I saw this interview and considered how much people want Tina to be playable, and have a loyalty to Ashly Burch’s portrayal, it puts a lot of leverage in the hands of a voice actor if people are pulling to see a franchise/ property built around them.

Anyway, knowing that they use a lot of the same talent in games got me thinking about how they contract their talent.

Keep in mind not all the lines are recorded in one day and actors are rarely in the booth together. I doubt scheduling is ever a huge issue unless you’re trying to pull in a very busy name, and the only person I can think of who might fit that bill is Chris Hardwick as Vaughn.

If they have access to a studio and an engineer ADR can be tracked anywhere. It’s the availability of the talent i’m thinking of. Hardwick came to mind, but with Ashly getting progressively more successful voicing games & being a major draw for BL fans I wonder how they would leverage her participation now that Anthony is no reportedly longer a writer on the franchise? It makes for an interesting scenario from a negotiations standpoint.

The amount of dialogue & narrative significance in the Tales game served to endear fans to those characters so I imagine there is more attachment to them than people may have had going from BL1 to BL2.

Add to that the implication that there will be a significantly larger number of Vault Hunters, it could present some challenges depending on how they approach the narrative aspect of the game.

They got Ashley Burch for Battleborn and her brother had nothing to do with that game, so I think they have a good working relationship in their own right. Plus it’s not like BL3 is going to be some low budget project. This is going to be a Triple A tent pole game for 2K whatever year it eventually comes out.


That’s reasonably reassuring. My brain is in full on Murphy’s Law mode as far as factors that could at some point muck up the works on the development time table. Now to just get past the notion that the game will not be scheduled and built up to coincide with the movie.

Thanks for posting that link. I wasn’t aware of exactly who was behind the Borderlands movie, and now I know something about that.

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On a related note, I do love how they bring back voice actors from previous games. Hearing General Knoxx in TPS made me happier than it probably should have. Such a great character.


I completely agree. Part of me gets a kick out of D-Fault from the Robolution DLC turning up as Piston in Crater of Badassittude. Isn’t he another voice too, but I’m blanking on who right now?

But those distinctive characters, and their voice actors really help the immersion factor. I don’t think Athena is the same voice actor as in Knoxx, but I wasn’t sure at first, I could be wrong.

Athena’s always been played by Lydia Mackay. Another Gearbox regular, she’s Ambra in Battleborn.


I know what @Isthiswill means about her sounding different though. I think it’s the delivery and inflection: harsher and more abrupt in BL1, but a bit more weary and subdued in TPS. Makes sense in terms of story progression and character development.


VaultHunter101 - That’s precisely it. Well put.

Genericktag thanks for providing the casting info, I neglected to look it up.


Actually, in the first game was a protagonist, who was voiced by really badass actor, who usually does exactly the work that can only be done by a single person (shining example - scene with the “final boss” in Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario, which was “one of the most aesthetic scenes i ever seen on the big screen”)
and case with Borderlands is no exception (the playable sci-fi character is like a collective image of all his roles, which is very fun to play!).

I already decided to not to play Borderlands3 if my favorite MORDECAI will be desecrated again through hiring the wrong actor.
If for some reason GBX fail to hire Senor Julio, they should no longer exploit the character simply for a tick. It will be okay if they would mention that Mordecai is gone, busy in some other stories somewhere far away, or simply dies in dunes of Singapore as he usually does.
It is much better to retain him for better times, than to waste completely.

Half-measure required too much RAM for the strained maintenance of the suspension of disbelief.
In Borderlands2 was wasted the entire limit, so i just technically won’t be able to endure this anymore.
Moreover, the perception debuff extends not only to the particular character, but for the whole game, and every character, highlighting all the technical flaws, causing complete indifference to all the new toys. To be honest, I would abandon the sequel right after the meeting with sickly “mordy guy” in Tundra Express, if not for my co-op partner.

However, forgiveness can yet be granted.

Gearbox can present this critical failure as Intentional act of the “magic trick with disappearance”. But just making something disappear isn’t enough; they have to bring it back. That’s why the magic trick has a third act called “The Prestige”, where Mordecai gets a decent continuation of story and not only Julio’s voice, but also motion capture! …and live action!
And Talon with qualitative AI and animation! (check out new caledonian crows and common magpies for inspiration)

And here is the Happy Ending I’ve unlocked in case Gearbox turn out to be stinking charlatans.

Wait what?

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Some voices are impossible to replace. Kevin Conroy will always be Batman. Dameon Clarke will always be Handsome Jack. And the list goes on.


It’s kinda running joke like Jimenez or “The Vaults”…
or just a little allude to classic of Magical Realism genre, I mean novel One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; there was very cozy and bizarre character who introduced himself as Melquiades and had an active ability to wake up the souls of things, and could be also defined as the keeper of story who exists outside of time.

Of course, it wouldn’t be so easy to identify this character in game Borderlands as “the same character in another time and story” if there were no middle link.

I recommend everyone who loves classic Borderlands to get a bottle of tequila, invite best friend or few and watch One does not simply bury Mordecai The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada a neo-Western film about life on real border lands with brilliant sense of humor directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones and written by Guillermo Arriaga (in many respects making allusions to the novel I’ve mentioned above) The character who introduced himself as Melquiades in the film was performed by Julio Cedillo, of course.
(Likely the casting of the actor was conducted according directly to the description of Melquiades from the book)
Before the game I’ve witnessed his influence in several other badass films, so i was totally aware to evaluate Mordecai’s catchphrase “I NEVER DIE” :bllol:
(lol, savage panic-monger behavior was definitely inherited from Shakespeare fan)

You know, the ideas are like a viruses and the actors, consciously or not, they perfectly transfer such things. It’s a powerful weapon/tool in hands of good scriptwriters and directors.

A really good quality that even performing wicked hombres in works of art designed to be interesting for the adult audience Julio keeps it absolutely safe for children’s perception, and even enlightening and useful for the formation of good morality.

So the lack of True Mordecai in Game-numbered-two could be also explained by scriptwriters’ experimental goals. Emergence of such powerful source of cyan energy could simply divert the common mass of the audience from eating crap being interested in stupid faceless fascist - half flat parody on Comstock, half flat parody on Haines (you know what I’m talking about) And as you might noticed “The Eridians” also skipped this part of the story and haven’t appeared in Borderlands 2.
Clarkodemon was so weak, coward and miserable that dared to show his stupid faceless butt only when all the doom guys and guardians have been taken away. It’s just a disgrace.

And the line where Moxxi breaks up with Mordecai also wouldn’t work with True Mordecai (unless she doesn’t murdered), because Mad Moxxi wouldn’t broke up with Mad Melquiades if he wasn’t replaced (sedated, poisoned, infected) by some disgusting alien thing.

And hey, it’s not my words. I just transmit - Mordecai himself said that Senor Julio is the only man who can perform Mordecai properly ; )
And even if True Mordecai’s Actor does not show up in the sequels to Borderlands, he autonomously develops algorithms of this conscious role in his works, not depending on the setting. If someone interested in personal story of Mordecai from Borderlands2 i recommend to find El descubrimiento(The Finding 2009) a short film with pretty similar situation, except it belongs to Earth, from social themes this time was domestic violence and instead of big bird and little bird there was a mother and a little son.
(funny, i’ve found The Finding long after i did the last frame to wam-bam epilogue…kinda source code execution, huh?)

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Well I always appreciate a good film recommendation so thanks!

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My pleasure.


By the way, from Gearboxian games Julio Cedillo’s voice can be also recognized in voice of The President in Duke Nukem Forever. It sounded like he was just yelling trying not to laugh :acmcheese:

A good nostalgic game. Such kind of toilet humor does not seem to me excessively disgusting or offensive like what GBX make since BL2. So we even have proudly put a Balls of Steel Edition on the shelf.
(though, Sam Stone fought for the Earth much longer after Duke was killed by the nuclear blast)