Look, I know it’s been a long time since I last made a post. I was hoping it would be a chapter… but that’s still a long ways outta the way. Anyway, this is something that I feel like I need to talk about. It’s about a rumor that’s been going around. I think I figured out the truth behind it. And note, I only “think” I have. I actually signed up with reddit to mention my theory. However, I’m going to have to give some background before mentioning it.
As everyone knows, Hideo Kojima, the creator of Metal Gear left Konami (aka Komoney) right after Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain came out. Kojima and Konami having a falling out was huge in gaming news back in 2015. This included the cancellation of “Silent Hills”, a Silent Hill game that Kojima was working on starring Darrel from Walking Dead. That and how unfinished MGSV:TPP were made many fans mad at Konami. However… it caused people to forget something that irked the MGS fanbase. That would be that Hideo Kojima finally got his own wish of replacing David Hayter, the voice of Snake for many years, with “24” star Keither Sutherland. No, he hasn’t been trying to replace Hayter with Sutherland the whole time. He was just wanting to get rid of Hayter.
^ (The Podcast)
It was a couple years back that Hayter along with some of the cast of the original Metal Gear Solid did a podcast for Game Informer about the game. We MGS fans finally got an inside look at how amazing it was to voice act a video game during the PS1 era. It was MGS that changed the way voice acting for games went. And as we all know, Hayter was the first English VA for Solid Snake (and the only one for Solid). However, Hideo Kojima is a big fan of Hollywood. He imagined Kurt Russel when it came to Snake due to Russel’s role as Snake Plissken in Escape from New York and Escape from L.A.. The latter even referenced in MGS2 when Snake gave Raiden the fake name Iroquois Pliskin (Iroquois meaning a venomous snake in Algonquin and it is also the name of an eastern tribe of Native Americans with over a thousand years of history, who operated under a federated system known as the Iroquois Federation which heavily influenced the United States at the time of its inception. In their language, the word “Manhattan” means “island of many hills.”). But yeah, Kojima couldn’t really hide that the character of Snake was based after Kurt Russel’s character that well.
In truth, Kojima tried to replace Hayter before when it came to MGS3. He got one of the producers to ask Kurt Russel himself if he was interested in playing the role of Naked Snake/Big Boss, but Kurt refused the role. David Hayter had to re-audition for that role and even for MGS4 as “Old Snake”. But when Kojima had a chance to get a real Hollywood star to take over, he took it straight away. That my friends is the result of Kojima’s “Hollywood Fetish”. When he had the chance to replace the man who made the role iconic in the west with someone from Hollywood… you know what I meant. Kojima’s excuse was that they needed an actual actor due to the facial capture technology. In truth, they had to do it with seven different people because Sutherland’s face doesn’t exactly match the character. So yeah… not a good excuse Kojima. Though I do admit, Sutherland’s voice does match up with an older Big Boss.
Still… Hayter said in the podcast that he didn’t mind that he was replaced with Sutherland. He has nothing against him. But Hayter has “No love for Hideo” due to how it went. Hayter admits to only meeting Kojima once or twice over his career as Snake. However, it wasn’t through Kojima that he found out. It was when he stopped by the recording studio and met with one of the producers. He treated the producer over a beer and asked if there was anything he could do, and the producer said that he won’t be Snake. Hayter then came into contact with Kris Zimmerman (the lead cast director) and she confirmed it. He was dropped and no one told him in advance. Let alone even asking him to audition for the role. Taking away the character he played for 12 years (his last role as Snake was in Peace Walker back in 2010) and the person responsible didn’t tell him? That’s not very professional.
In Japan, a voice actor is pretty much married to the role they play. And before you get started on Hayter’s nationality, his family moved to Kobe when he was 15. He graduated High School there (despite it being a Canadian Academy), he even speaks fluent Japanese. But by Japanese standards, that’s a slap in the face to replace you when it comes to VA work. As for Snake’s Japanese actor Akio Ōtsuka, no replacement. That guys still voiced Snake in Japan. Hayter said nothing about this paragraph, this is my own research into the subject.
But yeah, Hayter admitted to having “no love for Hideo” over the unprofessional conduct. He said that he respects Hideo Kojima as a game maker and a story teller, but he has no respect for him as a businessman. And that he finds himself working with Kojima again to be “very unlikely”. For those who want to read the Kotaku Artical, click here.
Now for the title of the subject. Due to some tweets between David Hayter and Robin Atkin Downes (the voice of Kaz in Peace Walker through The Phantom Pain), people have gone into speculation. It was because Downes himself posted some art from Death Stranding on Twitter with the caption “@Kojima_Hideo What was it all for…? If the Boss has some plan, what is it?”. It’s because Downes and Hayter usually use their MGS series character names when tweeting each other as Kaz and Snake respectively. Later on, there was a tweet from Downes to Hayter.
— David Hayter (@DavidBHayter) October 18, 2018
It was the GIF of the infamous scene from Godfather III, where Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone says, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” in Hayter’s response to this tweet that made everyone come into speculation. It’s been confirmed that Akio Ōtsuka (again, Snake’s Japanese VA) will have an unknown appearance in Death Stranding. So that’s what brought on further speculation that Hayter will have an appearance as well.
Now for why I say it’s very unlikely. Simple, other than the fact that Hayter said that he’d find him working with Kojima again to be “very unlikely”, this was posted by Downes about a month later:
It’s the Sauna Track from the MGS: Peace Walker Heiwa to Kazuhira no Blues audio drama, Downes and Hayter dubbed it. They actually dubbed the whole Audio Drama and was broadcast on Periscope on 11/16/2018. I know… the audio would make any fujoshi drool. Anyway, for those who can’t see the video they can click here.
It’s the reason I find it very unlikely. Those tweets could had been referring to them dubbing an MGS audio drama. It came out about a month after the tweets, so it’s very likely that it wasn’t about Death Stranding.
But am I saying to abandon all hope? The answer is “HELL NO!”. Don’t forget, Hayter said his words about how he felt about Kojima back in 2016. It’s almost 2019. There’s a possibility that Hayter and Kojima could have patched things up or decide to work together for the sake of the fans. Hayter himself admits to being somewhat of a narcissist when it comes to the MGS series. Every game that he’s been in, he completed. Yeah, he plays the games. He’s gone out of his way to promote the MGS games in the past, even willingly taking a pay cut for The Twin Snakes (the GameCube remake of MGS1) to get the rest of the original English cast in the game. And yes, he offered to take that pay cut. He’s put his heart and soul into the series, which is what led a lot of the fans to have a dislike for Kojima replacing him.
This year (which marks MGS1’s 20th anniversary) he talked about how bad things were for him until he auditioned for the role. As Snake was older than him, he had to try to come up with a voice that sounded like a grizzled veteran. And it was while he was hanging with his friend’s (Adam Duritz) band, Counting Crows at a sprawling ranch house in the Hollywood Hills they were using for a recording studio that his flip phone went off. On the other end was his friend Jennifer Hale, who got a role in Metal Gear Solid and personally called Hayter to tell him that he got the lead. That changed his life, David Hayter wrote about it here.