David Hayter says the idea of hearing someone else's voice coming from Solid Snake in Metal Gear V "makes me a little ill."
Some videogame characters are just about inextricably tied to their voice actors. James McCaffrey as Max Payne, for instance, or Stephen Russell as Garrett; there's also John J. Dick as Serious Sam, Jon St. John as Duke Nukem and of course David Hayter as Solid Snake, the man who is The Man in Metal Gear. But it came to light last week that Hayter won't be returning to the role for Metal Gear V; when asked, following the release of the debut trailer, if Konami had attempted to hire him to reprise the role, he responded with a simple, "Nope."
Hayter has now expanded on that response in a statement released today, in which he says he was told by a member of the Metal Gear production team, without reason or explanation, that his services would not be required for the new game - a decision that left him "bummed."
"To be clear, I love being a part of the world of Metal Gear. I admire its technological innovations, the gameplay, the political message of it all. But primarily, I love the fans of these games. Two grown men burst into tears upon meeting me at the Vancouver Fan Expo last year," Hayter wrote. "Now that... Is a rare and excellent role. You know you're making an impact. And I love doing it."
"If it were my choice, I would do this role forever. To hear anyone else's voice coming from Snake's battered throat, makes me a little ill, to be honest," he continued. "But the truth is -- it's not my choice. Any and all casting decisions are the sole purview of Hideo Kojima, and Konami itself. And that's fair. And I'll get by. I am not lacking for employment on any level. But I didn't want anybody to think that I was intentionally abandoning them. And know that I will miss this job, and this character, very much."
The decision to exclude Hayter from a character he's voiced for nine games over 15 years is both unfortunate and, at least as far as I can tell, utterly inexplicable. And while I'm never one to trample on hope, the fact that Hayter is speaking out on the matter suggests that a dramatic change-of-mind such as Rockstar had with Max Payne 3 - it originally announced that a new voice actor would take over the role before opting to bring McCaffrey back - is unlikely. From the outside looking in it's a strange move, and for fans of the franchise, a real shame, too.