phantom pain

It has recently been revealed that David Hayter, the voice of Solid Snake in every English language Metal Gear Solid game, will not be returning to the series in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. In a recent interview with GameTrailers, Hideo Kojima said that, “It’s a new type of Metal Gear game and we wanted to have this reflected in the voice actor as well.” Of course, the main character is Big Boss this time around, not Solid Snake, making a strong argument for a change of actors; however, Hayter also voiced a young Big Boss before, showing that he’s more than capable of handling the character. While I’m not jumping to sign any petitions, I feel that this is a huge loss for the series that won’t be fully felt until MGSV is released. While it seems like there’s a bit of overreaction on a lot of peoples’ parts, I would argue that quite a bit of the controversy is well-founded.

For all intents and purposes, David Hayter IS Snake, whether Solid or Naked. He put over a decade of work into developing this character, learning how Snake would respond, and putting an incredible amount of emotion into a character that could have just turned into John Rambo. While I’m willing to put money on the wonderful Richard Doyle, the voice of Big Boss in MGS4, taking the reins, things just won’t be the same without Hayter. His gruff, up to three packs a day voice has always represented the series to the fullest. His voice is instantly recognizable and screams, “Soldier who has seen and done far more than he should ever have to, but will continually push and get the job done.” Kojima can cast whomever he would like, but the problem that I have is that it just doesn’t make much sense to change. If Hayter was demanding an exorbitant amount of money or going on horrible, Christian Bale-esque tirades, it would be perfectly understandable, but there is no indication that this is the case. Kojima has his reasons, I’m sure, but I wish he’d just share them, rather than just say “new direction,” and be done with it. At face value, taking an actor who has built a long-term relationship with a character and changing him out with a new actor seems like an awful idea.

And there’s no better way to prove a point than with an analogy! Let’s talk about a television show that it seems like everyone loves: Breaking Bad. With the last half of the final season soon to air, everyone’s ready to see how Walter White’s story ends. Now, imagine that you tune in and Walter White is no longer played by Bryan Cranston. Let’s say he’s portrayed by Denzel Washington. While everyone can agree that Mr. Washington is a wonderful actor, he has not put as much time and love into the character as Cranston, and would just not be able to pull it off as well. Everyone would be horrendously disappointed, to say the least. This situation is not that different. Throughout the various Snakes, Hayter has been a constant, fine-tuning his character work and building personalities. With him being snatched out of the series, someone else, who I’m sure will be of top quality, will have to begin from scratch building a relationship with the character. That doesn’t mean it’ll be awful, but the little nuances of character that Hayter can pull off without thinking will not be present in The Phantom Pain.

In the end, what’s going to change, other than just a voice, is the soul of the series. Hayter will be conspicuously absent, a void that will be blatantly obvious to people who have followed the franchise. How this will affect the game remains to be seen, but there’s going to be a subtle change that no one will be able to deny. With all that said, I will still buy this game the second it’s released. Despite this change, Metal Gear has always come as close as possible to gaming perfection; however, this one is going to be a little bittersweet, with the loss of possibly the most memorable voice in video gaming. Good luck, Mr. Hayter; you will be missed. May a flight of angels sing thee to thy rest. ( A little histrionics are always welcome in a Metal Gear Solid discussion.)

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About The Author

GuestPost represents the work of past New Gamer Nation writers. Though they may not be with us anymore physically, we know they are with us in spirit.

  • Jason Rose

    We really go into this topic on the latest episode of Grizzled Veterans. If you are curious, take a listen there.

  • Massacred

    Fun fact: David Hayter gave up half his paycheck merely to get the original voice
    cast for Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes.
    He was that dedicated to bringing the fans the authentic metal gear
    experience. He is too nice to ask us, but how could we possibly turn our back
    on him in his time of need? I will fight for David Hayter any day.

    • XanderRage

      Dang. . . Petition signed

  • Nainja99

    Oh no! What a disaster. Well looks like MGS4 is the last Metal Gear I’ll be
    buying. No Hayter, No Buy.

  • Ziggy

    Listen everyone take to this petition let’s see if we can’t get this injustice
    righted. Thank You.…

    • TheBOss

      Signed, now lets spread this around as much as possible!!!

  • Nicoagra

    why is the JP voice
    actor who played Naked Snake returning and David Hayter is not. The only
    conclusion I can draw from this is a great man in being unjustly fired.
    Logic Fail so no I will not be buying this. David Hayter deserves better and not buying is my way of protesting

  • Miscouraged

    Guys, tweet at @KonamiSupport hopefully they’ll change this

  • Tradingher

    You whats weird, why would the get the voice actor who played Raiden in all of the previous games but drop snake?

    • 8888

      Good point actually

  • Unalindi

    How is this petition an over reaction at all? Did you read the letter? All it says is that the purpose is to show Konami that there is significant interest in Daivd Hayter returning to play Snake.

    • FUdgedis

      “While I’m not jumping to sign any petition…”
      This is where he lost any credibility with me.

      • Timothy

        True. . . Logic Fail by the author

        • Lawson Douvier

          I personally won’t sign any petition that urges someone to change their artistic stance. I refused to do so with ME3, which had a horrendous ending in my opinion, but it’s Bioware’s creation. While I have issues with the direction, or at least would like a further explanation as to why, I would never try to convince Kojima to change his artistic vision. I just want to know why he’s doing so. Video game is art, and I would never petition an author to change his novel, so I won’t do it to Kojima either.

          • YMTTIDD

            I can tell you that his reasoning according to GTTV interview, he says that MGSV is a reinvention of the series and he wanted the voice actor to reflect that. But there are a few problems with this.

            First this game is in continuity with the rest of the metal gear saga. If this is the case, I must ask, why would Snakes voice suddenly change between Peace Walker and Ground Zeros? (which is estimated to be at most a few months) It makes no sense.

            Perhaps if David voiced the first section (Ground Zeros) of the game then after the 9 year time skip (when Big Boss is in a coma) Richard Doyle (The voice actor who played Big Boss in MGS4) could pick up for the Phantom Pain section. But putting an entirely new voice actor in the series simply makes no sense; at all.

            Second, why if this game is truly a reinvention of the series, would Akio Ōtsuka (The Japanese Voice Actor for Solid Snake and Big Boss) continue to voice Snake? This is demonstrably inconsistent with Kojima’s reasoning for changing the voice actor.

            Third, in my opinion, and I stress this is an opinion, David Hayter deserves better. It is true that he was so dedicated to bringing the fans the authentic Metal Gear experience that he gave up half his paycheck for Twin Snakes so Silicon Knights could pay to get the original voice cast back. I will not turn my back on that kind of dedication.

            Fourth, if you read the petition you would realize that what the petition is doing and I quote; “we are a group of Metal Gear fans who have set up a petition to
            show fan demand for the return of David Hayter as the voice of Snake in
            MGS V: The Phantom Pain.” The petition is there simply to show that their is a demand for him to return as Snake and obviously if that happens that just a great byproduct of such.

            Next, let’s keep this could all be a ruse by Kojima and really David is the voice of Snake, but since this is yet to be confirmed I continue to protest.

            I see no problem with a petition as it does not force Konami/Kojima to do anything. They do not have to act nor even look at it, they could simply ignore it and continue down the predisposed path Kojima proposed. (In the same way Bioware could simply not care what anyone had to say about the ending) But by making the petition, I believe fans are attempting to derail Kojima from a path they believe to be a mistake.

            Let me remind (or inform you) that Richard Doyle was suppose to take over David Hayters role in Peace Walker, but due to fan outcry they changed their mind at the last minuet. If this worked once before, who’s to say it wouldn’t work again?

            So I will continue to protest this decision, not because I am opposed to change, but because I am opposed to illogical change. Petition signed and will not buy game.

            P.S. On a completely unrelated note, I wonder why if Konami/Kojima are trying to “reinvent” the series they would go out of their way to get Raiden EN voice actor back? Food for thought.

  • Vector

    I don’t really understand how this could make any sense, story wise. If we are to take what Konami has stated at face value, the game is broken in to two parts; the first (Ground Zeros) takes place directly after Peace Walker. The second (The Phantom Pain) takes place 9 years after the coma at the end of Ground Zeros. Keeping in mind that David Hayter did in fact voice Big Boss or Naked Snake as he is called in PW, in Peace Walker (as well as Portable Ops and MGS3), then it only would make sense for him to at the very least continue to voice Big Boss in the Ground Zeros section of the game. I not even sure Big Bosses voice would have changed that much during the Coma since its only the 80′s when he awakens and his is voiced by Richard Doyle in the 2010′s. So any way you look at no this really makes no sense

    • U-God

      Yeah thinking about it story wise this makes no sense, so I will protest the game

  • Jimmex

    I seriously doubt Daivd Hayter was asking for too much. If you know anything about the guy you’d know for one of the MGS games he gave up half his paycheck just so the studio could pay the other actors to return. So no sorry I refuse to turn my back on that kind of detication and won;t buy the game.

    Why? Because I can take it. Because its what needs to happen. Because sometimes David Hayter deserves to have his faith in the fan community rewarded.

  • Juztaopistion

    How is this petition an overreaction? It seems like a perfectly reasonable reaction.

  • Thimbled

    Wow defiantly protesting this game then

  • 88Westside

    hmmm I guess I can no longer support Kojima/Konami then

  • Jason Rose

    Hayter isn’t Big Boss and Solid Snake and Big Boss aren’t the same either. We know that Big Bosses voice changes, so why not do it now? It just make sense. Protesting this game under that premise is silly.

    Saying that, if and when Solid Snake shows up again and Hayter isn’t there to voice him, I’ll be up in arms.

    • Omarion

      1. Keep in mind that Metal Gear Solid V is a direct sequal to Peace Walker
      and who voiced Snake in Peace, none other than David Hayter. So no, story wise
      this does not makes sense.

      MGSV is reported split into two section Ground Zeros and then 9 years later The Phantom Pain. If David Hayter were to voice the Ground Zeros section and then Richard Doyle (voice of Big Boss in MGS4) was to pick up during the phantom pain section I could buy it. But just straight up replacing Snake?, no I reject this premise.

      2. Kojima claims the reason for this; is “to reinvent the whole series” If Kojima is truly reinventing the series, why is the Japanese voice actor for Snake staying the same? Either Kojima is stupid, lying or trolling us, but either way his reasoning makes no sense. What I see is one man, who has come to define a role, unjustly being fired.

      Additionally, if presuming this is in cannon with the series, no it is not a
      reinvention. (according to Konami its a squeal to Peace Walker) If Kojima
      really wanted to reinvent the series he would start from scratch. Established
      lore would not come into play.

      3. Max Payne, Raiden, and Hitman were all suppose to have voice actors
      replacing them, but due to fan outcry the publishers reconsidered. Not to
      mention in Peace Walker, Snake was supposed to be voiced by Richard Doyle but
      fans made themselves heard and David Hayter was brought back on board. Who’s to
      say the same thing could happen with MGSV?

      4. That’s fine that you don’t care but you have about 20,000 people (at the
      moment) who disagree with you. So go ahead and buy the game, buy don’t asked to
      be considered by the hardcore fans; a hardcore fan. As any way you look at this
      (story wise), it makes no sense.

      5. So no, we will not stop and we will not buy the game. Why? Because we can
      take it. Because its what needs to happen. Because sometimes Daivd Hayter
      deserves to have his faith in teh fan community rewarded.

      • Jason Rose

        Avoiding the game for the reasoning of a voice is asinine, but by all means deprive yourself of gaming greatness under these notions.

        Again, Big Boss is not Snake so you need to stop referring to him as such. He left that moniker behind long ago and the voice eventually changes, so it’s best to change it now.

        What Kojima states and whatever his reasoning’s are, is law for MGS. What happens in Japan as far as voice acting has no bearing on us here. He doesn’t want Hayter back and that’s that. As I stated, I’m fine with it and it really won’t detract from the character of Big Boss whatsoever. I wouldn’t hold that statement up for Solid Snake though.

        He wasn’t fired, he just wasn’t asked to return, there’s a difference. We know Kojima isn’t stupid, but he could very easily be lying/trolling we’ll see. All this nonsense is pre-mature.

        I’m sorry, you or the fans do not dictate Kojima’s idea of reinvention for his own series, that’s entitlement at its finest and laughable. If this is how he wants to do it, then that’s how it’s going to be.

        • Yufrack

          Some how calling you a piece of shit seems inadequate, however, I will do so regardless. You sir, are a piece of shit.

          • Jason Rose

            Stay classy fanboys!

          • 90UhOh

            Will do!

          • Jason Rose

            If you want to know just what type of fan I am of the franchise (it`s my favorite) and my knowledge of it (vast), have a listen to my latest Grizzled Veterans podcast where we go into a lot of detail regarding the topic.

            I`m sensitive to the issue guys, but I just don`t think making the change in Big Bosses voice now is that big of a deal. Again, when Solid Snake makes a return and it isn`t Hayter, I`ll be sounding that alarm myself. They just aren`t one in the same as the timeline furthers. What JP does is not really indicative of what happens here in the west IMO.

          • Manidref

            You know, you’re right they do change. But lets look at the timeline. The closest game to MGSV is Peace Walker. (Which David Hayter voiced Naked Snake) The first part of MGSV (Ground Zeros) is suppose to take place several weeks or at most months after Peace Walker, so wouldn’t it make more sense to have Big Boss voiced by David Hayter for the first section of the game, then have Richard Doyle (the voice of Big Boss in MGS4) pick up the job in the second half?

          • OsmaIish3

            That seems. . . well, perfectly reasonable. If this was the case I would be fine with it. What I reject however is straight up replacing the voice actor.

          • Omarion

            The reason I brought the Japanese voice actor into this discussion is because it negated Kojima’s preported reasoning for replacing Big Boss’ (Snake) voice actor. According to Kojima the reason David Hayter was not asked back was because; “He was reinventing the SERIES.” Not simply, the American version. The SERIES.

            Now I don’t know about you but I sure as hell include the Japanese game as part of the Metal Gear series.

            Of course the problem with Kojima’s reasoning is that Akio Ōtsuka (The Japanese Voice of Solid Snake and Naked Snake) is in fact returning to play Big Boss. So, how could this game be a reinvention, if some voice actors are returning to play the same roles in the same method they had as before?

            It is the inconsistency that is annoying people.

          • Jason Rose

            Lost in translation between often creates contradictions and inconsistencies and considering we know next to nothing, it’s probably better to wait.

            Preference maybe? Call it whatever you want. Personally, I’d prefer if Hayter voiced the Ground Zeroes section and then the new voice came to light after the nine year coma, but again we don’t know the circumstances behind anything yet.

            To even the most vocal in opposition of this, I say wait and see. With Kojima, there’s always more than meets the eye.

          • James

            You know what? This seems like a perfectly reasonable argument.

          • Zickered

            +1 ;)

        • Godfred

        • Seperated

          Well sure ultimately its Kojima decision, but that doesn’t mean he is immune from making bad decisions. I mean if we took your logic at face value then people couldn’t complain about the Star Wars prequels.

          • Seperated

            Simply because George Lucas directed them.

          • Jason Rose

            Entirely different logic applied here.

        • Yolandi

          Uhhh yes. . . Big Boss is Snake. . . Play MGS3 he is referred to as Naked Snake

        • Forathed

          No offense, but in my opinion, this is an utterly reprehensible argument. What you are a casual fan of the story and admirer of the gameplay, NOT a fan of the series. Please don’t confuse the two. Logically this makes no sense. But by all
          means go ahead and buy the game, however those of us not buying it, this is our way of protest this perceived illogicality seeing as this is called Metal Gear Solid V or 5. (Being a SEQUEL not a reinvention)

        • Vector

          I don’t really understand how this could make any sense, story wise. If we are to take what Konami has stated at face value, the game is broken in to two parts; the first (Ground Zeros) takes place directly after Peace Walker. The second (The Phantom Pain) takes place 9 years after the coma at the end of Ground Zeros. Keeping in mind that David Hayter did in fact voice Big Boss or Naked Snake as he is called in PW, in Peace Walker (as well as Portable Ops and MGS3), then it only would make sense for him to at the very least continue to voice Big Boss in the Ground Zeros section of the game. I not even sure Big Bosses voice would have changed that much during the Coma since its only the 80′s when he awakens and his is voiced by Richard Doyle in the 2010′s. So any way you look at it, this really makes no sense.

        • Flocka

          You reasoning is not sound. Lets for a moment take star wars as an example. Episode I introduced the concept that force was based around midichlorians rather than being a unfathomable, conceptual. . . force. And who was it who decided this change would occur? Oh non other than George Lucas. But if we fast forward to today, the majority of hardcore Star Wars fans reject this notion as utter Bullshit and continuity wise it has been treated as such.

          But if we were to follow your logic, simply because George Lucas stated that it was part of the universe people should just accept it.

          So I propose to you a different theory, the reason why people don’t want the voice to change is because is because any childish sense of entitlement, but rather because continuity wise it makes no sense.

          As stated by other commentors in this section. Metal Gear Solid V is a direct sequel to Peace Walker according to Konami. If this is true, why would Naked Snake (Big Bosses) voice suddenly change between the two games? (The actual Period of time between the the two according to Kojima is a few weeks)

          And yes you are correct in saying that Richard Doyle voiced Naked Snake (Big Boss) in Metal Gear Solid 4, but seeing that that game takes place more than 30 years after the beginning of Metal Gear Solid V (The Ground Zeros Chapter) to me, your reasoning makes no sense.

          What I believe the best course of action would be (if the game is truly split in two segments like Kojima/Konami have stated) if David Hayter voiced Snake (and since he is referred to as simply Snake in Metal Gear Solid 3 this is a valid name) for the first half of the game, then, after the 9 year time skip he is voiced, once again, by Richard Doyle.

          What I flat out reject, however, is simply “getting a new voice actor to reinvent the series,” as I have explained; this being in cannon with the rest of the series it makes no sense.

    • Zemithen

      Let me ask you something; I have no idea if you are a fan or not but if you are how would you feel if Kevin Conroy was suddenly told by DC comic, sorry your no longer needed. It doesn’t matter that he had been voicing batman for more than 20 years. It doesn’t matter the legacy he left. Who cares what the fans think, right? Right?

      Well no, in my opinion, yes the company is perfectly within its rights to do so, but the fans are perfectly within their right not to support it.

    • DarKKnight

      Rule number one for video game franchises; don’t piss off existing fans as it simply does not bode well for sales figures; (see Dead Space 3 and Devil May Cry: DmC for recent examples of what I am talking about)