Borderlands 3 brought back the character of Rhys, played by Troy Baker, who starred as one of the player characters in Telltale's Tales From the Borderlands. However, this came with a notable caveat that left Borderlands fans confused for months with a back and forth regarding the reasoning why Troy Baker would not be reprising his role as Rhys in the mainline Borderlands title.
This involved Randy Pitchford the CEO of Gearbox Software saying that he, “was told by the audio director that Baker turned it down.” Troy Baker has expressed interest several times in reprising the role but it simply wasn’t in the cards namely through a decision in Gearbox’s practices.
Speaking to VG247.com at a fan event for his and Nolan North's Retro Replay, Baker discussed how he was on board to return but Gearbox wouldn't "go about doing it the way that we needed it to be done." He explained:
“So they came to me, and they were like, ‘Do you want to do this? Which I said, ‘Absolutely.’ And then they made it impossible for me to do the role. It had nothing to do with money, it had nothing to do with money. They just simply would not go about doing it the way that we needed it to be done. So then it was like, I never said no.”
When asked for further clarification based on previous suggestions of scheduling conflicts or something else, Baker explained in a way that was pretty clear cut. He explained it's because Gearbox “wouldn’t go union.”
“No, it was simply a matter of they wouldn’t go union, and I can’t do a non-union gig. And without getting too deep into the weeds of that, we had long conversations about this. We always knew going into it, that this was going to be the thing. They were going to take these characters, and put them from the Tales from the Borderlands series from Telltale, into Borderlands proper. I’ve been waiting for this call. They were like, ‘Do you want to do this?’ And I said, ‘Yes’. They never, because they would never move from that position. I’m not mad. It’s invariably a completely different character, but it still stings.”
It’s a shame that this issue impacted Borderlands 3 and the character of Rhys but at least the reasoning can finally be laid to rest. As Troy Baker has stated , Rhys is a different character in the latest game so a change of voice is not inherently a bad thing, although this is notably problematic to those who were attached to Baker's performance in Tales From The Borderlands.
For more on Borderlands 3, you can read our review of the game.