Kiefer Sutherland will be the only Hollywood actor used for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Although Kojima may want to use more actors in future projects, for this game they will only use Kiefer. Though the actor is doing the voice and performance for Snake, his actual appearance wasn’t used due to Snake having an established look. For this reason, Snake’s facial model was made from a CG model blended with 5 or 6 actual faces to add realism.
Hideo Kojima explained this in the extended version of the GTTV interview conducted by Geoff Keighley. They talked about Kiefer Sutherland, the new technology used for the game, development decisions and more.
Kojima also confirmed Kyle Cooper’s involvement in the project, for the titles of the game, but also for ‘various other things’. Cooper has created the titles for Metal Gear games in the past.
Is Snake going to look like the Snake we know, or like Kiefer Sutherland?
Honestly, I wanted to capture the looks, voice, facial expressions, and movements all from a single actor. That would involve making a 3D scan of the actor’s face, then capturing that actor’s facial and vocal performance, along with their body movements and applying all of that to the character.
However, I couldn’t go that far with Snake. The reason is that fans have known Snake for over 25 years, and he has an established look. So, instead, we needed to use a CG model of Snake as a base and blended 5 or 6 different people’s actual faces on top of that to add realism.
So, the answer is “no.” Snake’s face does not look like Kiefer’s.
That said, when you’re trying to create a photorealistic world, making characters from scratch lacks reality. There’s a level of realism you can only get from an actor in his 40s who shows his years of experience in the wrinkles on his face and the subtle movements of his body. So, in the future, we may represent Snake with an actor, just like in a live-action movie, but this time we didn’t go quite that far.
How did it go when you first met him?
Well, I got the recommendation to use Kiefer from Avi Arad, and although Kiefer himself has never really played the games before, he mentioned that his stepsons had played Metal Gear. From that, he knew about MGS and its background. That made things much easier, and talks went smoothly.
How are you collaborating with him on this game?
I can’t talk too much about Kiefer’s collaboration on MGSV right now. But, I can say that I am also collaborating with other big names such as Kyle Cooper. He is participating in MGSV as well, and is helping us with not only the title design, but various other things as well. I believe we are coming up with something really special.
Are you going to have other Hollywood actors working on the game, or just Kiefer and voice actors?
Well, this time around, it’s just Kiefer. But hopefully in the future, we will have something on an even bigger scale. Ideally, I want to do full performance capture. We would scan the actors in 3D, and use their voices, facial expressions, and bodily movements. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do that for this game, but for future games I would love to cast more Hollywood actors and have them act as their own characters. That would be more efficient and would also add more depth to the game.
I think that game development from this point on will change significantly. It’s no longer about hand-modeled characters and animations with voice-over applied. That’s a thing of the past.
For example, in the old days, if there was a scene where Snake was worried about you, he would need to say “Geoff, are you OK?” in order to express that thought and concern, because back then we didn’t have facial expressions… or even faces! But now, instead of saying “Are you OK?” technology allows us to just say “Geoff”, and convey the message effectively through facial expressions, movements, and tone of voice. However, in order to achieve that, you need an actor capable of expressing all of that depth with his face, voice, and body performance. The technology now allows acting to take center stage, so that’s the direction we’re taking.
How is development going on Metal Gear Solid V?
It’s a very big game, so there is a massive amount of things we need to create, and we are fighting through it right now. It’s a tough schedule, but things are moving forward as planned, despite the many difficulties we are running into. We’re doing all we can to create the best game possible.