David Hayter, the voice of Solid Snake for the last 15 years, has waved an emotional goodbye to the Metal Gear series.
Last week it emerged that the long-time Snake voice actor would not reprise his role for Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, with creator Hideo Kojima confirming he wanted a fresh start for the sneaky operative.
In a Twitter post Hayter confirmed he had not been asked to voice the character, and was not told why.
"On the December break, I came home to Los Angeles for the holidays," he wrote. "I heard then, that recording sessions for MG:V were being put together.
"But I didn't hear anything about whether I'd be needed or not.
"So, I got in touch with someone involved in the production. We got together for lunch, and he told me that they 'wouldn't be needing me' on this game. No reason, or explanation was given beyond that.
"And that was it.
"I drove home through Laurel Canyon, bummed, and thinking about Snake."
Hayter said he "loved" being a part of Metal Gear.
"In 1998, I tried to come up with a voice which epitomized the kind of worn, put-upon, genetically-engineered clone-soldier that I saw Snake to be," he continued.
"Over time, as the games became more stunning and visually sophisticated, I tried to transition that initial voice into the increasingly real environments in which Snake found himself. My level of success is up to you, but any perceived deficiencies were not for lack of hard work. I have dedicated a huge amount of time and effort into creating a compelling character, capable of expressing the myriad emotional, physical and psychological hurdles that Snake has to face."
Hayter said he would play Solid Snake forever, "if it were my choice". "To hear anyone else's voice coming from Snake's battered throat, makes me a little ill, to be honest.
"But the truth is - it's not my choice. Any and all casting decisions are the sole purview of Hideo Kojima, and Konami itself. And that's fair.
"And I'll get by. I am not lacking for employment on any level.
"But I didn't want anybody to think that I was intentionally abandoning them.
"And know that I will miss this job, and this character, very much.
"My best wishes to you all,