Two years ago, Konami confirmed that veteran Metal Gear Solid voice actor David Hayter?the voice of Snake in all his various incarnations since 1998?wouldn’t be reprising his role in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. The reasoning from director Hideo Kojima at the time was that he needed an actor able to express the subtlety necessary to convey the game’s “very heavy subjects” and “much darker” tone.
“I wanted Snake to have a more subdued performance, expressed through subtle facial movement and tone of voice, rather than words,” Kojima said at the time. “Furthermore, the game takes place in 1984, when Snake is 49 years old. Therefore, we needed someone who could genuinely convey both the facial and vocal qualities of a man in his late 40s.”
Enter Kiefer Sutherland. Of courses, there are plenty of instances in games where the voice actor doesn’t do the motion capture, so the explanation never quite seemed to make sense?not to mention the fact that Hayter himself is in his 40s. Hayter seems to agree. On Twitter, he posted a photo of himself in motion-capture makeup, accompanied by the statement: “Wow. Turns out I CAN do Facial Capture!”
Considering that we’re now only four months away from The Phantom Pain‘s release, it’s highly unlikely this has anything to do with that game and is simply another dig from Hayter at being removed from the role he helped make so iconic over nearly two decads. Hayter is currently slated to appear in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Koji Igarashi’s upcoming return to his action-exploration roots, and he’s also appearing in Canadian indie Hinterland’s The Long Dark, but work on that project is presumably done already, so perhaps this mo-cap session is for an unannounced game.
Still, conspiracy theories have persisted that Hayter is in The Phantom Pain and that his public anger at being replaced is nothing but an elaborate ruse, but we’ll likely have to wait until the game’s September 1st release in order to get complete confirmation one way or another.
To get a refresher on Metal Gear Solid V‘s voice-acting situation and see Kiefer Sutherland discuss his role without ever mentioning Snake or Metal Gear Solid by name, check out the trailer Konami released back when the decision to replace Hayter was first made public.