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Kiefer Sutherland is Snake's new voice actor in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Actor Kiefer Sutherland will take on the role of Snake in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, Konami confirmed today, with Sutherland performing voice and facial capture for the character, who will be 49 years old in the forthcoming sequel.

"The themes are a little different from previous games in the series," Metal Gear series creator Hideo Kojima said of Sutherland's casting. "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 takes place in 1984, Kojima said, and the developer wanted an actor who could "genuinely convey" Snake as he would look and sound in his late 40s.

"It's different from anything we've done before," Kojima said, explaining that he turned to producer Avi Arad for assistance, who referred him to Sutherland. "I felt that he was the perfect fit, in terms of age and performance," Kojima added.

"It's an honor to be able to play this character," Sutherland said. "[Snake] has an unbelievable legacy. I'm not a gamer and I even knew about this game. I was certainly keenly aware of the legacy of [Metal Gear] and the success of these games."

Sutherland will replace longtime Snake and Big Boss voice actor David Hayter, who says he was not asked to reprise his role in Metal Gear Solid 5. Sutherland's video game résumé includes the roles of Sgt. Roebuck in Call of Duty: World at War and Jack Bauer in 24: The Game.

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is planned for release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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