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Kiefer Sutherland is the new voice of Metal Gear’s Snake

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Sutherland and Snake (Credit: Getty Images/Konami)

Jack Bauer has a new gig.

Konami, in a pre-E3 press conference Thursday, surprised gamers with word that Kiefer Sutherland will be the new voice of long-running video game action star Solid Snake in the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

"We’re taking on some very heavy subjects such as race and revenge. I wanted Snake to have a more subdued performance expressed through subtle facial movements and tone of voice rather than words," creator Hideo Kojima said.

"Furthermore, the game takes place in 1984 when Snake is 49 years old. Therefore, we needed someone who could genuinely convey both the facial and vocal qualities of a man in his late 40s. It's different from anything we've done before."

Sutherland, who acknowledged he's not a gamer but was familiar with the series, came to the game via a suggestion by Hollywood producer Ari Avad, who is a friend of Kojima's.

"It's an honor to be able to play this character," Sutherland said. "This character has an unbelievable legacy. There's a real personal quality to the character that I've connected to."

Sutherland noted that this was his first behind-the-scenes gaming experience. Beyond voicing Snake, he also did facial capture work. Sutherland said that the most embarrassing part of the process wasn't the metal dots on his face, but when he was required to "do monkey face." (You can watch that in the conference’s replay).

Sutherland’s role was hinted at, it turns out, as far back as last December, when he voiced a small part in the trailer for what was then known as 'The Phantom Pain' during Spike's VGAs, confirmed Spike's Geoff Keighley.

"This has been an unbelievable experience and I hope gamers enjoy the game as much as I enjoyed making it," said Sutherland.

Sutherland replaces David Hayter, who has been the voice of Snake since 1998, a move that’s upset some fans of the series. Hayter's taking it in stride, however, tweeting that "the game will still probably be excellent" (and snarkily comparing it to New Coke.)

The Metal Gear series is a constant for game publisher Konami, with over 30 million copies sold since its 1987 debut.

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