Is Kiefer Sutherland the right choice for Snake in Metal Gear Solid 5?

The gruff-voiced 24 star has signed on to portray a middle-aged Snake in Konami’s upcoming sequel

Snake is getting a new voice in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain – and it’s a celebrity one. In a pre-E3 video announcement, Konami revealed that Kiefer Sutherland will play the sneaking government agent in his next outing.

Metal Gear Solid vocals

Sutherland is an interesting choice to play Snake (this is the first Snake, who went on become Big Boss – not Solid Snake), who has up until now always been voiced, and voiced well, by David Hayter. Sutherland is a big star, and a good actor – but there’s a chance that his recognisable voice could prove somewhat distracting.

Voice acting in games is often most effective when we aren’t picturing the actor responsible: think of the unknown actors – often voice acting veterans – that delivered great performances in games like Uncharted, Baldur’s Gate and The Walking Dead.

On the other hand, there’s a long list of big name actors that have failed to deliver when it comes to games: Liam Neeson’s curiously bloodless turn in Fallout 3 springs to mind, as does the usually excellent Sean Bean’s in The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. And David Duchovny’s appearances in XIII and Area 51, in which the actor’s trademark drawl becomes so deadpan as to suggest someone under the influence of sleep medication, are best forgotten.

This is possibly the fault of direction rather than a lack of talent, and we can  name quite a few TV and movies star that have acquitted themselves well in games: Martin Sheen in Mass Effect 2 and 3; Patrick Stewart in Oblivion; Vin Diesel in the Riddick games (developed by a company Vin himself founded, no less). Ellen Page also looks to have delivered a great performance in the upcoming PS3 interactive adventure Beyond: Two Souls.

Given that Konami is dropping a huge budget on Metal Gear Solid 5, we’re certainly hopeful that Kiefer’s performance will live up to the standards of his predecessor.

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is currently in development for both PS3 and Xbox 360. The release date is yet to be revealed.