Since 1998, Snake, the hero of the Metal Gear Solid videogame series, has been voiced by one man — David Hayter. But that changes in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain as Kiefer Sutherland, star of the hit TV show 24, is taking over one of the most iconic roles in gaming.
Konami announced on Thursday that Sutherland will handle both voice acting and facial capture duties for Snake, who will be 49 years old in the new game. Hayter leaving the role that he's defined for more than a decade wasn't a total surprise. Konami revealed that Hayter would be out back in April, and the actor has made it clear that this wasn't his desicion. As Polygon has reported, Hayter said then, "if it were my choice, I would do this role forever." After the news of Sutherland's hiring broke, Hayter was hit with support from fans on Twitter. "Getting fired was never so heartwarming," he tweeted in response.
In a webcast, Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima said the switch to Sutherland was motivated by a change in tone for the game. "We're taking on some heavy subjects, like race and revenge," he said of the new title. "As a result, I wanted Snake to have a more subdued performance expressed through subtle facial movements and tone of voice, rather than words." Kojima also noted that longtime hollywood producer Avi Arad suggested Sutherland as Hayter's replacement after Konami turned to him for help. "I felt that he was the perfect fit, in terms of age and performance," Kojima said of Sutherland.