Fans and followers of Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima have long been accustomed to the hue of strangeness and subterfuge that permeates the PR apparatus of his development studio, Kojima Productions.
So much so, that when the developer announced last week that The Phantom Pain, which masqueraded for months a new IP from “Moby Dick Studios,” was actually one and the same with Metal Gear Solid 5, it seemed less a revelation than a formality; the Internet had been on the case from day — night — 1 following the Spike VGA’s.
But then an even greater surprise unfolded. After the title screen rolled on Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain’s debut trailer, fans quickly noticed that the iconic, granular, gritty vocals of longtime MGS voice actor David Hayter were glaringly absent. In short order, Hideo Kojima confirmed days later that Hayter was asked not to reprise his role as Snake (the character in this instance being Naked Snake, aka Big Boss) in the upcoming game:
“It will be a new person, I can’t say who yet. What we’re trying to accomplish is to recreate the Metal Gear series. It’s a new type of Metal Gear game, and we want to have this reflected in the voice actor as well.”
And so the matter seemed clear-cut. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain had little to hide anymore, and Hideo Kojima was forthright in defending the move as a creative revision. Hayter, who lent his voice to the very first Metal Gear Solid in 1998 as Solid Snake, had simply found himself on the outside of an aging franchise attempting to revitalize its image.
But then came the actor’s personal response on April 1 — a day when the Internet, coincidentally, bears a striking resemblance to Metal Gear Solid 5’s marketing campaign thus far.
Posting a lengthy response to his exclusion from the game on TwitLonger, Hayter recounted meeting with Kojima Productions to discuss his potential involvement as Snake. Curiously, while he’s nothing less than amicable and grateful for his time with the series, the actor describes an awkward scene in which he was given an abrupt, almost curt, rejection by “someone involved in the production” over lunch.
“I have been up in Toronto, for the past eight months, directing my first film. On the December break, I came home to Los Angeles for the holidays. I heard then, that recording sessions for MG:V were being put together. But I didn’t hear anything about whether I’d be needed or not. So, I got in touch with someone involved in the production. We got together for lunch, and he told me that they ‘wouldn’t be needing me’ on this game. No reason, or explanation was given beyond that. And that was it.”
For a voice that’s been so central to the Metal Gear franchise — either as Solid Snake or Naked Snake in each of its core (English) iterations — it’s hard to believe that Hayter would be dismissed with little more than a whisper (and perhaps trout). Considering the level of dupery that’s been engaged in with MGS 5 already, it wouldn’t be beyond Hideo Kojima to have one more ruse up his sleeve.
As the first open-world entry in the series’ history, MGS 5 might indeed present new obstacles for balancing scripted and unscripted voice sequences that wouldn’t play well to Hayter’s rough-spun delivery. Still, until we’re certain about the pair of vocal chords behind Big Boss, it stands within reason that Hayter remains a prime candidate for the job.
Ranters, who do think will be voicing Snake in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain?
Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.
Source: David Hayter – TwitLonger [via IGN]