June 6, 2013 at 2:27 PM ET
Actor and well-known anti-terrorism agent Kiefer Sutherland is assuming the iconic role of Snake in "Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain," Konami announced Thursday in its pre-E3 show.
Longtime "Metal Gear" fans were shocked this past March when David Hayter, the longtime voice-over actor who played Snake in the beloved stealth action video game series, revealed that he would not be reprising his role as the gruff and perpetually disgruntled protagonist for the newest installment. But speaking during Thursday's announcement, "Metal Gear" mastermind and creator Hideo Kojima said that he was moved to change the actor portraying Snake because of the evolution he wanted to depict in his classic character.
"The themes are a little different from previous games in the series," Kojima said. "We're taking on some heavy subjects, like race and revenge. As a result, I wanted Snake to have a more subdued performance expressed through subtle facial movements and tone of voice, rather than words."
"The Phantom Pain" is set in 1984, which puts Snake in his late forties. Kojima said that he wanted a new actor that could "genuinely convey" an older and more taciturn Snake than the one seen so far in the series.
"It's different from anything we've done before," Kojima adding, saying that Sutherland was a "perfect fit" for the role "in terms of [his] age and performance."
Sutherland, who played Jack Bauer, a member of the fictional Counter Terrorism Unit in the TV series, "24," admitted that he's not much of a gamer. But given his experience taking down international terrorist syndicates of all shapes and sizes, he certainly had the experience to flesh out Snake's role in "Metal Gear."
"I'm not a gamer and even I knew about this game," Sutherland said.
"Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain" is currently being developed for release on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Konami has not given any word about possible plans to bring it to next-generation consoles.
Yannick LeJacq is a contributing writer for NBC News who has also covered technology and games for Kill Screen, The Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic. You can follow him on Twitter at @YannickLeJacq and reach him by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.