Troy Baker, a prominent voice actor perhaps best known for playing Joel in The last of us, is leaving an NFT partnership after much protest. In the early hours of January 14, Baker announced on Twitter that: he would cooperate with a company called Voiceverse, which makes “Voice NFTs” that each have a “unique AI-generated speech map”, but he now says that he will not continue the collaboration.
In his original announcement, it seemed Baker was expecting some backlash – he may have already seen some of the gaming community’s opposition to NFTs, such as what led to the removal of planned NFTs from the upcoming STALKER 2: Heart of Chernobyl. “You can hate,” read part of Baker’s tweet. “Or you can create. What will it be?”
On Monday he apologized for that choice of language. “Intentions aside, I heard you and apologize for accusing someone of ‘hate’ just by simply disagreeing with me,” he said. He also apologized hours after he first announced the partnership, saying the statement was a “poor attempt to convey frivolity.”
Thank you all for your feedback and patience. After careful consideration, I decided not to continue the collaboration with VoiceVerseNFT. Intentions aside, I heard you and apologize for accusing someone of “hate” simply by disagreeing with me.
— Troy Baker (@TroyBakerVA) January 31, 2022
Voiceverse also faced heavy criticism after the partnership’s original announcement, with some pointing out that its NFTs had the potential to replace voice actors, who already have a challenging path in the industry. Voiceverse tried to control some of the damage by posting a Twitter thread to explain the premise of his Voice NFTs (apparently, the actors who lent their voices to Voice NFTs would get royalties) and a screenshot note claiming it “wants to disrupt the industry by opening up a new stream of opportunities for voice actors, not replacing them.”
While Baker says: he chose not to continue the collaboration, Voiceverse claims the two parties “in mutual consultation” to end it.
Baker’s turnaround comes shortly after Ubisoft received another wave of pushback for its NFT plans. Fans have not reacted well to the company’s Digits NFTs announced in December, and in an interview with Australian publication Finder Nicolas Pouard, vice president of the company’s strategic innovation lab and head of its blockchain initiatives, said last week that he still believes NFTs are “really beneficial” for players and that fans “don’t understand for now”.
Indie developer Team17 is also under scrutiny for his decision to make worms NFTs (called MetaWorms, in case you were wondering), though Team17 “has no plans to introduce NFTs or play-to-earn NFT mechanics to any of its indie games label titles,” a statement said. Eurogamer.