We already know that David Hayter won’t make a return as the voice of Snake for Metal Gear Solid V: the Phantom Pain. Today the popular voice actor and scriptwriter wrote a letter to the fans via TwitLonger in which he explained at length his standpoint on the issue.
Here are a few focal quotes:
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.
To be clear, I love being a part of the world of Metal Gear. I admire its technological innovations, the gameplay, the political message of it all. But primarily, I love the fans of these games. Two grown men burst into tears upon meeting me at the Vancouver Fan Expo last year.
Now that… Is a rare and excellent role. You know you’re making an impact.
And I love doing it.
If it were my choice, I would do this role forever. To hear anyone else’s voice coming from Snake’s battered throat, makes me a little ill, to be honest.
But the truth is — it’s not my choice. Any and all casting decisions are the sole purview of Hideo Kojima, and Konami itself. And that’s fair.
You can read the whole message here.
Hideo Kojima said that Hayter was not included in the cast because his studio is trying to “Recreate the Metal Gear series”, but personally I would say that doesn’t add up.
As much as I have the utmost respect for Kojima-san and his undeniable right to make his own artistic choices, as someone that did work extensively in voice acting on a professional level in the past (and casting was part of my job), I’d say how much a voice fits the role should be the primary if not only criteria for the choice of an actor short of budget reasons that obviously don’t apply here.
Not only changing the voices will play a very minor if not negligible part towards “recreating” the series, but experience teaches that changing a well known character’s voice unless strictly necessary pretty much always has a negative impact on a series’ enjoyment by its long-standing fans. Maybe developers should focus a little less on reinventing and rebooting, and a little more on maximizing our enjoyment of their products, but that’s just my personal take.
Of course there’s still the theory that all of this may be smoke and mirrors. The whole debut of Metal Gear Solid V has been a chorus of intentional misleading and hype-building fakes, with the Moby Dick Studios curtain to lead the charge. The fact that Hayter explicitly mentions the “April 1, 2013” date at the end of his post, a quite rare addition when writing on the internet, could easily indicate that this is all another of Kojima’s elaborate ruses.
We’ll have to wait and see, but for now, of course, do take what I just wrote with a large grain of salt. It’s just personal speculation and maybe a little bit of wishful thinking.