Kojima Productions explains why Japanese Snake voice actor did not change

In their latest Kojima Productions Alert podcast, the studio talked a bit about yesterday’s show, and answered some questions sent in by fans.

First, they explained about the decision to change the voice actor. Because of advancing technologies, they are now able to do facial capture along with the vocal performance. For this game, they are not using full 3D capture, but they have plans to do this for future projects. These future KP projects should be very close to live action movies.

About Kiefer Sutherland, Kojima considered a lot of different options, different names, but Kiefer had the ‘weathered’ look. The interview shown at yesterday’s show was not scripted or coached, it was just Kiefer answering the questions.


One fan wanted to know why the Japanese voice actor for Snake (Akio Otsuka) has not changed, while the English actor (David Hayter) has. The host of the podcast, Sean Eyestone, answered:

“This time, the English voice is really driving the animation, is driving the character. In past Metal Gears, everything was done by hand: the animation was done by hand, both the English and the Japanese were dubbed in.”

“This time, the facial performance that is being done by the English voice actor is what is driving the animation, what is driving the character. And actually, Otsuka-san, who is the Japanese voice, will be dubbing into that. So his facial expressions will not be in the game, so it’s just his voice. It’s like what he’s done up to this point. So that’s more or less the reason why this casting decision was made.

I know some people may have reservations, whenever things change, people are always a little nervous. But I think if you just wait and see how things turn out, I think you’ll be very happy with the performance. I think it’s really cool and we can’t wait to show you more.”

Another listener had the following question: we know characters in the game are modeled from real people, but does this apply to characters like Big Boss and Kaz as well?

The hosts answered that the majority of the characters are based on real people, but not all of them. The goal is to achieve photorealism, so they are taking people from real life. In addition, everyone in the game will be facial captured, but not every character is 3D scanned (these are two different things). Characters such as Snake have a unique identity, so they couldn’t do 3D scan for them, unless they had someone who looks just like him, which of course is a little difficult.

Not many details about E3 were shared, just that we can expect interviews with developers on major gaming sites like GameSpot and IGN. Also, there is a big surprise coming from Kojima Productions, but we will have to wait until next week to find out.

Source: Kojima Productions Alert 002 (June 7 2013)

  • Logres

    that doesn’t explain why Hayter can’t be dubbed in….
    I’m okay with Keifer being the voice but I just wanted to point out that the argument still fails to answer the question.

    • Nyxus

      Apparently, recording voice and facial capture at the same time yields different results. And I must say, I’m impressed with the facial capture results. The emotion displayed in Big Boss’s face was already clearly visible in the trailer, and I liked it a lot.

      • solidmatt

        Yes, I take it that their implicit argument (which they do not and would not state outright) is that the English version, in which face and voice are linked, is better and that they are just going to settle for dubbing the Japanese version.

        I remain skeptical, however, and feel that there are more significant reasons for nixing Hayter that they are not revealing. My suspicion is that they are aiming for a MGS movie tie-in that would star Sutherland as Snake. The fact that they revealed Avi Aran as the one who recommended Sutherland is part of my suspicion, given that he is supposed to be involved with the film project.

        • ObsessedGeorge

          Kojima said that he wants a newcomer to star in the MGS movie so that he can grow along with the character. He’s not going to use a mega star like Sutherland.

        • Solid Ice

          If they use him to make the movie, Kojima deserves to go to mcdonalds hell. Metal Gear 24 is just lame.

  • cell989

    no Hayter no buy

    • Batzi

      your loss.

    • ObsessedGeorge

      Have you read the article? It clearly says why there is no Hayter.

      • César H. Sandoval

        Doesn’t mean he still needs to LIKE the fact that there’s no Hayter, it’s his money after all, let him do what he wants.

        • ObsessedGeorge

          Yeah, i can’t argue with that. In the end, the only thing that matters is the open world gameplay experience. It’s gonna be epic.

          • Solid Ice

            Actually it’s only 2 hours long for the story line. gg bro.

      • Dakan45

        it says bullocks and lame excsuses. They had a fight, that is all. The new actor sucks shit

        • ObsessedGeorge

          Ok, thanks for letting me know.

        • Renegate300

          How do you want to know this? Have you played the game? Do you have more information than we have? If not, I would not spit so many big words as you do. A voice actor is not the problem, but when people change dramatically big parts of the games like in DMC: DMC, that is a real issue. As for that, I doubt that Kiefer Southerland is a bad actor, so give him a change to proof himself unlike being a fanboy and whine just because you did not get what you want.

          • Solid Ice

            Sutherland is a washed up actor with too big of a forehead. He makes no sense to use for a voice actor.

  • Batzi

    Those KP surprises..hope it is worth the wait!

    • Nyxus

      Yeah, can’t wait. Maybe next gen versions of MGSV?

      • Batzi

        I think GZ will be PS3/360 and TPP will be PS4 exclusive.

        • Nyxus

          I doubt they would separate the game like that, because GZ is really a prologue to TPP. I just expect both to be released for current gen, and then Xbox One and PS4. Although there are rumors of Sony trying to get it exclusive on their next gen console, I believe (not sure about that though).

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  • Kamille

    then why not do the same with David Hayter too? This is just a lame excuse.

    • Nekkedsnake

      Couldn’t agree with you more. I was reading it thinking “they coulda stuck those dots on Hayter’s face to capture the expressions as well as his VoiceOver.” Obviously I’m still holding out for Hayter returning in MGSV in some form.

    • Saul Martinez

      To be honest, I took a closer look at Hayter and realized some things. Although they are not very off in age, Sutherland is more wrinkled, and has a more soldier-like face. While Hayter looks way younger and cleaner. The metal dots pick up every single face gesture and Sutherland’s expression fits Big Boss more than Hayter. Also, I have never seen Hayter act live, so I would not know if he would have been any better than Sutherland.

      • ZenTzen

        here for you

    • Aggrobiscuit

      Exactly, I’ve sat through 8 seasons of 24 and Kiefer Sutherland is admittedly a pretty wooden actor a lot of the time. He’s seemed like a real character maybe twice in the entire show. Hayter couldn’t have been much worse.

      But eh it’s done now. I was going to boycott, but at least he doesn’t talk much. Just doesn’t seem right sometimes, his voice is too thin and high to be coming out of someone as barrel chested as Snake. He could’ve studied up a bit on the Hayter voice and at least tried to inject some gravel into the delivery.

  • Makeshiftnh

    Yup…been saying this exact thing for nearly 2 months.

  • Erick Mattos

    It takes a lot of work, and they’ve clearly done their share of hard work on this game. Let alone the trailers. They’re basically saying that the English voice will be dubbed and not the other way around. They’re doing everything by facial expressions via an English actor first. Then, in Japanese, a totally different language with different mouth movements of course, they’re dubbing over it.

    It will not make sense for them to change the Japanese voice actor and do 3d scans on the japanese side either because that would require them to make the same game twice. The development process isn’t just Copy and Paste. They have to make due with the best possible solution they can without going out of their way. Do you really want a release date pushed back 100 times when we’re crying about having MGS5 asap!?

    • Nekkedsnake

      If they say they’re using the English face cap for the jap version what about the issue of lip syncing? If they’re simply going to dub the English performance with jap dubbing I suspect it’d take time to manually sync the lip movements to match Japanese dialogue.

      • Erick Mattos

        What I meant is that they are using the English movements for the Japanese. That is the only way to explain this. That’s what my whole two paragraphs were about. I might have worded a few things the wrong way. Overall, it just seems they want Kiefers great acting abilities to use for the entire game. This is the first time they’re doing these facial scans and using their new Fox Engine. We have no idea how the engine works and what they’re plans are. All I know is, the only logical thing to do if Kojima wants it more ‘movie’ style, is to get a hollywood actor to act it all out. So the Japanese is also different in voice but is also an older voice as well. It’s all confusing I know… we’ll have answers someday.

    • Solid Ice

      I rather wait for something right, than hook up with a gutter slut right now.

  • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

    Could someone tell me what the differences are between facial capture and 3D scan or full 3D capture if they’re not the same?

    • Makeshiftnh

      3D scan is where you are in a room surrounded by cameras and it actually records all the contours of your face/body/whatever they wanna capture. They would use that for a character whose look they were gonna base off the actor. Facial capture is just with the dots attached to key facial muscles and joints. Like MGSV, they use that when the character is already designed or isn’t supposed to look like the actor. In terms of full capture, that’s the same as facial, except they add markers for the body as well so the actor is fully performing the scene. That’s what they’ve done for Beyond: Two Souls.

      • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

        Ok, thanks for the clarification-never knew there was a difference until I read this article.

  • Daniela

    Lame excuse after lame excuse! Just say you think Hayter sucked and period, but stop with those stupid sorry-excuses!

  • MadBoutKonami

    Done with this series, this is ridiculous. There ain’t no reason David Hayter cannot be dubbed in. Maybe I will buy the Japanese version of the game, at best…

  • iSolidus

    You know what, I’m already over my disappointment. Sure it’s sad Hayter won’t reprise his role, but at the same time it’s very exciting to see Kojima taking a fresh new take on the series. One thing that kept the series going all this time, is that it never went repetitive. A new voice actor may be just what the series need to open a new chapter in the Metal Gear saga.

    • Solid Ice

      That makes no sense. Do you say to your spouse “honey your voice needs to change because coming home having dinner n washing clothes n watching American idol is toooo repetitive”? No, that makes no sense. If MGSV is MGS4 with a new voice would that make it unrepetitive? No, so that whole idea is dumb. Nobody should of thumbs up’d this.

  • umbralex

    Seriously… that hayter complaining is getting old , is annoying and boring, deal with it ..if it’s a no buy for you. it’s simple buy another game , meanwhile to much people including myself are waiting for news of the next chapter of the MGS saga 🙂

    • HarryMasonHerpDerp

      Yeah those people with different opinions than you should stfu! ima rite?

    • Solid Ice

      You probably like Ke cash sign ha, and every other stereotypical pos thing out there on TV. You probably know metal gear from smash brothers and not even MGS. I’ll keep complaining over hayter.

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  • floxnsox

    While the change may be a bit jarring, we all have to recognize that voice acting has come a long way since Metal Gear Solid debuted. Hayter, while a gaming icon, is not a particularly gifted voice actor. Kiefer should add some more depth and nuance to the role. It should turn out best in the end.

    • ObsessedGeorge

      Besides, we have never seen Snake’s face bocome impressive in animation. We will see him in the new trailer and be blown away by Kiefer’s performance.

      • Solid Ice

        I don’t care about flapping wrinkles. I care about ” METAL GEAR???”

    • Solid Ice

      Yea, more depth. Ok.

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  • PrinceHeir

    “Otsuka-san, who is the Japanese voice, will be dubbing into that. So his facial expressions will not be in the game, so it’s just his voice. It’s like what he’s done up to this point. So that’s more or less the reason why this casting decision was made.”

    it finally confirms my belief that they’ll be doing the english version first, then dub it into japanese. not the other way around like it was from the beggining

    it’ll definitely have some lip syncing issues like the japanese release of Metal Gear Rising.

    in any case thanks Nyxus for the report.

    it seems the Kojima Productions Alert podcast is becoming more like Hideoradio in japan.

    good work Nyxus, we can finally put the rest on why hayter won’t be coming back(still disappointed)

  • Jason Hydon

    A good idea would be to release a David Hayter Dialog Dlc. It would sell great and make all the old fans happy. That’s of course providing Hayter isn’t already going to be in the game as a young Solid Snake.

  • Plissken

    “Who cares if Hayter isn’t in it?! It’s not like he made any real difference in the games anyway! I mean, what was he? Just the voice! When the character had no real definite facial features, sure! That was important then! And so what if he has voiced the character all this time to the point that his voice is the only voice?! That’s just silly! And who really cares that in spite of the original voice being gone, they’ve replaced him with an actor whose voice is so very recognizable that it’s downright distracting?! All I care about is more Metal Gear! More Metal Gear! More Metal Gear! And in an open world, sandbox, GTA experience?! I love you, Kojima! You can do no wrong! Come on, guys! Let’s start up a chant to drown out these mopey Hayter zombies! More Metal Gear! More Metal Gear! More Metal…”

    …That’s what you defenders sound like to me, and it makes me sick.

  • urfavbird

    Sutherland is a very good actor when it comes to soldier and agent movies. I still believe Hayter could have done the job very well. Hes pretty old now. Put a beard on him and we have a Snake. Facial recognition reasons sounds like a lame excuse. David Hayter is large part of the reason Metal Gear became what it is. At least in the U.S. I still remember playing on the first playstation as a kid and thinking how cool his voice was. Haha

    • Aggrobiscuit

      He’s not really a very good actor. He has a single emotion which is angry, and a strange twitch he does where he looks at the floor and twists his head in a half turn. He uses that as a stand in for any other kind of emotion or state, such as regret, shame, confusion, unhappiness etc.

      He’s consistent, and a workhorse but he’s not exactly a good actor. He’s definitely watchable in 24, and I’m currently on the 8th season. But that’s more to do with the show being addictive.

  • Mike Klinglesmith

    Here’s my question to that. Why couldn’t they just Use Sutherland for motion capture and Hayter for voicing? Many other companies do that, so… why?

    • Solid Ice

      Who wants Snake to look like him anyway?

  • Renegate300

    It is funny to see, that most of you people are too ignorant for changes. I saw this in Metal Gear Solid 2 and Devil May Cry 4. People can’t allow creators to go new ways, which is a sad thing, since new ways could allow new possibilities unlike the same old crap, that gets boring over time. It was not David Hayter, who made the game interesting to me, it was the stealth gameplay, that was so innovative and later on, it was Raiden and Nero (for DMC4), that gave me a new look into those games, because they shows the games from a new perspective. As long as it goes along with the canon story and look and no dramatic and alienating changes (which was not the fact in DMC: DMC), there is nothing wrong for new things and changing one voice won’t change the entire game. Remember this; Snake is not the youngest in the game anymore and everyone’s voice changes once they get older. The fact, that Snake’s voice was still the same, is the effect, that his body rapidly aged, but not as like Big Boss aged, therefore, I can understand why Solid Snake had David Hayter in MGS4.

    So again, allow minor changes and give the producers a chance to change something, as long as it is not too alienating as a complete new and uglier look. A voice is not as bad as a totally new character and identity.

    • Solid Ice

      Ignorant? Lol, that’s not what you mother said last night.

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