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Boycotting a game due to a voice actor/celebrity?

Apr 28, 2018
It just hit me, so suddenly, something I hadn't really given much thought to: Hades is in Kingdom Hearts III. I had to check out the IMDB page; surely the part - played originally by unapologetic homophobe and terrible person James Woods - has been re-cast?

Nah. Hades is still played by James Woods.

James Woods is a terrible person.

No, really.

Just like that, as a trans person and lover of decent humans, my interest in this game has been eclipsed by the fact that sales are going to - even minutely - benefit someone who disagrees with pretty much my whole existence.

I know that:
1.) We can make our own choices and separate art from artists, and
2.) A whole bunch of (probably) awesome people slaved away on this game

...but LGBTQ and especially trans issues are where I totally draw the line.

How about you? Are there any times - like for example Orson Scott Card's involvement in "Shadow Complex" - where you've noped out entirely because of a game's association with an absolutely heinous person?
Nov 8, 2017
I avoid some games for no or very little voice acting...
If he is good... then the boycotting means something.
If he is just meh.....just see him as a random hateful person.
Never heard of this guy.....
TBH, I thought Hades was the Supergiant Games game and I was surprised.... KH? I don't care
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Oct 26, 2017
I wasn't super interested in Codename Steam anyway, but Adam Baldwin's involvement made ignoring it an easy decision.


Oct 25, 2017
You’re right, James Woods is an absolute shitheel but I don’t boycott games for that reason. He’s a minor cog in that huge game.
May 20, 2018
No, because the actor got paid regardless and my purchase of the game won't affect that unless there's some weirdo royalty deal which there almost never is. Either way, expect a lot of "I boycotted Code Name Steam because of (X Actor)" responses.
Oct 25, 2017
I try to make it so that as little media as possible makes it into that 'must buy/play/watch' column, so decisions like these are less fraught. Kingdom Hearts as a franchise has always been on the lower rungs of my interests pile mostly thanks to its hamfisted overwrought drama and nonsense story beats, so I'm very easily persuaded to skip it on being personally repelled by a garbage human like James Woods's involvement
Oct 31, 2017
I remember reading in a previous thread that James Woods (along with other Disney voice actors) is contractually obligated to get first dibs on any reprises for his original role.

Jontron made skipping A Hat In Time pretty easy though.
Jan 2, 2019
While James Woods is absolutely a garbage human being I could never not play Kingdom Hearts 3 because of that. For that matter, I don't think I could see it impacting my decision to purchase a game as they would likely already have been paid so my lack of purchase wouldn't have an impact.
Dec 2, 2017
Nope, I really don't care who is involved in any process of the games, as long as the game is good.

I play games to get away from life and emerse myself in the worlds that have been created I don't need to bring in real world issues into my hobby, there are other platforms for that which would be of better use than boycotting a game.
Dec 8, 2017
A game is made by many people not one, I wouldn't boycott a game I wanted to play just because of one shitty person on the team
Nov 14, 2017
It's not an excuse but I think Woods' has right of first refusal for any Hades voice acting and he's on record about how much he loves to play the character so I don't think Disney had much recourse in getting rid of him.

I have skipped playing other games because of voice actors or other people involved with the games (Detroit: Become Human; David Cage, A Hat in Time; JonTron).
Oct 25, 2017
I don't boycott games because of questionable life choices or statements of an individual. I'd be cheating myself of a possible good game experience.
Oct 27, 2017
If I felt that strongly about someone in the voice cast I would just think to myself "fuck that guy" if I heard his voice in game. But I wouldn't skip out on the game entirely if it was one I was interested in.
Oct 27, 2017
I understand you OP. As a gay man myself, it’s hard to ignore when people associated with a game are actively against your very existence.

For me personally, I don’t have a hard and fast rule for anything. Persona 4 and 5’s homophobia almost turned me off the game entirely, but I enjoyed my experience with both well enough that I didn’t find the entire game a waste. The Hades thing is a turn off but I never had a stake in KH to begin with. I kind of just assess each game as it is along with the views of the creators (if they’re being publicized, I don’t actively seek it out) and make a judgment call from there.
Oct 27, 2017
Never been too sensitive about any subject to wanna boycott a piece of media... Maybe if James Woods made a documentary expressing his views about trans issues then I might skip.
Oct 27, 2017
Mexicali, Mexico
I don't boycot games.

I would not play any games if the involvement of a single shitty individual in a game is enough for me to not play games; because I assure you, an indivitual with shitty views has worked in every single game on existance.
Oct 27, 2017
For me, it would depend on a lot of things. I didn’t plan on purchasing KH3 regardless, but in this instance I wouldn’t let his involvement deter me. He probably got the role because in his original contract to play Hades many years ago, there was probably (I don’t know for sure but I believe this is standard practice) a “first right of refusal” clause that makes it so, if the role comes up again in any future media, he gets first dibs at playing the character. If I were a Kingdom Hearts fan, I wouldn’t forego supporting the hundreds (thousands?) who have worked on this game simply because of one asshole who got in because of probably contractual nonsense and probably already got paid for the role.

That said, if James Woods (or someone equally bad) was running the studio, or writing the game, or had some higher position where he was either responsible for or directly profiting from the success of the game, then that’s a different case and I would probably boycott it.
Nov 17, 2017
He was probably already paid for his role in the game, I doubt he's going to be getting any percentage of copies sold.
Oct 26, 2017
Lake Titicaca
I'm not going to boycott a game I'm interested in just because of one person's dubious morals, especially when said person has a minor role in its production. I guess I'm a firm believer in the whole "Separate the art from the artist" adage. Roman Polanski being the awful person that he is doesn't change my opinion about Chinatown, and his involvement isn't going to stop me from watching it again.
Apr 10, 2018
Boycotting is really a personal thing, but I think its really dependant on significance of their role and if they get continued financial gain from your sale. If they get a set amount, then regardless if you buy it, it doesn't actually matter. In James Wooods case, he's already a notable figure and plays Hades due to Disney's contracts. So boycotting doesn't even help prevent him from getting future roles.
Oct 27, 2017
I haven't boycotted a game because of a particular person's involvement, but I'm considering passing on Cyberpunk. Their transphobia, while it was probably being said by just one person, reflects on the whole company to me since it was on their official social media pages.
Oct 27, 2017
No, I personally choose to separate the art from the artist, and to make my purchases solely on my ability to appreciate the product.
Oct 25, 2017
I don't blame people who boycott the game over this, but I personally wouldn't do it for such a thing. Guy is a dick but not a criminal, and there's hundreds, overall possibly thousands of people involved with this game, I wouldn't be able to get myself to ignore a game just because a person I dislike is involved in a minor role (voice actors work on the game far less than programmers, artists, testers, etc.). I can ignore a game over terrible practices against gamers, horrible working conditions and such, but this seems a bit too little for me who loves games. It'd honestly be difficult to buy a single triple-A game if I were to boycott over the shitty opinions of 0.01% of the people involved with it. But again, I can't blame those who will skip the game because of this. Make your voice heard, demand change, I'm with that. I'm not personally interested in this game so I ain't buying regardless, but I don't think it's a bad fight at all. Social relevance of the issue is, imho, more important here, but the battle's a fair one so I ain't complaining.
Apr 28, 2018
A lot of good responses in here. I guess every time I hear James Woods' voice I can think back to that hilarious ResetEra story I read about someone punching the shit out of him in a bar and then another person stealing his Ferragamo shoes while he was unconscious!
Oct 27, 2017
I boycotted Kingdom Come because Dan Vavra blocked me on Facebook. Eye for an eye, bitch.

I did buy the game on behalf of a friend who wanted to play it though (he's not much of a gamer so he trusted me with taking care of getting both the game and the Xbox he was going to play it on, and then setting it all up).
Oct 25, 2017
Lets say the game doesn't sell well BECAUSE James Woods was in it... Do you think he would know, or care?

The answer, is No.... He gets paid either way. The only person you are hurting, is the developer.

Buy what you want to play and move on knowing you're a generally better and more open minded person than he seems to be.


The Abominable Showman
Oct 25, 2017
It's very hard for me to boycott a game because of one voice actor, especially considering Disney's hands are tied there - they are contractually obligated to offer the part to the original actor whenever they bring a character back, and James Woods LOVES to play the part. I'm sure they would recast him if they could.

It's a different scenario when it's the director of the game who's a gigantic toxic bastard.
Oct 27, 2017
A lot of good responses in here. I guess every time I hear James Woods' voice I can think back to that hilarious ResetEra story I read about someone punching the shit out of him in a bar and then another person stealing his Ferragamo shoes while he was unconscious!
You seem like a genuinely delightful person

Nov 2, 2017
I don't get too worried over that stuff unless were are talking about companies/products that overtly stand for a specific problematic agenda (ie Fox News, Breitbart, NRA etc. )

But I don't freak out when random company X, Y, or Z has somebody whose politics I don't agree with- Because that can be any company- surely all got somebody working there who might identify as conservative, or hold beliefs that aren't the same as my own. But it really doesn't have anything to do with the products they offer (in this case Kingdom Hearts 3) which is very much un-political.

Look, I understand not liking James Wood's politics, but to deprive yourself of a product because you know one person in a sea of hundreds (if not thousands) who helped bring this product to market isn't your favorite is kind of crazy, IMO. And there is the unknown factor too- Look at it another way- the game carries a Disney license- I bet you a lot of those Disney execs think Donald Trump's policies are just grand. They will profit from the game too. I'm sure Square Enix's team has conservative people working there.

But you can't get wrapped up in that. Sometimes we can take things too far, and I think in this case it is a reach. If you enjoy the series, then play the game. It is the product of a team of people, with a large range of belief systems, all of which didn't really mean squat to them in terms of making this particular product, which is meant to be escapist entertainment. Just enjoy it.
May 8, 2018
While I definitely understand avoiding a game featuring a prominent voice actor who happens to be a scumbag; it would be extremely difficult to find a big game that has 0% association with any bad human beings in some way.


The Abominable Showman
Oct 25, 2017
Boycotting probably won't even send a message anyway, considering James probably has contractual security.
He does. Disney's voice actor contracts are ironclad. The original actor to play the part gets first right of refusal every time a character is brought back. And considering Woods is a gigantic shithead, if people DIDN'T want him to play the part anymore it would just make him want to do it even more out of spite.
May 12, 2018
It sucks, but in the end the actors were already paid for it. So buying used, or not buying at all won't send a message about the actor, but more of just not wanting the game.

The best in this case, is to continue spreading the word, demand answers from publishers and continue pressuring the media to bother said publishers.
Nov 3, 2017
Basically nobody actually buys even a fraction of the games that come out.

We don’t buy games because we don’t have time to play them.

We don’t buy games because the cover art didn’t look that appealing.

We don’t buy games, often, for no actual reason. There are literally countless games I haven’t bought that I couldn’t even give you a single reason beyond “I guess I’m not interested” justifying my decision to not buy them.

Never let anyone tell you that a moral objection to someone who works on it is not a good reason to purchase a product. It’s a far better reason than almost any other.