Kiefer Sutherland is the new voice of Big Boss.
This announcement comes from the pre-E3 Konami online press event which has just finished streaming a few hours ago. Kojima said that the choice of Sutherland came from a friend of his, and it appears that Kiefer was happy to oblige. This means David Hayter wasn’t lying about not being contacted by Konami (and negates the clever theory that it was “Moby Dick Studios” that contacted him instead) and that Kojima really is using Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain as a fresh start for the franchise.
With the utmost respect to David Hayter, I love this. I’ve always been a fan of Kiefer Sutherland from back in Young Guns, and there are a few things I expect to see different thanks to the new voice for Snake:
- Less talking. With an top-level Hollywood actor doing the voice of Big Boss, don’t expect as much jibber-jabber as previous games. He probably gets paid by the word!
- More editing. This also means Kojima is going to need to use his words more carefully, which, all things considered, could be a very good thing. People have often accused the series of being way too dialogue-heavy, and the sheer economics of getting Kiefer Sutherland to do Big Boss will guarantee that Kojima will need to adopt the motto of “less is more”. This is 100% reinforced Kojima’s remarks, saying that new FOX Engine facial expression technology will replace the need for as much dialogue. Expect a lot of furled eyebrows and stoic silence!
- More depth. Hayter did a fantastic job considering that his natural voice sounds nothing like the gruff Snake, but he’s no match for Sutherland (assuming Sutherland actually knows how to read a script and doesn’t half-ass it). There’s a fine line between being subtle and natural and just plain lazy, so I’m curious how it will turn out. I trust Kojima will make Big Boss go to extremes once again.
- More media attention. Celebrity appearances in games is nothing new, but when the character is this established and beloved as this, it adds a new dimension to the story. Just kidding, mainstream media hates games and ignores everything.
- Less quirkiness. Even though the game is supposed to be more controversial, I suspect the lack of dialogue will filter out a lot of the strange CODEC moments we’ve come to expect, a lot of unnecessary conversations, and therefore a lot less of that signature quirkiness that previous Metal Gear games have enjoyed. That’s kind of a shame, because it means taking one step closer to just being “another action game”.
Those are my initial thoughts on the matter. I still wouldn’t be surprised if the bandaged “Ishmael” character ends up stealing the spotlight for sections of the game, or some other plot twist forces us to leave Big Boss’ side for long periods of time. I mean, Big Boss is growing a horn out of his head, and “Ishmael” was the protagonist/narrator for Moby Dick. Who knows!