Japanese videogame companies have begun to get into bad habits when it comes to worldwide coverage of their games. Titles take months and months following their Japanese release to even be confirmed for other territories, a trend that has caused several large videogame to be delayed over the past few years(take a look at any entry in the final Fantasy series). But Konami and more specifically Kojima Productions have made an effort to not only release their games worldwide simultaneously, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots for example, but they have also been a pioneer in incorporating western design ideas into what would usually be considered Japanese series.
With Metal Gear Solid: Rising on it’s way to PS3 and X-Box 360 in the distant future, it’s been a surprise that the lion share of the MGS4 development team are now working on the new PSP release, Peace Walker. Staying in tradition with this approach to satisfying the entire planet’s gaming needs, the English Peace Walker cast has been announced on the 102nd Kojima Productions Report podcast.
The main cause of speculation concerning the cast of Peace Walker has been over the voice actor of Big Boss, who will be making his transition from Naked Snake to Big Boss in this game (despite having the title of Big Boss since the end of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater). In MGS3 and Portable Ops, series mainstay David (Solid Snake) Hayter provided the voice for the man Solid Snake and his brothers Liquid and Solidus were cloned from. But in Metal Gear Solid 4 David Hayter was already voicing Old Solid Snake, leaving the door open for another voice actor to play the part of Big Boss in the surprise ending of MGS4. Step forth Richard Doyle (who previously played the part of The Fury), who did an amazing job as a much older, experienced Big Boss, providing revelations to Snake and closure on his fears of the mutated FOXDIE inside him.
Those who have been following the Metal Gear Solid story will know that Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is set in 1974. At this point the three clones of Big Boss are still infants and The Patriots have split into two. Zero, Sigint and Paramedic (AKA Dr. Clark, who was responsible for Gray Fox becoming the Cyber Ninja) who are continuing to spread their power and control over the U.S. and Big Boss, EVA and Ocelot, who have turned on their former Patriot comrades in disgust.
This means that Big Boss has already begun his descent into darkness, becoming the man who will eventually threaten the world with nuclear holocaust in Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (in the name of freeing the world from The Patriots). But, as current KP Report podcast host Sean Eyestone points out, the difference between MGS3, Peace Walker and MGS4 would mean that Big Boss is still closer to his Snake Eater self with the storyline gap being ten years (1964 to 1974). In comparison with Peace Walker and MGS4, there is a massive gap of forty years from 1974 to 2014.
With that said, David Hayter has been announced as the voice for Big Boss. Other returning voice actors include Christopher Randolph, the voice behind Hal ‘Otacon’ Emmerich. He’ll play Huey; already confirmed to be voiced by the Japanese Otacon. This all but officially confirms that this new engineer, Huey, will be related to Otacon somehow; his father or grandfather perhaps.
One voice actress who hasn’t been in the series for a long time is Vanessa Marshall, the voice of Olga Gurlukovich way back in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. She makes her long overdue return to the franchise in Peace Walker playing Strangelove, a mysterious cloaked woman.
The story in Peace Walker involves Paz, a young bright girl, and Galvez, Paz’s instructor, who need Big Boss’ help in ridding Costa Rica of a mysterious C.I.A. sponsored armed group. Big Boss won’t be a lone however, he has his own mercenary group Militaires Sans Frontieres (Soldiers Without Borders), featuring Kazuhira Miller (Master Miller from previous entries) as his second in command (voiced by another veteran voice actor Robert Atkin Downes). Tara Strong will voice Paz and Steven Blum will voice Galvez. Both are returning from Portable Ops, after voicing Gene, Elisa and Ursula respectively.
MGS: Peace Walker is down for a 2010 release exclusively for the PlayStation Portable. With a stellar voice cast, and the creator of the series Hideo Kojima on board, this looks like it could be the must have PSP game of next year.