Original Snake Voice David Hayter Has No Love For Hideo Kojima

Original Snake Voice David Hayter Has No Love For Hideo Kojima

"I was kinda hoping that Konami would take me back now that he was gone." In a special edition of the Game Informer podcast, actor and screenwriter David Hayter talked about his "humiliating" replacement as Metal Gear's leading man and how he really feels about the series creator who wanted him gone.

If you're interested in the art of voice acting, you won't want to miss Game Informer's special retrospective on Metal Gear Solid. That initial PlayStation game changed the way voice acting was approached in the industry, and GI's gathered the whole team to talk about their groundbreaking work.

Of course no conversation about Metal Gear Solid voice acting can happen without David Hayter, whose dramatic tones brought multiple Snakes to life across every game in the series save the most recent. For Metal Gear Solid V Hayter was replaced with 24 actor Kiefer Sutherland.

Hayter wasn't even asked. According to his interview on the Game Informer podcast (via Polygon) he knew the game was coming. Hayter said he took one of the series' producers to lunch and asked what was needed from him, only to be told they didn't need him at the moment. Later it was clarified to him that they were trying to recast.

Original Snake Voice David Hayter Has No Love For Hideo Kojima

David Hayter via Shutterstock

"They tried to do that before and it never worked," Hayter said. Along with soundalikes, Hayter heard that Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima wanted actor Kurt Russell to play Snake in Metal Gear Solid 3.

So the replacement wasn't a total surprise, but Hayter was still pretty crushed. "It's horrible. It's humiliating." Talking about fans asking if he'd played the latest game, Hayter said, "Yeah, that would be 60 hours of humiliation I can't wait to get to."

As for the famed creator of Metal Gear, Hayter can't see himself ever working with Hideo Kojima again.

"I think he handled it pretty badly. I've got no particular love for Kojima. I respect him and I think he's a brilliant game maker. I don't know him as a person and as a businessman I was not impressed. So no, I don't feel any need to go back and work for him again."


    They should have given him a small role and kept him in the loop about what was going on.

    It was doubly disappointing since Keifer doesn't actually say that many lines, presumably due to the cost.

      And those lines he did have he was pretty much phoning in anyway. Probably didn't help him as an actor that the story and script were so weak, though.

      It does make sense though in the end once you've finished the game when you (this is a huge spoiler) discover you're really *not* Big Boss anyhow...


        Keifer Sutherland voices (actual) BB in Ground Zeroes, so it's clear that BB and Venom Snake sound identical in-universe.

          Yeah this argument is flawed because Sutherland voiced Venom Snake and the real Big Boss

        I just finished it this very minute... Credits are rolling as I write this. And yeah, I don't see why they couldn't have used Hayter for actual Big Boss. They could have easily just passed the difference in voice off as a result of his injuries or of not talking for the better part of a decade while in a coma. Apart from appeasing the fan base a bit (not that Konami give a shit about them), it would have at least given it a bit of logical consistency within its own universe.

    He dodged a bullet really. To be honest the amount of dialog Snake has in MGSV is a joke. It feels like Kojima is trolling those that said MGS4 had too much talking. Or it could be the fact that the game wasn't finished.

      "Spit it out! Speak! Where are your friends?

      That'll be a million dollars, please."

    Hayter's gonna hate

      Damnit! I'll never come up with some witty pun first.

      Why would you repeat the same joke with altered spelling? You might have well said "this article is about metal gear solid"

        Look at the time difference, posted at almost the same timw

        To make matters worse, the comment is actually stolen from zombie jesus in this article (first comment ).


    Fuck Kojima

      Nowhere does it say ant all that the call was Kojima's and looking at recent event of Konami it very easily could have been an executive decision above Kojima so he would no say.

      Not too mention that Hayter is being a child whinging like this because he wasn't handed this role on a silver platter and simply just assumed he had it in the bag go so far as to take a personal lunch into a business meeting making it awkward for himself and the other party. He sounds really sour.


          Japanese culture being what it is and Kojimas relationship with Konami it isn't totally unthinkable to say that he may get in sh*t if he second guesses the studio heads and makes them look weak/bad.

        David Hayter was never handed the role on a silver platter, nor did he believe he had it in the bag. He had to audition for MGS1 (obviously), MGS3 and MGS4, with Peace Walker being the last MGS game he didn't audition for. Whereas Akio Otsuka, the Japanese voice actor, was locked in from the beginning, a custom when it comes to Japanese media. Enquiring with a colleague and friend about whether he'll be needed for the next game in the series that he's been a huge part of for 15 years because of a reveal that the game was happening is not unprofessional. Not being given the professional courtesy of being informed they wouldn't need him anymore and finding out when a trailer reveals your replacement, however, is pretty unprofessional.

        And while there certainly was some corporate meddling when it came to MGS5, it's pretty clear that the decision to replace Hayter likely came from Kojima, particularly with his heavily publicised fondness for Keifer Sutherland and 24 well before he was locked in as Venom Snake. He certainly wasn't cast for his voice acting chops, that's for sure.

        Yeah and Clint Eastwood shouldn't have been handed his Dirty Harry roles on a silver platter either. Why should he have automatically assumed he would play Harry in each sequel. Totally ludicrous.

        Last edited 27/03/16 4:12 pm

          Yeah, you shouldn't ever think you are due, owed, or obligated to get anything for free unless explicitly otherwise stated. That goes for all professions and contractual agreements. There has been 2 Warmachines, and 3 Hulks in the MCU. Sh*t happens.

    They made a mistake hiring Sutherland over Hayter.

    I'm not so much annoyed he was dropped, by HOW he was dropped. Absolutely no professionalism or courtesy on Kojima's side, Hayter is more than entitled to be pissed off.

      What do you mean professionalism? Hayter just assumed he was hired which is a bit conceited on his behalf. They never gave it to him or said the role was his so he shouldn't think he would get it handed to him. Lack of professionalism is on his side behaving like a petulant child because he didn't get a role he never auditioned for.

        The argument could be made that since he's been the voice actor for the characters since Metal Gear Solid 1 that it is his role. I see it that way, myself. Big Boss and Snake don't sound the same without the raspy tone. I don't mind Keifer much he does a good job. But I'll always prefer Hayter.

          So would I, being 29 now I bought MGS on the PS1 when it first came out but business is business and it awkward but I still feel the error of communication falls on his and his agents end.

        Weather or not he was "conceited" is irregardless. The decision to replace him had already been made, and Kojima et al hadn't bothered to tell him. That's just grossly unprofessional.

        This is despite voicing the character for over a decade, and even giving up half his pay for the Twin Snakes remake to bring back the Western cast.

          So you have to tell someone that you're not interested in hiring them just because they make the incorrect assumption that due to previous work and relationships they believe they're owed or deserve the role? This is business, he could've been an adult and gone through the proper channels and his agent and confirmed if the role was up or if he still has it but he assumed and embarrassed himself.

            It's called "professional courtesy". If that statement goes over your head, there's absolutely no point me even trying to explain it to you.

              I totally understand professional courtesy but perhaps they were going to be professional and hadn't draft and prepped a official statement. Regardless of affiliation they may have wanted it to be formal and he jumped the gun. Securing funding and contract of Sutherlands may have been up in the air. Fact neither you nor I could know so don't act so pompous yourself mate.

    Preferred Sutherland, but I've wanted him as Snake since MGS2. Always thought he could play Big Boss in the film with Bale playing Solid.
    Shitty way to let him go

    Hayters the one coming off unprofessional here, recasts happen.. And from his choice of words it doesn't seem like he has been explicitly told it was Kojima who gave him the boot.

      Sure, recasts happen, but don't you think after 10+ years of being THE Western voice, he'd at least earned a courtesy call for being let go?

        From who? The producers he went to coffee with who told him he wasn't needed anymore?

          I don't really understand the point your trying to make. You're just repeating what I already said?

    Naked snake/ big boss only had a few lines for a cutscene or two anyway

      Yeah they really should've got him for that. Or someone should make a fan dub and get him to do it unofficially

    Whatever. Hayter's performance in MGS is cartoony and awful. Doubly stupid because he is perfectly capable of doing decent voice acting.

    In Hayters defense, his VA work as Snake did very much help make the series, and was the only constant from MGS to MGS4, and all the spin offs in between. I'd have been pretty damn confident too that the role was mine. To, from all accounts, be dumped pretty unceremoniously from the role you've spent the better part of nearly 2 decades performing, that's a dick move.

    Last edited 27/03/16 12:48 pm

    A lot of extreme reactions on here as though you were actually there and present when all this went down. It's a lot of he said/she said and Kojima hasn't even commented. Only these guys know what truly occurred. "Fuck Kojima"..? Whoa, are you serious? I do business with many people I don't necessarily have a ton of love for, or much respect either. Personalities don't always match. It's called business. Get it done. Move onto the next. Get over your fantasy that Kojima & Hayter were bff's. It's business.

    Without Hayter, it's one of the reasons I don't really find myself enjoying MGS V. Plus The twist was spoiled for me, and because of that I can't really find myself enjoying what I've played so far.

    Technically the game plays well, but without the voice of Snake, I feel like I'm playing a generic video game.

      Without Hayter, the 11th-hour departure of Kojima and the weird unfinished tone I'm starting to consider MGSV to be non-canon. I know that's weird but it makes me feel better inside.

        Yeah I completely agree with you. All hope of a MGS to redeem and repair MGS V, is out the door now that Hideo is gone. And with how Konami presently sits, I doubt they'll be able to make sure to the quality of the first MGS.

    I don't blame him. He has the right to be pissed. He has voiced Snake in various iterations for years. It's no different than Robert Downey Jr expecting to play Iron Man in every Marvel movie that has the character in it. I'm sure he assumes he won't be replaced.

      RBJ has star power that people will pay to see, so they can negotiate more aggressively. Conversely, MGS fans bought V regardless of whether Hayter is associated or not. Hayter doesn't draw audiences, i.e. his name alone is not bankable. It's more analogous to compare this situation to Terrence Howard in Iron Man, who was replaced by Don Cheadle; both are replaceable, and neither owns the War Machine character.

    He doesn't 'own' the character, Konami does. He didn't write the lines, some poor screen-writer and translator are probably responsible for that. Yes, he pulled off great performances, but he's essentially a hired gun. If he assumes the role is his forever, he's being naive. TV and film will re-cast all the goddamn time, sometimes mid-season. Don't assume the gravy train will always be there.

      I do agree, but for a series that is so heavy on continuity, it difficult to hear a different voice for Snake/Big Boss when Hayter has voiced the character since the PSone generation. And considering the same Japanese voice actor has played Snake throughout the series, it's strange that Hayter was replaced.

    For all we know, Hayter may have been difficult to work with. We simply just don't know. Let's not have knee-jerk reactions.

    Rabid fans don't like change. Sutherland is a great actor and his voice was suited to snake more than almost any other actor I can think of. Recasting and artistic changes occur. Perhaps rabid fans should be more open minded and less entitled.
    And Hayter should probably have a Valium, stay off social media and look forward to new ventures rather than being bitter about old ones.

    Way to burn your bridges. He doesn't know exactly what happened so singling out Kojima is ridiculous. Kojima may have liked Sutherland's but that doesn't mean that he was dissatisfied with this guy's work. And he goes and say that he'll never work with Kojima? Seriously? If Kojima creates another hit or if he gets in a collaboration with Del Toro and Kojima thinks that his voice is perfect for a role like he thought Sutherland was for Snake and they offered him a role he'd say no? I doubt it. However, by being petty and whiny he has now guaranteed that it will never happen.

    It's ok to protest if you think you've been unfairly treated but going that far? That's plain stupid.

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