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Myth: Solid Snake’s real name is a reference to David Hayter

I’d let David Hayter explain it himself, but he’s not here.

Fact: It’s not.

By Ravi Singh, Posted on September 27, 2010

There are three instances where Snake’s name is revealed as “David”–the first two being the canon and alternative endings to Metal Gear Solid and the final instance in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots when Snake meets up with Big Momma. It is often assumed that the name was chosen on purpose during the development of Metal Gear Solid as a reference to American voice-actor David Hayter.

For those who have made this assumption I ask, how so? The Japanese script for Metal Gear Solid and Guns of the Patriots also establish Snake’s name is David–NOT Akio, the Japanese voice actor for Solid Snake. The voice overs for the Japanese version were completed prior to the western versions. In fact, the English script was already completed before David Hayter was hired. He even planned on using a pseudonym to avoid union troubles like most of the other voice actors did and is credited as “Sean Barker” in a few of the demo releases. If none of this is enough to destroy your so-called theory, Hayter cleared the issue up himself during an interview:

“People always ask me if the character or the name were modeled after me, but it was all coincidence. We just got to that line toward the end of recording the first game, and we all laughed. In fact, I am still laughing to this day. Okay… Now I’ve stopped. Ahem.”

The name “David” was chosen to make a couple of other references though. The name is clearly a nod to the epic and the seemingly-fucking-long-but-enjoyable Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey. In it, the supercomputer HAL 9000 tries to fuck over the humans but is defeated when Dave Bowman finds a screwdriver. All of this during a trip to Jupiter.

HAHAHA GET IT SNAKE? Hey, by the way, is that a screwdriver in your pocket or are you happy to get Stealth Camo?

Snake : My real name is David, Otacon.

Otacon : I’m Hal, Dave.

Snake : Oh, that’s right… Hal. Hal and Dave? That’s a good one.

Both: Ha ha ha ha ha…

Snake: Maybe we should take a trip to Jupiter…

So… get it? “Hal and Dave?” Yeah. I’m sure you laugh-out-loud’ed just right now just like Otacon and Snake do. What is interesting is that in the canon ending where Snake saves Meryl, you are still given Snake’s real name in the end. Meryl, too, decides to call Snake “Dave” as opposed to “David,” despite the lack of any sort of reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Where to? My bed. Now.

Meryl : So…where to, Snake?

Snake : David. My name is David…

Meryl : Okay, so where to, Dave?

In Policenauts, “Dave” is a burger eating pacifist and “Meryl” actually has tits.

This isn’t a misstep, it’s actually yet another reference. Despite what it may seem like these days, Kojima has worked on other games besides Metal Gear. The name and pretty much the entire character “Meryl Silverburgh” itself initially appears in the game Policenauts. In the very same game, there is a character who is pretty much Meryl’s co-worker and biggest admirer named Dave Forrest. Thus, “Meryl and Dave.”

David Hayter undoubtedly defines the Solid Snake character through his voice acting performances in the western versions of the Metal Gear Solid games. Without his voice, Solid Snake simply isn’t Solid Snake in the 3D titles. Despite this, it was not him that Solid Snake was named after. It was instead a character from a movie Hideo Kojima loved and a character from one of his own greatest works.

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