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Super Monkey Ball announcer dropped after accusing SEGA of misconduct

An integral component of the beloved Super Monkey Ball franchise, I’m sure fans would agree, is the announcer. Things just wouldn’t feel the same without that enthusiastic, chipper 20-something dude hollering phrases of encouragement at your sphere-bound simian as they careen off mesas and screech round hairpin turns. What’s more, he’s been in since the very beginning, back in the bygone era of the (prepare to feel old) early 2000s. His name? Brian Matt Uhl, and he’s been the soundtrack to both your joy and abject frustration for the better part of two decades. Love him or hate him, he’s key to the whole shebang.

Which is why attentive fans may feel that they’ve only been handed half a shebang with the newest entry, Banana Mania, which you can check out our review of here. It’s got lots going for it and is definitely worth your time, but one thing is conspicuously absent: Uhl’s voice. Why? Well, as NME reports, the reality might be far more serious than the candy-coloured exterior of AiAi’s world would belie.

I should have known never to trust something that sold its soul to Dole.

Even though Uhl “stated on June 20 that he would be present” in the game, that hasn’t panned out, with him supposedly being axed “following accusations of SEGA mistreating voice talent” (which if true continues a worrying trend of late concerning game companies’ handling of their talent) and him “allegedly breaking an NDA.” A SEGA representative reached out and stated that “Brian Matt Uhl did not work on Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania and has not been involved with the Super Monkey Ball series for some time,” which obviously pits these two contradictory stories against one another.

In 2020, “Matt posted a video titled ‘The Dark Side of SEGA’, where he alleged that SEGA has a history of mistreating foreign voice actors by not crediting them or paying royalties.” Speculation is rife that this may have been the unofficial reason he was dropped from the project, as it seems unlikely the usually nostalgia-bent company would suddenly want to dispose of one of the most iconic parts of the franchise.

Then again, maybe there is precedent.

There are also “concerns that Matt may have breached an NDA with SEGA by sharing lines from a “paid recording” session” prior to public announcement of the project. Whatever the reason – and frankly we may never know it – it’s still disappointing to miss out on Uhl’s dulcet tones.

If ever there was a definitive lesson in not biting the hand that feeds, this would be it. But then, sometimes, that darn hand just needs to be bit, no matter how tasty the morsels it offers are. Just to make sure it treats you right.

What side do you fall on here? Will you be playing the game regardless? Let us know!

Via, NME.

Bobby Mills

Motor-mouthed Brit with a decades long - well, two decades, at least - passion for gaming. Writer, filmmaker, avid lover of birthdays. Still remembers the glory days of ONM. May it rest in peace.
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