You can enjoy the spiritual successor to the Nintendo 64 Banjo-Kazooie games without having to hear the grunting, guttural sounds of someone who espouses views that are nearly identical to confirmed white supremacists.
Developer Playtonic has dropped the voice of Jon “JonTron” Jafari from its upcoming 3D platformer Yooka-Laylee, which will debut on console and PC on April 11. The studio made the decision following JonTron’s remarks on social media and YouTube about black people, Africa, and Mexicans that began with the video creator defending U.S. representative Steve King’s statement that America cannot “restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
JonTron went on to debate game streamer Destiny in a livestream on YouTube where he claimed that wealthy black Americans commit more crimes than poor whites, that the Black Lives Matter movement approves of violence, and that Western countries have eliminated discrimination.
Now you will no longer hear the source of those thoughts in Yooka-Laylee.
In a public statement, a Playtonic spokesperson said the following:
We recently became aware of comments made by voice artist JonTron after development on Yooka-Laylee had been completed. 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 percent comfortable in our game worlds, or distract from the incredible goodwill and love shown by our fans and Kickstarter backers.
JonTron has previously seen that his statements can have consequences. The forum dedicated to his channel on Reddit blew up with criticism even from his most dedicated fans. He did lose some subscribers on YouTube — although his channel has since begun to recover those losses. JonTron did come out and admit in a video that he was not prepared to debate the topics he talked about, and he claims that the media is extrapolating ideas from his words that he knows he doesn’t believe.
And yet Playtonic still doesn’t want his voice in its game. Luckily for the Yooka-Laylee developer, it shouldn’t have to record too many lines. Banjo-Kazooie and this new game that emulates the formula of that hit both just have characters making guttural noises during on-screen text dialogue.
And if I wanted to hear JonTron make language-like gibberish that doesn’t really mean anything, I would just watch his videos.