Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Who Cares that David Hayter is Not Voicing Snake in MGS 5

Over the past several months more and more information regarding the next installment in the Metal Gear Solid franchise has arisen. It started with the amazing Ground Zeroes trailer, then the mysterious Phantom Pain trailer, culminating in the official announcement of Metal Gear Solid 5 at GDC 2013 (Game Developers Conference). The whirlwind of speculation, typical of Hideo Kojima games, surrounded these various press releases and trailer reveals, often making huge waves across the internet. But no announcement made more of a stink than the news that David Hayter will not be reprising his role as Snake in the upcoming game.

Now, Hideo Kojima is infamous for throwing marketing curve balls our way. The very fact that he created a fake video game company and had a fake interview with its fake CEO on G4 just to hide the fact that a new Metal Gear Solid game was coming shows you how sick this guy is. I say that with love. For all we know, David Hayter may have been asked to act like he is not in the game just to throw us all off the scent but who knows.I mean, he made trailers for Metal Gear Solid 2 with fake footage of Solid Snake throughout the game when in fact it would be Rayden that you play as in those parts that were shown. All I'm saying is the guy loves to f*@k with us.

But what if he isn't this time around? What would a Metal Gear Solid game be like without David? Would it really matter?

First off, MGS 5 is a prequel (once again!) to the original Metal Gear Solid. From what we know, it takes place almost a decade after the events in Peace Walker. Big Boss is in a coma for 9 years and wakes up without an arm and in the middle of a firefight. This means we will be playing as a decade older Snake who just woke up from a devastating coma. Some people in a long term coma come out needing speech therapy just to learn how to speak again. And with the passage of time being so long, why wouldn't a new voice be hear issuing from Snake's mouth.

If Kojima and company are truly trying to establish the passage of time, it only makes sense to cast a new voice actor to play the aging Snake, much like they did for the old Big Boss at the end of MGS 4. The fact that David Hayter would play an older Snake would just come off as a reach in my opinion and could take players out of the game, just for a nostalgic throwback.

Another observation is the fact that Richard Doyle gave Big Boss a slightly British accent in the end of Metal Gear Solid 4. It may be a reach, but it could be because of his speech therapy being in Great Britain when he gets out of the coma. We did see a British flag on the wall in the Phantom Pain trailer as Snake is waking up.

We still aren't sure how Ground Zeroes works in the Phantom Pain story but the Snake we see in the trailer is much older looking than the one from Peace Walker. My actual first thought was that David Hayter will really need to grizzle up his voice to match the war battered face of this Snake.

It would only make sense that another voice actor portray an older, more battle hardened Snake especially since we are approaching the time when Big Boss turns heel. David Hayter has never done the voice for an evil Snake. I think that would be a great nod to the character and the actor that they would keep his voice the voice of the hero, not the villain. Having David along for the villain turn for the character could potentially feel wrong, and perhaps even silly and definitely something Kojima would want to avoid.

In the end, Metal Gear Solid is one of the most beloved game franchises of all time. Any kind of news about the game that surfaces is going to be a headline somewhere on the internet. And the fact that David Hayter not being involved has brought so much heat is just a testament to the work that he has put into the character and the love that the fans feel for the franchise.

My personal opinion? David Hayter will be back and all this hoopla will be for nothing.

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