Troy Baker explains why James Sunderland was recast in Silent Hill 2 HD [Update: Guy Cihi responds]

Troy Baker, the new voice actor for Silent Hill 2’s James Sunderland has spoke out against Guy Cihi, the original actor for the character. In an interview with The Gaming Liberty, Troy explains the situation and why he was cast as James in the first place. Apparently, Guy was offered the role in the HD Collection, but ultimately turned it down due to his demand for residuals that did not exist.

“You never bash your employers. You never bash the people who gave you a huge leg up no matter what they’ve done or what you feel that they’ve done. But the fact that he’s talking about residuals being in videogames shows you just how out of the loop he is because residuals don’t happen. They don’t exist.” said Baker.

He goes on to say how Guy was offered the job for the HD Collection, but his continued remarks against Konami cost him the job, and eventually led to the recasting.

“So it’s not that Konami wasn’t willing to pay them, he (Guy) wanted residuals, he wanted non-existent money that he felt that he was owed. So Konami has no fault in this whatsoever. And they wanted to use him again. Guy was the one who was outspoken about it and said that unless this happens he wouldn’t do it, so he forced Konami’s hands. So if anybody wants to blame anybody for why they chose new voices, they can go back to the original James and he’s the one to blame.” Baker continues to explain.

For the Silent Hill community, this is a bombshell. Many fans attacked Konami and labeled them the bad guy for recasting the Silent Hill HD Collection, along with siding with Guy Cihi. Now that it has been revealed that Guy’s own inexperience, and harsh remarks cost him the job, I foresee a lot of fans being disappointed. I’ve spoken to Guy a few times, and he really loves the character of James.

I hope Koanmi and Guy can come to good terms so the fans can be happy. If the Silent Hill HD Collection can have the original voiceovers included as an option, it would be a fairy tale ending to an unfortunate feud.

 

Update: Guy Cihi has made the following statement on his Facebook page:

“The problem with Konami is that there were never any agreements for reuses of my performance. In fact… there aren’t any written agreements at all. It was an oversight on Konami’s part. Once Sony picked up the theatrical rights for the SH2 title, I guess Konami figured it would spark interest for a yet another re-release. So after many years of no contact, Konami asks me to sign a back-dated release. I said that I was open to discussing reuses of my performance. I never heard back from them. Instead of talking to me, Konami decided to create new voice tracks.”

With this response from Guy, we now have a different perspective on the matter. No word on whether contracts must specifically state that future re-releases are going to be created. Going by Guy’s comments, it appears that a long overdue release was not signed and eventually led to a recast. I’ll have to look into the exact wording on contracts with another voiceactor.

Meanwhile, fans must sit back and wait to see what will come of this disagreement. As I have said before, hopefully things can be worked out so new and old fans can enjoy the best of both worlds: the classic and the new voices in one package. Here’s hoping for the best.

[Source]

         
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COMMENTS

  • Andy H.

    The title should say “wasn’t” not “was”, just a simple type. But this still seems silly. I trust what Troy Baker is saying is true, but why would Konami approach Sunderland to revoice the character rather than try for a deal to just reuse the old audio? Maybe I’m missing something in the whole legalities of this where the old voices can’t be used no matter what.

  • The title works. I did change it a few times after publishing. But “WAS” works because James Sunderland can’t be recast, he’s a character in the game. He will always be there. But his role can be recast.

  • What would you expect Konami to say ? you got me ?! you got us ?

  • StuntmanSnake

    Good point, Andy.

    Why was Guy Cihi even approached to voice once again? Were they going to create a new voiceover no matter what? Why not just use the old audio?

    I don’t know who’s side to take, but I am leaning towards Troy Baker’s.

  • Perhaps he was the only one that was going to be recast because he’s so actively involved and loved by his fans? We need his side of the story as well.

  • Yuki

    CJ, we’ve kind of heard his side of the story as it is… he’s not exactly trustworthy, in my eyes.

    That being said, I’m glad they were going to rerecord the voices anyway. They sound stilted to me.

  • roque

    Let’s see. Guy Cihi talks badly about Konami, so they decide to deny ANY of the old cast a chance to revoice their roles? Doesn’t wash…

    I’m with Andy. If you can use the old motion-capture, then you can use the old voices. Period.

    Konami is a business. The ONLY logical reason Konami would’ve stiffed all their old actors is because it would save them money in the long run– but they made an unethical choice to do it.

  • Elyssa

    So what about Silent Hill 3? Are they using the old voice recordings or recasting as well? That tidbit might sway my opinion if I only knew…

  • Andy H.

    OH OH yes, sorry, I was mixing Guy Cihi name up with James Sunderland’s XP, sorry about that. I guess I just associate Guy Cihi so closely with James Sunderland that I was mixing the names up.

  • Silent Hill 3 is also getting a new cast.

    As for what Roque said. I can’t really think that’s a logical reason. Wouldn’t it cost a lot less for a residual than a whole new performance?

  • StuntmanSnake

    @Roque

    They can’t be doing it to save money. If that was their intention, they’d just use the same old audio. The reason I see them creating a new voiceover is to improve it’s performance. They want Guy Cihi to reprise his voice because of how much he represents James himself. Since Cihi was being difficult, they decided to just recast his voice with someone who is skilled in voice acting, thus Troy Baker.

  • Smiley

    Troy seems to be speaking on his own experience with the voice acting industry, and it’s strange that he would know so much about the actual situation of residuals “not existing”. The problem I have is that it’s not simply Guy being recast. In case no one else has noticed it’s other characters as well with the voice director herself taking on a pivotal female lead in Silent Hill 2. I hate to sound like the conspiracy theorist here, but it seems far too complicated than what Troy makes out.

  • Smiley

    I’d also like to point this gen out from Troy himself: “One of the problems that we had, along with our biggest challenge was that they weren’t going to redo any of the mo-cap and they weren’t redoing any of the lip animations so really, it was like doing anime. We had to lip sync everything. So we were tied to the original performances which, for a lot of fans, are monumental and it is a benchmark in gaming performance.”

  • George

    Troy is so full of shi*. I mean, let’s for just one minute believe what he says. Let’s believe that Guy didn’t get the job because he was asking for money that doesn’t belong to him. Okay, but why didn’t they recast only James, and left all the original performances? I’ll tell you why, because Konami didn’t want to pay him or the original cast the money they owed them for the Xbox, PC and PS2 Platinum release of Silent Hill 2. They recast-ed the whole cast of Silent Hill 3 also. Jeez, I wonder why… And don’t give me that crap about enhancing the voice acting. The voice acting is what made the game’s atmosphere, along with Akira’s music. This all is just a big slap in the face for every SH fan. I mean, imagine if they changed the voice overs in MGS 2 & 3. Jesus Christ, Kojima would be hanged. And what pisses me of the most, nowadays, there are plenty of HD collections, and the only games that got tampered with are SH 2 & 3. Screw you Konami, I hope Guy Cihi rips you a new one in court.

    • Pillar

      It is now known how screwy Konami has been with recent happenings with Kojima. Kojima most definitely wouldn’t have done the original voice actors of MGS2-3 wrong, and hasn’t, like Konami did with Guy.

  • Henrik

    Silent hill 3 is getting new voice cast too?

    That was news for me,I thought they just settled with SH2 and because of the Chi problems and I thought some SH2 voices needed change like Angela which we sadly not heard any clips of as yet but SH3?

    I mean I can maybe understand if they change Douglas voice cast as he sadly passed away after his SH3 work.

    But I hope too god they dont change Heather’s voice.

  • SH3 is being recasted, yes.

    It would be interesting if they cast the movie actors as the game actors this time huh? Since Revelation is based on SH3.

  • Smiley

    I hope they don’t change Heather’s voice either. I mean if you’re going to have someone return it has to Heather Morris (who even voiced Eileen in Silent Hill 4). If Troy has any merit to them asking previous actors back to record for the same game you have to wonder why they’d even bother if their plan was to go for a new direction. The actual reasoning behind it seems all over the place, and it wasn’t cool for Troy to place the blame of the “entire” cast having new voice actors on Guy Cihi.

  • Miss G

    Here’s the thing that gets me, does Mr. Baker know what was in Mr. Cihi’s original contract? No. No he doesn’t. Also Silent Hill 2 was recorded ten years ago. I’m pretty sure things have changed over the years. This just gives off a weird vibe.

    • Pillar

      Troy was going by his own experience as a voice actor, both for games and animation. There are residuals NOW. Maybe ther weren’t at that time. Idk how common it is for voice actors to even get residuals. May be rare.
      Of course, Troy should have been careful not to talk about Guy’s situation, since Konami is a Corporation. It is now known how shady they can be.

  • Elyssa

    I’m still not 100% on what to believe but the fact that Silent Hill 3 is also getting recast leads me to believe that was their initial plan the entire time. I’m not sure how that exactly makes things easier for them but why would any business go out of their way to make things more difficult for themselves? This is just a huge mess of we’ll probably never know.

  • It’s sad it has to be this way. I’m sure Guy Cihi loves the character…if I were him I would love to relive it.

  • StuntmanSnake

    Here’s what Konami’s plan was. (From what I believe).

    First and foremost, the voiceacting was believed to be bad in these games. In an effort to fix this, Konami decides to have the voices redone. Since Cihi is so affiliated with James, this is the one voice actor the wanted to return. Cihi was gives Konami attitude and refusing to be a part of it until he received money which did not exist which led to him not hearing any response from Konami. Now, knowing Cihi will not be part of the project, Konami reaches out to another skilled voice actor, Troy Baker.

    Now, you may ask yourself, why did Konami try and only get Cihi? Well, one voice actor had since then passed away, and perhaps the others were too busy or did not wish to lend their voice again.

    Overall, I believe Konami has done nothing wrong and they are the criminals you guys think they are. Also, Troy Baker is a credible voice actor, what purpose could he possibly have to lie?

  • Smiley

    But he’d be re-recording for the same game syncing up to the same lines and everything. Really what would be the point in that? At least with a game like MGS: Twin Snakes it was a remake, and some of the actors had to remove the accents they recorded with in the original just to be more accurate to the character.

    This is the exact same game. No point to re-record if they were asking the same cast. And if it was just Guy having problems with Konami then other voice actors would still be fine yet again we’re hearing the both games have been recast.

    So someone’s lying or misinformed here. Troy recorded his dub in a sound booth in L.A. under the direction of Mary Elizabeth McGlynn who wasn’t involved before in SH2.

    Guy auditioned in Japan and provided the voice and mocap under the direction of Jeremy Blaustein who also served as the translator for the project and considered this one of his favorite games to work on.

  • Joe

    Need a couple of things cleared up here. Mr. Cihi says there aren’t any written agreements at all regarding his voice work. Soooo … i’m assuming that means he (Guy Cihi) owns the rights to those performances until the company that produced them engages him contractually in the reproduction of them? Because otherwise, it doesn’t make sense … if there’s no contract regarding the use of the audio from that release and Konami owns the rights to the release, then there would be no contractual obligation to pay Mr. Cihi for anything at this point … all they’d have to pay him for is any new VO he would provide as part of this project.

    Also, i’m ignorant of what his meaning is regarding the rights of SH2 being obtained by Sony. Why would the acquisition of rights spark interest in SH2? I could see an actual movie release sparking interest (you see the movie and then you wanna play the game it was based off of), but currently the movie planning on being released isn’t based off SH2, it’s based off SH3.

    Can anyone clear up my stupidity please?

  • George

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRtrO-eSwVw

    This video should probably explain the Guy Cihi vs. Konami situation. Also it can probably explain why Konami decided to recast all the actors. Answer; money.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GKtsHcJOMI

    This other video is for those who believe that the reason for new voice actors is the bad voice acting in SH2. I don’t know about you guys, but when you hear this new voice over, the original voice acting sounds like it came from Stanley Kubrick movie.

  • I fail to see how this guy knows everything about the matter, and he contradicts himself a lot. First he says the voices are redone to freshen up the series; then he says “it’s all Guy’s fault.”

    And if they wanted Cihi to redo the voice originally, he’d have to lip synch it to himself, which would result in something very similar to the original, methinks. It seems very pointless.

  • Joe

    No offense, George, but we’re well past the info contained in the Twin Perfect videos. They don’t help illuminate any explanations for the possible inconsistencies contained in these new quotes.

  • Henrik

    As CJ stated above in Cihi update hopefully we will end up with best of both worlds, somewhat like LucasArts did for monkey Island special edition.

    One could play with the new updated graphics or switch to classical look.

    Maybe something like that,but with voices so one can choose between new and old?

  • roque

    (post-update): If you take away anything from these two conflicting stories, let it be that “It’s all so-and-so’s fault” is nearly always an oversimplification. Especially when you weren’t anywhere near the original conflict.

    Also, Troy? Maybe “you don’t bash your employers,” but bashing your FORMER employers is A-OK, especially if you feel you have a legitimate grievance. On the other hand, bashing your predecessor in a well-loved role makes you look like a douche. If I didn’t already have a reason to skip the HD collection, I would now.

  • StuntmanSnake

    @Roque

    Troy Baker isn’t bashing anyone, he’s defending those who are being bashed by Guy Cihi.

    That’s like me bashing you by saying that you are an ignorant douche. Then imagine CJ coming in and saying “You have no idea what you’re talking about because you don’t even know him, and judging people you don’t know is wrong” mean that CJ is now bashing me?

  • I am a reporting party. While I am now a fan of Troy’s work after playing Catherine, and am looking forward to his James, I still respect and love Guy’s original performance.

    You will hear more of Troy’s side when the second podcast episode is up. He didn’t mean to demonize Guy, just mention some things and how they work in the industry. Stay tuned for that.

  • inffi

    Its a shame that they dont use Guy Cihis voice acting.. And I would 100% preferred Guy’s voice acting! There will be always something in the voice of Guy that makes SH2.. but also im optimistic about the new voiceovers..
    I would literally scream for happiness if some way Guy’s voiceacting would include in SH2 HD!

    But one thing I cant understand why SH1 did not include
    to the collection..
    SH1 in my opinion makes more sense than SH4 (which has been talked a lot lately about why it did not included in the collection).

  • roque

    I can’t understand why voice acting necessarily needs to be bashed. As (I think it was) CJ said somewhere else, for a lot of these games the cheesy line delivery becomes part of their charm. And in some cases it’s very likely deliberate. Take a bunch of Japanese game writers and get them hooked on David Lynch movies, and OF COURSE they’re going to come out with some dreamlike, nonsensical, speed-of-dark dialogue.

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