Voice actors in video games can be rather interchangeable, unfortunately. Up until this last generation, it was rare for characters to even be fully voiced, let alone have an actor whose voice is impossible to separate from the character itself. No one perhaps better represents this idea than David Hayter, who has voiced both Solid Snake and Naked Snake in every Metal Gear Solid game -- from Metal Gear Solid in 1998 through Peace Walker in 2010.
Unfortunately, every era must end, and today confirmation has come through that David Hayter will not be voicing Snake in the newly revealed Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain -- or any other Metal Gear Solid from here on, supposedly. In fact, David Hayter hasn't even been included in the conversation, if there was even a conversation about it to begin with. The Snake we've known for twelve years is, well, gone.
While Kojima wouldn't confirm who the new voice actor would be, he mentioned to GameTrailers that this was a serious decision that lends itself to the ideas behind the creation of Metal Gear Solid V. Namely, that Kojima wants to reinvent the series:
"What we're trying to accomplish here is recreate the Metal Gear series. It's a new type of Metal Gear game, and we wanted to have this reflected in the voice actor as well."
David Hayter also had a number of Tweets confirming he hadn't been contacted over a role in the game. It seems a majority of those Tweets have now been deleted. All that remains is:
Well look,At least I had a good run.— David Hayter (@DavidBHayter) March 27, 2013
How this whole situation will pan out is anyone's best guess. While the community for the North American localizations of Metal Gear Solid are certain to be disappointed by Hayter's absence, hopefully that doesn't mean his replacement will be unfairly treated. It's even difficult to blame Kojima, as it's unlikely he understands the cult following Hayter has gained over his roles as Snake.
All I can really say is this is a sad day, that the decision is disappointing, and that I can't wait to play Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. So long, Snake.