Kiefer Sutherland is the new voice and face of Snake in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

By Luke Caulfield , Updated Jun 06, 2013 10:54 PM EDT

During their traditional, pre-E3 stream, Konami revealed some interesting things about future games the company will be bringing to consoles in the next few months: some mobile games, PES 2014, that's all well and good. It was about a third of the way through the presentation that long time Metal Gear director Hideo Kojima popped up to discuss the latest game in the series, The Phantom Pain.

Kojima spoke of the game's darker tone and themes, and how he wanted an actor who could bring a more "subdued performance expressed thorugh subtle facial movements and tone of voice, rather than words." Kojima continued, "Further more, 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 40's. It's different from anything we've done before, so I asked a producer friend of mine in Hollywood, Avi Arad, for advice. He's the one who introduced me to Mr. Kiefer Sutherland, and I was like, 'why didn't I think of that?'"

Arad thought that Sutherland's "rich voice...maintains a level of history," and Kojima agreed, saying Sutherland "was the perfect fit in terms of age and performance."

Kojima's plan is that Sutherland's performance and vocal delivery alone will be enough to convey aspects of the game's story that were normally reserved for dialogue.

Sutherland is indeed a gifted actor, but I do worry a bit about his, by his own admittance, lack of familiarity with the character. This is a game franchise and character that's been around now for 25 years, and the game that sees Snake complete his transformation into Big Boss is being passed off to someone brand new.

Snake's longtime voice actor David Hayter was borderline supportive via Twitter in the way that only someone losing their job could be, writing, "Ah well, Can't fault @RealKiefer Great actor, good man. The game will probably still be excellent. Like New Coke!" Still, he was more than thankful to fans who pledged support when it was revealed Hayter wasn't returning to the role, saying, "Getting fired was never so heartwarming."

We found out in late March that Hayter hadn't been contacted to work on The Phantom Pain. Kojima eventually explained that Konami was trying 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."

Once it was clear that Hayter wasn't involved, he took to Twitlonger to voice his opinion, writing, "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. And I'll get by. I am not lacking for employment on any level. But I didn't want anybody to think that I was intentionally abandoning them. And know that I will miss this job, and this character, very much."

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