Saturday, March 30, 2013

Metal Gear Solid, or not?

Metal Gear Solid V
When I think about Metal Gear Solid there are three names that comes to mind. I would like to explore these three names in this article.

David Hayter

For those who do not know, David Hayter is the name of the voice behind Solid Snake in all the games in the series not featuring a text bubble to relay the dialogue. David Hayter is an icon. He was one of the first truly great voice actors back in the early days of voice acting in games. The level of quality in the first Metal Gear Solid way back in 1998 was revolutionary in its time, although the writing/translation of the japanese script left some funny and awkward moments.

So what's special about the name David Hayter in this article's context? Well, naturally because the next big numbered game in the series has been announced, and in an interview on, it was announced that David Hayter will NOT be returning to his role as Solid Snake/Big Boss in the upcoming sequals. David Hayter has been the voice of these characters for 15 years. I can hardly believe I'm typing this. The man has been a guest of honor in many panels and conventions where he is mostly known to answer Q&A's about his role as Solid Snake. David Hayter is a beloved actor and hearing someone else's voice coming from Snake would just seem too surreal to be true.

Hideo Kojima
The mastermind behind the incredibly  successful series. Some would refer to him as the 'japanese George Lucas'. Truly a great and inspiring creator of great series early in his career. And like Lucas, he is seen as more and more eccentric and rarely challenged on his views and ideas whether he wants it or not. Regardless, he might have made his biggest mistake so far. I'd say his decision to exclude David Hayter from this title reminds me  a little of George Lucas' Jar Jar Binks wich was a widely accepted terrific idea.

In the aforementioned interview with Gametrailers he was asked about his decision not to use the popular voice actor. His reply was: "What we're trying to accomplish here is to recreate the Metal Gear series. It's a new type of Metal Gear game, and we want to have this reflected in the voice actor as well". It's impossible to say until the release of the game how this will play out. It could be a weird Kojima-esque twist  where Snake now has a female voice. What stands out is that this is a numbered entry in the series, so I feel this is a mistake. It implies that the game will be familiar to anyone who played the previous entries without any major changes.

Not too long ago there was a Devil May Cry remake, and it was not a numbered entry because it was a completely new game loosly based on the original series lore, hell, it even had a new name "DMC". Will the next one be called Devil May Cry 6? I highly doubt it, since that would give the idea that they were going back to the original Dante's world. Kojima himself has dabbled in this just recently with the Metal Gear spinoff Metal Gear Rising. New main character, new theme, new type of Metal Gear, not numbered. I guess you could argue that 'V' is not really numbered entry since it's a roman numeral. Even if Mr. Kojima thinks this is funny, fans of the series might disagree.

Akio Ohtsuka
For 15 years Akio Ohtsuka has been the Japanese voice of Solid Snake, equally as beloved as David Hayter to their respective fans. Now, with the upcoming remake of Metal Gear surely he too will be replaced? Nope, not at all. One could speculate as to what might have occurred between Mr. Kojima and Mr. Hayter, but replacing Hayter as Snake and not Ohtsuka makes it seem like there is more to the story than either side is willing to share. Either way, the loss of Hayter is a grand blow to the series in and for western fans and players.

Mr. Kojima, meet Mr Lucas, you two have a lot in common.

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