Hideo Kojima: why David Hayter will not be returning

Hideo Kojima recently did an interview with Game Trailers’ Geoff Keighley, right after the confirmation of Metal Gear V: The Phantom Pain. In it, Kojima explains that they’re creating an entirely new experience for the upcoming continuation of the Metal Gear title and it seems that some ties to the past need to be severed. “I can say, yes, it will be a new person. I can’t say who it is yet. What we’re trying to accomplish here is 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.”

For most Metal Gear fans, this instinctively triggers a violent pop in the brain followed by a rage threatening any future purchase of the series. For fifteen years, David Hayter has helped voice one of the most unique and iconic characters from video games of all time. Most fans can’t even think of seeing Snake–any version or clone of him–without hearing Hayter’s rasping tone. The decision can be a confusing and frustrating one, especially since the company signed on Hayter to play–what turned out to be–the younger version of Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.



So was there quiet conflict or grudges between Kojima and Hayter’s performance over the past years? If so, no one is talking. When the news became official, Hayter tweeted, “Well look, at least I had a good run”. To throw fuel on to the fire in fans’ brains, when he was asked if Kojima or anyone approached him for the role or even told him he wasn’t going to take part in MGS 5, Hayter was reported as replying, “Nope”.

With the professionally short response, one can only believe that Hideo wants a complete break from his past games with Snake. You had Hayter for the clones and Naked Snake, with Richard Doyle stepping in for Old Big Boss. One could rationalize that you would in fact need a different tone for the next (or back?) step in the series. But if that were the case, why would there be reports of the Japanese voice actor for Snake remaining the same?

Unless Kojima is pulling another one of his infamous redirects, you better sit back and prepare to truly accept the changes Kojima has in store for us. Drama aside, I think we’re missing the real reason we need to be worried. Psycho Mantis is back and should be lacking his major health issues, and I’m guessing Hideo is going to find even more disturbing and innovative ways for Mantis to screw with your DualShock 4! Any guesses on who the next Snake will be voiced by? I’m thinking Keifer Sutherland or Hugh Jackman would do nicely.


Image of David Hayter courtesy of social.bioware.com