Yooka-Laylee Dev Removes JonTron’s Voice Acting After Racism ControversyImages via Playtonics/Team17 Games News Yooka-Laylee
Two years after inviting him to provide voiceover work for the still-forthcoming Yooka-Laylee, developer Playtonic has decided to remove popular YouTuber JonTron’s material from the game via a day-one patch.
If you know who JonTron (real name: Jon Jafari) is, you probably know that a lot people are angry with him for recently saying some racist things online. If you’re not familiar with him, this Gizmodo article provides a pretty detailed account of what he said.
Playtonic told GamesIndustry.biz today in a statement, “We recently became aware of comments made by voice artist JonTron after development on Yooka-Laylee had been completed.” Their statement continued:
JonTron is a talented video presenter who we were initially, two years ago, happy to include as a voice contributor in our game. 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. 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.
Jafari has since claimed that his words were misconstrued or taken out of context, and that he couldn’t possibly be anti-immigrant because he’s the child of Iranian and Hungarian immigrants. Form your own opinions on his statement by watching it here, if you want.
Yooka-Laylee is the spiritual successor to the Banjo-Kazooie games, and was developed by a number of key team members that worked on the latter series at Rare in the ‘90s. After a successful Kickstarter campaign two years ago, the game is finally coming to PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, Linux and the Nintendo Switch on April 11.