Home > Gaming Wednesdays > Metal Gear Solid V’s Bizarre Timeline

Metal Gear Solid V’s Bizarre Timeline

It’s E3 week! So in honour of that, I’m foregoing my usual news column and instead I’m writing about video games on a different day! And then I’ll write about them again on their usual day! Hurray! Today we’re looking at Metal Gear.

Metal Gear Solid V is the latest in the long-running Metal Gear franchise, and it’s been causing an awful lot of bafflement in the gaming industry ever since its announcement. In fact, MGSV has been one surprising announcement after another, and it’s proving to be a real guessing game about what Kojima and co are going to be showing next. I must admit, I love how it’s all been coming out so far, so it seems like a great time to take a look back at how strange it’s all been up to this point.

In August last year, Konami announced Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, which series producer Hideo Kojima was quick to point out wasn’t Metal Gear Solid 5. Instead, it was apparently a spin-off title in the vein of PSP title Peace Walker, following on from the story of that game and starring Big Boss, protagonist of Metal Gear Solid 3 and father to the series’ main protagonist, Solid Snake. This all seemed rather normal, and got people excited.

Then things got weird. In December, a previously unheard of Swedish developer called Moby Dick Studios announced their new game, The Phantom Pain. Nothing too odd there, but people began to slowly pick up that the studio’s head, Joakim Mogren, had a first name that could be easily rearranged into “Kojima”, and others began to notice odd indentations in the game’s title; indentations that could easily have “Metal Gear Solid V” slotted into them.

In March, Mogren appeared on GameTrailers TV, turning up with his face heavily bandaged and brandishing an iPad filled with screenshots. The interview abruptly ended when host Geoff Keighley asked about some of the screenshots featuring the logo of the current Metal Gear engine, the FOX Engine and Mogren refused to discuss anymore.

Didn’t help that at roughly the same time Mogren’s Twitter began to post lots of pictures of food and one picture of superhero underpants, both things that Kojima was known to have done on his own Twitter account. Moby Dick’s Twitter also went weird, spouting nonsensical phrases that were clearly quotes from the AI colonel in MGS2.

Finally, all this was cleared up when The Phantom Pain was revealed to be Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. More surprisingly, Ground Zeroes was announced to be a direct prequel to The Phantom Pain, although confusion still exists about them being separate games or merely two chapters of a single game.

But suspicions didn’t end there. At the end of the reveal trailer, a voice is heard, and many suspected it to be Big Boss. However, it wasn’t the same voice as series regular David Hayter, which prompted outrage and frustration from the Metal Gear fanbase. An announcement was made shortly afterwards, confirming that the new voice actor would be announced officially at a pre-E3 conference.

And now that video has been and gone, and the new voice of Big Boss is none other than Kiefer “Jack Bauer” Sutherland, a very surprising announcement apparently made as a suggestion to Kojima by Hollywood producer Avi Arad.

Naturally, many people refuse to accept this, and it is all very strange. A few things are notable about the announcement video:

  • Both Kojima and Sutherland come across as very laidback and not particularly serious.
  • They’re wearing the exact same clothes in both the interview portions and footage of the voice being recorded.
  • We never see Sutherland actually recording any lines, only a bizarre portion of the video where he bobs his head around, making Big Boss do the same.
  • Sutherland is apparently doing the motion capture for Big Boss’ facial expressions, with the facial model also being modelled around him…an odd thing to announce when the Ground Zeroes trailer strongly suggested that all the motion capture was done before the English-language voices were brought in.
  • In addition to that, Big Boss’ Japanese actor wasn’t changed at all

Suspicions also arise when you pay attention to David Hayter. On Twitter, he made several sarcastic digs at Konami for firing him, teased the possibility of him being the voice again prior to the reveal, and then comparing the game to New Coke.

For those who don’t know about New Coke, this was when the Coca-Cola company changed the recipe of their flagship drink, apparently to make it closer to Pepsi, and it flopped badly. The change wasn’t welcome and people openly expressed their dissatisfaction, until the original recipe had to be brought back. Hayter’s comparison is telling, because a similar situation is arising with Metal Gear. The much-loved current voice actor is being changed, people are openly expressing their dissatisfaction…so could David Hayter be brought back? Was this the plan all along? No one knows!

It’s also suspicious how flippant Kojima’s producer friend was towards Hayter, stating that “a friend of mine used to be Snake, and now he isn’t”. Seems a little unprofessional to dismiss the previous actor while announcing the new one, especially since Arad has much stronger ties to Hayter than he does Sutherland (Hayter worked with Arad on X-Men, while Arad has never worked with Sutherland before).

It’s all very suspicious, and many are suspecting that this is indeed all a ruse typical of the bizarre way the game’s been announced so far, with Hayter actually being involved and Sutherland’s role being something else entirely.

Me, I’m just enjoying the ride. If Sutherland is indeed the new Big Boss, then his role in 24 certainly gives it some weight, and it’ll be interesting to see how well he pulls it off. If it’s all an elaborate ruse, then Kojima is officially a mad genius, and I wish more game developers would be as off-the-wall as he tends to be.

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