The voice of Solid Snake in the Metal Gear Solid series, David Hayter, has criticised the way he was treated by franchise creator Hideo Kojima.
Hayter contributed the English-language dubbing for Snake, Big Boss and various other MGS characters from the first instalment in the stealth series up until 2010’s Peace Walker.
After more than a decade portraying the role, Hayter was replaced by 24 actor Kiefer Sutherland for the final entry helmed by Kojima, last year’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and its prequel, 2014’s MGSV: Ground Zeroes.
In fact, Hayter claims, he wasn’t even offered the part, and found out from a chance encounter with a producer of the game that he had been ditched.
Although, Hayter admitted that it wasn’t a complete surprise – he had been forced to re-audition to play Old Snake in 2008’s Metal Gear Solid 4, and Konami reportedly attempted to reel in Escape from New York film actor (and ubiquitous Kojima muse) Kurt Russell for 2004’s Metal Gear Solid 3.
“It was annoying to me, because I thought that I had given a lot to the series and really helped promote it,” he said on the Game Informer Show podcast. “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.”
Despite his insistence to the contrary, however, it appears that the experience did leave a lasting impression on Hayter, with the actor responding curtly to the question of whether he would work with Kojima in the future.
"I think he handled it pretty badly," he said. “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.”
Hayter comments echo those of substituted Uncharted actor Steve Valentine, who recently lambasted developers for seeing performers as ‘interchangeable’.