If you play Genshin Impact, you’re likely familiar with the character of Paimon; she’s literally the first person who greets you when the game kicks off. However, it appears that the vocal performer who plays that role is allegedly not getting paid for their work. And they are not alone.
Actor Corina Boettger put out a tweet that claims they have been working on “a big project” for months without getting paid and are owed thousands of dollars, and while the thread is vague, later replies directly reference GI. “I am struggling currently to pay rent because of this. This project has made BILLIONS,” Boettger writes.
Later in the thread, Boettger laments the job not being covered by the SAG-AFTRA union. “Just to be clear we don’t know if this is the fault of the studio, or the game company. But regardless, if the game was union this wouldn’t happen,” they write.
Brandon Winckler, another voice actor who has loaned his talents to GI as multiple minor characters, has directly leveraged accusations against miHoYo, saying that he hasn’t been paid for over four months and has had five emails about the matter remain unanswered. Later in the thread, he also laments how GI isn’t a union project and states that he won’t be working for the game again unless it’s under a union contract.
“It’s really hard to justify working on something for the sake of work when you can’t afford to eat,” he writes. “A game like this WITHOUT A DOUBT, should be a union production.”
Readers may know that members of the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA are currently in a joint strike to get protection against unauthorized and unpaid AI-generated likenesses in productions and demand better pay, effectively bringing Hollywood to a standstill. These allegations leveraged against the Genshin production are solid reasons why unions are important for performers in the games industry, to say nothing of union protection against other abuses leveraged against developers.
Kotaku reached out to both actors and to miHoYo for comment but did not receive one at the time of this writing. [Update: There’s a statement now; see below.]
Again… been working for MONTHS unpaid on a BIG project for a studio. I am owed THOUSANDS of dollars. I am struggling currently to pay rent because of this. This project has made BILLIONS. This project should be Union.
— Zulu & Lima (Corina, digi-destined) (@thebirdzulu) July 13, 2023
After a fifth email with no response, This is regarding Genshin Impact. Inexcusable for us as actors to be waiting 4+ months for pay when you make $86 million per month. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon problem- (thread) https://t.co/BPBW3WibG9
— Brandon Winckler (@BWincklerVA) July 13, 2023
“We truly regret to learn about the ongoing situation. Genshin Impact values and respects the work and effort of everyone involved, and we support our voice actors to claim their proper due. We have made payments to our recording studio on time, and we immediately urged the studio to pay our voice actors from our past payment. Meanwhile, we are also seeking alternative solutions. And we will keep you posted on further developments.”