For the bulk of 2015, Hideo Kojima became something of a martyr in the gaming world, when Konami ripped his name off his latest game and essentially jettisoned their most well-known game director. And though Konami’s handling of the Kojima situation really was despicable, it sounds like it might have been karmic retribution based on what the original voice of Solid Snake has to say about the revered game maker.
David Hayter, the man who voiced Solid Snake up until Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain where he was replaced by actor/country singer Kiefer Sutherland, has spoken up about why he was not involved with the project and explained he has no intention to ever work with Hideo Kojima again.
Regarding why he wasn’t involved with The Phantom Pain, Hayter told Game Informer ran into a producer for the game at a recording studio and was told Konami was going in a different direction. “That was basically it,” Hayter said. He then spoke with Metal Gear’s English casting director Kris Zimmerman, who reportedly told him, “‘We’re going forward, but it looks like they are going to try and replace you.’ They tried to do that before, and it never worked. They tried to get voice matches, and it never happened.”
There was friction brewing between Hayter and Kojima for some time, with the game designer hoping to find a different actor to perform the lead role, though it’s still unclear why.
“I had to re-audition for Metal Gear 3 to play Naked Snake,” Hayter said. “They made me re-audition to play Old Snake, and the whole time, they were trying to find somebody else to do it. I heard that Kojima asked one of the producers on Metal Gear 3 to ask Kurt Russell if he would take over for that game. He didn’t want to do it.”
Hayter went on to say that he cherishes the time he spent working on the Metal Gear Solid series, though he wishes his professional involvement with the series ended on a high note.
“I don’t have any ill will toward Kiefer Sutherland or anything like that,” he said. “The whole thing could have been handled better and a little more respectfully, but I’m not going to cry about it.”
Finally, he says he hasn’t played The Phantom Pain and has no desire to, describing it as “that’ll be 60 hours of humiliation”. He also said that a future partnership with Kojima is unlikely to happen. “I’ve got no particular love for Kojima. I don’t feel any need to go back and work with him again.”
In 2013, before the launch of The Phantom Pain, Hayter said Konami never asked him to work on the game and never told him why he was passed over.
“If it were my choice, I would do this role forever,” Hayter said at the time about Snake. “To hear anyone else’s voice coming from Snake’s battered throat, makes me a little ill, to be honest.”
I’m old school. To me, David Hayter is Solid Snake. Kiefer Sutherland did a fine job, but his presence was jarring. It would be like jettisoning Dan Castellaneta and hiring a replacement voice for Homer Simpson. The other guy might do a fine job, but it’s just weird.
What do you think about the way Hayter was treated by Kojima?