The Evolution Championship Series 2019 — commonly called “EVO” — was held this past weekend, and it was filled with tough-as-nails fighting game battles alongside several game announcements. One of these announcements, however, was not real, and it utilized longtime Metal Gear Solid actor David Hayter’s voice without permission.
During the Tekken 7 portion of the event, a video shown on screen in Las Vegas displayed the classic Codec interface from the Metal Gear Solid series, with Solid Snake, the character Hayter voices, commenting on the matches fans just watched. It was assumed that this was an out-of-left-field reveal for the character’s appearance in the Tekken series, but this was not the case.
On the official EVO Twitter account, the event’s organizers shared that it was “[their] idea of a little joke,” and that it was not teasing any content. The team had also not spoken to Tekken 7 publisher Bandai Namco about the teaser beforehand.
It wasn’t Bandai Namco that was most concerned about the joke, however, but Hayter. Also writing on Twitter, Hayter said that EVO had failed to consult either himself or Metal Gear publisher Konami about the joke video. “You also failed to consult me, or Konami,” he wrote. “Please do not use my voice to promote other games. Ever.”
You also failed to consult me, or Konami. Please do not use my voice to promote other games. Ever.
— David Hayter (@DavidBHayter) August 5, 2019
Solid Snake already appears in another fighting game, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, where he is voiced by Hayter, which makes his frustration sensible. This is especially true because Bandai Namco Studios also had a role in developing Ultimate, working alongside Nintendo and Masahiro Sakurai’s Sora studio, and presumably could have pulled some strings to include the character.
Hayter had not voiced Snake — or rather, his “father” — in 2015’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and was replaced by Kiefer Sutherland. This decision appeared to have been made by director Hideo Kojima, who later had a very public falling-out with Konami that resulted in him leaving the company and starting the independent Kojima Productions. Suffice it to say, if Konami opts to make another Metal Gear game, David Hayter will likely play Snake once again.
Aside from his voice work, Hayter is primarily a filmmaker. He was a screenwriter on popular films X2: X-Men United and Watchmen, as well as the director of the horror film Wolves. For video game fans, though, he will always be best-known for his gravelly vocals.