The lights are on
On a recent special episode of the Game Informer Show podcast, we look back at the recording of one of gaming’s most important titles. Metal Gear Solid, which debuted in 1998, brought the series into the 3D world with compelling voice acting and a complex and engaging story.
A big part of that and the rest of the series through 2010’s Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was actor David Hayter. He spoke with us about recording the original game and the unfortunate circumstances that led to him not appearing in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
Hayter says that he ran into a producer on the game at a recording studio. The two shared a drink and Hayter brought the game up, asking if they should hammer out the deal, but was told that he wasn’t going to be needed.
“That was basically it, and then I talked to Kris Zimmerman (Metal Gear English casting and voice director),” Hayter recounts. “She said, ‘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.”
He goes on to explain how Kojima attempted to find other actors for other more recent entries. “I had to re-audition for Metal Gear 3 to play Naked Snake,” Hayter says. “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 admits it was painful to lose to role that he helped shape. However, he reflects that it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to play Snake.
“It was annoying to me, because I thought that I had given a lot to the series and really helped promote it,” he tells us. “At the same time, I genuinely feel that the run I had as Snake was remarkable. If you get that once in your career, that’s amazing. I don’t have any ill will toward Kiefer Sutherland or anything like that. The whole thing could have been handled better and a little more respectfully, but I’m not going to cry about it.”
At this point, Hayter has left his time as Snake in the past. He tells us that he isn’t eager to drag up the hurt.
“I was so annoyed by the Metal Gear V debacle, and people said, ‘Are you gonna play the game?’” he says. “Yeah. That’ll be 60 hours of humiliation that I can’t get to. I haven’t played the latest two iterations, because it’s just too painful.”
As for whether the two will ever join forces again, Hayter doesn't think it's in the cards. "I've got no particular love for Kojima," he tells us. "I don't feel any need to go back and work with him again."
You can check out the full interview and the rest of a special edition of the Game Informer Show for more.