Perusing through Kotaku today, I saw that David Hayter might reprise his role as Snake in the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. While the familiarity of Hayter’s voice as Snake/Big Boss in the long-running Metal Gear series would bring a good sense of familiarity, I feel that this might be a problem in the long run.
Hayter has voiced the character of Solid Snake, and in turn, Big Boss in Big Boss’ storyline canonically beginning with Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. The original Metal Gear Solid was translated into English in 1998 for the PlayStation. This means that over the past 15 years, Hayter has provided the voice of Solid Snake/Big Boss in 10 different Metal Gear Solid works, in addition to also providing his voice for Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii.
A few weeks ago, it was reported on Kotaku that Hayter had not even been contacted to reprise his role as Snake. This may have been Hideo Kojima famously trolling his fans as he loves to do. However I believe if Hayter reprises his role, this could be detrimental to the series and the character of Snake/Big Boss as a whole.
In the series, Big Boss is starting to get older. As you age your voice changes over time. It would make sense for a new voice actor to play Big Boss in this game since Big Boss is starting to now look more like he did at the end of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Hayter did not voice both Sanke and Big Boss in this iteration of the game, because it wouldn’t have made any sense for Snake to be talking to himself. I believe that this could give the series a fresh start on the Snake character and see what someone else could do in this role.
The flip side of this however is the backlash that would come from the gaming community and has already reared its ugly head at the fact that Hayter had not been contacted to do Snake’s voice in the first place. Most gamers claim to want something different but then complain when they get it.
While I think it would be nice to hear the familiar gruff voice that has become associated with Snake over the years, I believe that this is a perfect opportunity for Kojima to do something different with the series and switch it up. Metal Gear is a series that has aged very well over the years, always incorporating new elements and new gameplay mechanics keep the series fresh and interesting.
In speaking to a friend at work he mentioned at one point you need to admit that you’re making a new game. In this case I don’t believe that one voice actor will completely ruin the game. Even though I am a fan of the Metal Gear series is a whole, I don’t believe that I am in with the vast rabid majority that will riot in the streets if he does not reply reprise the role.
Let’s keep the knee jerk reactions to a minimum since only one trailer has been released for this game so far. Hayter teased that he will be at E3, so I guess we’ll see in about a week and a half what Kojima has up his sleeve for the latest in the Metal Gear mythos.
(Archived rant, original post from Tumblr on May 31st, 2013)