Yooka-Laylee Ditches JonTron's Voice Acting Over His 'Personal Viewpoints'

Recently, Jon "JonTron" Jafari made some damn extreme comments about race, which set off a chain reaction of, well, reactions across the internet. The latest consequence of Jafari's ugly remarks: Upcoming N64-era platformer revival game Yooka-Laylee is removing his voice acting.

"We recently became aware of comments made by voice artist JonTron after development on Yooka-Laylee had been completed," developer Playtonic told GamesIndustry.biz.

They added that they are, on no uncertain terms, opposed to the sentiment behind Jafari's comments, and they don't want any of that to bleed over into the game they have created.

"JonTron is a talented video presenter who we were initially, two years ago, happy to include as a voice contributor in our game," they said. "However, in light of his recent personal viewpoints we have made the decision to remove JonTron's inclusion in the game via a forthcoming content update."

"We would like to make absolutely clear that we do not endorse or support JonTron's personal viewpoints and that, as an external fan contributor, he does not represent Playtonic in any capacity," they added. "Playtonic is a studio that celebrates diversity in all forms and strives to make games that everyone can enjoy. As such, we deeply regret any implied association that could make players feel anything but 100% comfortable in our game worlds, or distract from the incredible goodwill and love shown by our fans and Kickstarter backers."


    Glad that there's some consequences to spouting white nationalist garbage, finally!

    Welp, while I don't care for JonTrons personal points of view on the world, this reaction by Playtonic annoys me and I won't be purchasing this game until it ends up part of a $5 bundle (bundlestars, humblebundle etc etc).

    Though the amount of sales they would have lost if they had kept him in the game would have surely been somewhat more noticeable as compared to the much smaller amount they'll potentially lose by doing this.

      Yeah money should decide everything.

        Money and a company image usually decides most things. Companies tend to have profits as their primary goal (not all of them).

        They made a choice to remove someone from their game for that persons views and/or reputation and the negative effect it would have on them, and that's more than fair. I'll be making the same choice to not buy their game as my minor reply to this action.

      Why? There's nothing wrong with a company deciding they don't want to be associated with an individual.

      Last edited 24/03/17 11:57 am

      On the one hand people think their opinions are so important that they spout them everywhere for everyone and raise them above even fact and reason. Opinions are paramount.

      On the other hand, people think there should be no consequences for expressing their opinions. Opinions are nothing.

      They hold these two views simultaneously: doublethink.

      Last edited 31/03/17 8:43 pm

      Lol I doubt there are people out there who were planning on buying/not buying this because of some shitty Youtuber's voice acting.

        There's been a noticeable amount vocalizing their decisions to purchase/not purchase in regards to this. Maybe it's only a small percentage of their potential market/sales though, I'm not too sure.

        However purchases are one of the few ways that a consumer can show their support, or disagreement with a company.

      Tsk, the inconvenient realities of having ethics and standards.

    Has this game already gone gold? If so, then sadly the content update doesn't matter.

    If anything, this will be like Little Big Planet where the first run of the games become sought out collectors' items for the removed track.

    Just checked the Kick-Starter and the backlash has already begun.

    Many backer's are demanding refunds.

      Well no shit a lot of people only know about the game due to him ( im not saying everyone but about 60%) so good on them.

        No need for the profanity. Until a few weeks ago I've never heard of JonTron.

        I knew of this game from the Gaijin Gamers and have been interested because it is a call back to the old Banjo games.

        The decision to remove the track maybe in bad taste but at the same time so is leaving it in.

        Remove the track and be seen as a politically motivated or leave it in and be seen as condoning his views.

        As the expression goes, "Damned if we do, damned if we don't."

          You do realize the only reason they are canning his part/parts is to make themselves look good in the eyes of the sjw community seeing as these days they just attack anything and everyone they deem as racist or sexist and due to jons last few days on twitter and that podcast they would jump right on the hate train seeing as jontron has...no had a role (despite it only beeing a cameo) they get rid of it because 'oh no jon is speaking his mind and exercising his basic human rights, yep gotta get rid of him'.

          You see how pathetic that makes them also I would like to point out the fact of if he is so bad for potential business then why is he still under contract with maker

            You see how pathetic that makes them

            Er, no.

            You pointed out that JonTron is exercising his basic human right. So is the developer; he voices offensive and wrong and (metaphorically) showed him the door.

            I was going to argue with you, but you're too fucking stupid to get it.

      They did not buy anything though, so they are not entitled to a refund.

        Valid point. How is backing a Kick Starter no different from backing a start up company?

        Again, I'm no lawyer but I think if the start up tanks one becomes a unsecured creditor and it is up to the administrators (assuming the situation is lucky enough to have one appointed) to determine if one is entitled to any recovery of funds.

        Thus, if my assumption is correct, one should go in with that reality in mind before backing a Kick Starter.

          The Kickstarter ToU agreement basically states that if a project looks like it will not be able to be completed in the promised form then the project owner must put forward a plan describing how they will complete the project in an alternate fashion, even if it is not the original form. In the event that there is no way it can be completed, the project owner is obligated to negotiate refunds from the remaining money for those that have not yet received a promised reward.

          In this instance though, the backers are out of luck because the project was completed and thus the obligations for delivery have been met so no refunds are necessary.

          Its not even that. Your not buying anything when you kick start something. What your doing is pledging money to something that may or may not get finished. There is no sale, not technically. Yes, they give you the game, BUT only if you pay enough, do itd less you buy it, and more you get something for the pledge. If a dev went to court here in Aus, I get the feeling it would be pritty close as to who 'wins' the case.

          The same apply's, I should add, to the Star Citizen ships. Your not technically buying the ships. Your pledging money, and getting a reward for doing so. Its why I have only put enough in for a ship and the game it self. lol

    Might as well be saying "We removed JonTron because of wrongthink. We are Borg, agree with us 100% in our safe space".

      Sure that is the Borg? Sounds more like recruiting day at Apple.


    I don't even agree with Jon but This just sends a message of "Don't express your personal views"

      He can express his views all he wants. He doesn't have the right to have other people like, agree, or take those views seriously.

      Your actions have consequences, why can't your words?

        I'm not saying they shouldn't have consequences.

        Rather that now, hateful people will just keep their mouths shut and fester resentment. You can confront or educate people when people don't feel safe to speak.

          Not really, I'd argue the issue is that he would have likely had these views for sometime and they didn't come to light.

          The issue is when you start speaking this stuff after you have gained your followers, to an extent it can be like trying to generate momentum for something you otherwise wouldn't have.

          I'd argue the issue is that it took this long for him to come out about it that is the issue, he may have still been able to establish a following regardless.

          But it would be like Leonardo DiCaprio finally getting that oscar and then when he did going on a speech about how vaccinations are harmful.

          Instead of spreading his opinion because it's his opinion he's done so in a way that is potentially deceptive to his audience.(which is why there is such a hubub)

          If these opinions were known before now or we could see the evolution of his opinion to this point it would hardly be an issue, it would just be well he's been leaning that way for years

          People who hold these views are rarely convinced to change them with rational arguments. Best just shun them and refuse to give them a platform to spout hate from

            "refuse to give them a platform to spout hate from"
            I don't think the character he was voicing was going to be giving political opinions on immigration.

            "Best just shun them and refuse to give them a platform to spout hate from"
            Given that everyone has begun voting right wing I'd say no that doesn't work.
            It just further solidifys our echo chambers.
            We need more dialog not less.

            Honestly if you speak to people calmly and with respect, Not intentionally misrepresenting what they're saying and with consideration to the fact that sometimes people have trouble finding the right words to explain their thoughts, Then yes you can change their views.

            I don't agree with all of Jon Trons views but they didn't come across with any hatred, Its more that they were logical conclusions drawn from misinformed facts.

            Its the far far left and alt right internet bully mobs who are the ones truly full of hatred.
            The ones who scour the internet searching for reasons to gang up and self righteously attempt to ruin peoples lives.
            "You're opinions are wrong!, You're a white nationalist nazi loving trump supporter, I'm going to get you fired!"
            And if not that it'll be;
            "You're opinions are wrong!, You're An islamophile communist feminazi cuck! I'm going to get YOU fired!"

            I'm sure you must have older right wing relatives, Would you talk to them like this? Would you out them and form a hate mob to try and ruin their careers as punishment for their political thoughts?
            No, Because you know them and you know they're still human beings with faults just like all of us. They get scared, they get misinformed, They're not always going to be correct and neither are you or I.
            Please try to understand where they are coming from, Try to help them understand why you think they're wrong and if they don't agree with you then don't get frustrated and go burning bridges.
            Just by setting the right example you make progress with them even if it doesn't feel like it.

      If your personal views are a bunch of inaccurate, racist bullshit, ("Rich blacks commit more crime than poor whites") then yeah, maybe you shouldn't open your mouth.

      On the other hand, it is handy when they do, so I can ensure I don't help fund people who do believe those things.

        So it's not ok to express your views if other people don't agree with them?

          No, one is very much entitled to. Freedom of speech does not equate to freedom of consequence.

          It's fine to express your views. A lot of positive change was built on expressing unpopular opinions. It just so happens that his views don't align with Playtonic so they gave him the boot. His views are racist and stupid so he's being called out on it. He's free to express himself but that doesn't mean he can express himself without criticism or consiquences.

            If your personal views are a bunch of inaccurate, racist bullshit, ("Rich blacks commit more crime than poor whites") then yeah, maybe you shouldn't open your mouth.

            I was referring to this specifically. It definitely sounds like Mic thinks that you shouldn't be able to express views that may be considered inaccurate, racist bullshit. Like, I don't care what you believe. I don't care if it's racist or sexist or even extremely progressive. Nobody should be told that they shouldn't open their mouth just because they hold a certain set of world views.

            Last edited 24/03/17 5:03 pm

      How does the saying go?

      "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"

        This goes futher than that. This doesn't just defend my right to express myself, it says that my views are sacred and free of consiquences. It denies Playtonic's rights. Everyone has to shut up and stop expressing their views because JonTron has a right to say whatever he wants.

        I think that quote is about healthy debate and expression of ideas, not pure freedom of speech. I do not want to control what you think, but I'm not going to let someone stand up and spout off about anything they want unchallenged. To leave statements like JonTron's uncontested is irresponsible.

        He can say whatever he wants, and the devs can respond to that however they want. In this case, they now want nothing to do with him and they're well within their rights to do that.
        Freedom of Speech protects you from the government persecution, not from the consequences

          The thing I most want to know now is whether or not JonTron will hush up, fearing that any further sharing of his personal sentiments won't land him further jobs, etc.

            Is it actually a bad thing if this whole incident causes him to re-evaluate those beliefs and try to understand why people might find them abhorrent?

        He said it. No one stopped him. Those "rights" you speak of already did their work. What is happening now is that people are "disapproving" of it. Would you take that right from them?

      More like "Don't express your personal views if you're a racist dickhead."

    I don't get why people are getting all up in arms about this. A contractee publicly shared views that didn't align with their contractor so the contractor severed ties with the contractee. It's not as if he's the greatest voice actor around.

    On a happier note: I had no idea this was so close to coming out! Banjo Kazooie still holds up as an enjoyable game, so I hope this manages to scratch that same itch effectively

      It's not as if he's the greatest voice actor around

      But damn it man, can he sing!

    Whilst I don't agree with the sentiments Jontron expressed I don't think this was the right move by Playtonic, It also looks like a "Lose-Lose"situation for them, either they remove Jontron and suffer a fan backlash or keep him in and potentially be drawn into his racist comment debacle. Since I wasn't a Yooka-Laylee backer I had no idea that Jontron was in the game and would have remained ignorant if Playtonic hadn't spoken up. I would have happily bought the game anyway and still will. To me this was a case of "Throw Fuel on the Fire" or "Ride Out the Storm", I think the have gone for the former.

      I think financially they would have won by keeping him in. This will probably have blown over by the time the game launches, and most people who recognise him will give him a free pass. From what I know he wasn't a major star in the game so if people do realise they won't realise until after purchase. There's always the risk of somewhere like Kotaku jumping on it, but I don't think they hold as much sway as they appear to.
      However profit isn't the only responsibility of a business. This is the right thing to do.

      Your lose lose is in two different categories.

      They can either incur a stature/credibility loss from association.

      Or they can incur a financial loss from disassociation(which assumes that by ditching him they'll lose more sales than they will make)

      They chose the one that seems less financially motivated so good on them

    So in other words, playtonic are spineless.

    Jontron's role in the game had nothing to do with politics, they just made things political by removing him.

      Jontrons role in the game was indeed nothing political.

      Jontrons statements outside the game have connotations which some players may be offended or upset by.

      As a result jontron has politically charged his non political work by association.

      There's nothing spineless about making hard choices to be true to your beliefs.

    So is this change going to be in the base game, or will it be through a patch? If it's the latter can I just disable updates to keep Jontron's voice?
    Jontron was the factor that pushed me over the fence to back the Kickstarter. Whilst I do want to play the game as I loved Banjo-Kazooie & Tooie, the fact the aspect that got me to back the project being removed has me perturbed.

      Really? I've known about this game for ages, and only today did I find out that JonTron was doing voicework.
      Of all the reason you'd consider buying a game, I personally find pseudo-celebrity voice acting to be a pretty ridiculous reason.

        It was the conversation that happened between Playtonic & JonTron, where JonTron threw out a tweet about the Kickstarter, then Playtonic responded with a thanks and interest in Jon's voicework, which resulted in them saying something along the lines of "We're sending you a googly-eyed microphone".
        So the reason isn't JonTron per-se, but rather how Playtonic reacted in an endearing way that combined with what now seemed JonTron's involvement and my nostalgic love for Banjo-Kazooie got me to pledge.

    "Playtonic is a studio that celebrates diversity in all forms and strives to make games that everyone can enjoy."

    Except diversity of thought. And apparently jontron making gibberish sounds would've precluded some people from enjoying the game.

      "Freedom of Speech" is supposed to protect people from their own government, it is not a right to spread hate. If your 'opinion' happens to be objectively innacurate and potentially harmful, then everyone is better off if you keep your bullshit to Trump rallies with all the other likeminded idiots.
      You Americans like to pick and choose your rights. Along with 'Freedom of Speech' people also have the right to not be discriminated against based on nationality, creed, sexuality etc. but you tend to only remember the rights that favour your own political viewpoints.
      Get a grip.

    I'm all up with Playtonic showing their ethical integrity and exercising creative control.

    Hey, hopefully this clears up a bit for those who don't understand the whole JonTron drama. Better to research some things than to jump on the internet bandwagon with your torches and pitchforks. Basically, Jon in a late night Twitch debate shared that he didn't like mass immigration, he's fine with immigration but as long as it's handled correctly.

    Naturally, the internet called him racist and all the other things the internet likes to do when something like this pops up.

    Here's a link to that whole story. https://twitter.com/JonTronShow/status/843433076634128385

      Shush you. You know good and well that people actually trying to understand someone's statements results in less of an online circus. It's far easier to label someone a racist/sjw/alt-righter and run with it rather than provide a balanced view. Unless you're Philip DeFranco but he just makes it look easy.

      That said, it wasn't much of a debate. Jon appeared to go into it thinking it was going to be a calmer discussion than an argument. He wasn't prepared and found himself on the spot and backed into a corner against a seasoned master debater.

      Last edited 24/03/17 5:54 pm

      "Rich blacks commit more crimes than poor whites" is also something he said. Y'know.

    This reminds me of the fooforaw surrounding Shadow Complex and the fact that the writing was done by Orson Scott Card.

    Reading through these comments... Let's get one thing straight.

    Hate speech is not free speech.

    Casting other human beings in a sub human light is wrong. Racially profiling a whole group of human beings is wrong. Treating other human beings as less because of a physical trait is wrong.

    I support Playtonic 100% and this just makes me love them more.

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