Snake from Metal Gear Solid has been given an updated face and a new voice. Kiefer Sutherland has taken over the role from series stalwart, David Hayter.
Hayter confirmed his departure from the series in April. Plenty of names have been suggested as potential replacements since then – Hideo Kojima has often stated his admiration of Hugh Jackman, and suggested he could be a candidate for a future Metal Gear Solid movie – it’s Sutherland, though, who’ll pick up the mantel for Phantom Pain.
“We’re taking on some very heavy subjects, such as race and revenge,” said Kojima. “This makes the tone much darker. As a result, I wanted Snake to have a more subdued performance, expressed through subtle facial movements and tone of voice rather than words.”
“The game takes place in 1984, when Snake is 49 years old,” Kojima explains. “Therefore, we needed someone who could convey both the facial and vocal qualities of a man in his late forties. 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 Kiefer Sutherland, and I was like, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’”
Sutherland has been busy recording motion capture footage for The Phantom Pain over recent months. In the video (shown below), Kojima explains how the nuances of Sutherland’s delivery are important in conveying the emotion of certain situations – both through vocal cues and facial movements. “I felt that he was the perfect fit in terms of age and performance,” says Kojima.
Apart from Sutherland’s thirty-year-long film career, the actor has made fleeting appearances in the likes of Call of Duty: World at War as well as reprising his role as Bauer in 24: The Videogame. While confessing to not being a gamer, Sutherland recognises the importance of the role. “It’s an honour to be able to play this character,” he says. “This character has an unbelievable legacy but there’s a real personal quality to the character that I’ve connected to.”
If you love David Hayter, you’re probably not going to be happy with anyone else but David Hayter doing the job. Sutherland has some hefty acting chops though – and many of his roles have involved gravelly delivery aplenty. I reckon there’s good chance casual fans might not even notice the difference – although the mo-cap stuff looks about as detailed as we’ve seen and could stand to benefit from the likes of Sutherland filling the capture dots.
Here’s the full pre-E3 Konami show – jump in around 10:30 mark for the Metal Gear Solid content: