Metal Gear Solid

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Metal Gear Solid is the first in a long line of PlayStation based stealth action games. These games serve as sequels to a pair of games released on the MSX2 system in Japan. They are known as Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2. The series deal primarily with conspiracy theories involving nuclear weapons, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, and censorship. With the exception of Metal Gear Solid 2, 3, and V, Solid Snake is the main playable character.

In each installment, Snake would have to sneak into a place occupied with either terrorists or communists and rescue important government or military officials then destroy a "Metal Gear" and defeat super human bosses. However, there were also instances that were rife with anti-Americanism, most notably in Metal Gear Solid 2, Peace Walker, and Metal Gear Solid V. Kojima indicated that, at least regarding Ground Zeroes and the thinly-veiled critique of Guantanamo Bay, the anti-Americanism was intentional, and also implied that Hollywood isn't doing enough to depict America alternately from being heroes in his mind.[1]

Despite being created by Japanese video game producer, Hideo Kojima, the series intensely related to American politics.

Spoiler warning
This article contains important plot information


All four numerical games, plus the spinoffs in the series released so far have featured terrorists as the enemies.

In Metal Gear Solid 1, an Alaskan military base is taken over by a terrorist group known as Foxhound, headed by Liquid Snake.

In Metal Gear Solid 2, a cleanup facility is hijacked by a terrorist group known as Dead Cell, headed by Solidus. However, throughout the game, it becomes steadily more apparent that a clandestine group known as "the Patriots," reputed to be the true power behind America, was involved in the actions of the terrorist group in question, despite the terrorist group trying to attack the Patriots.

In Metal Gear Solid 3, a prequel set during the Cold War, a Russian terrorist group takes command of nuclear weapons. The player is under the impression that an American "patriot" known as The Boss betrays the United States. The U.S. president secretly works with the Russian president by sending an agent on a sneaking mission. However, it becomes apparent in the ending that The Boss had actually faked defection to secure the Philosophers' Legacy for America, a treasure that was worth 100 billion dollars in 1960s currency, but the leader of the Russian terrorist group, a renegade GRU colonel named Colonel Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin, botched her original mission by launching one of the nuclear missiles at a Soviet research bureau, resulting in America framing her with genuine defection to cover up their involvement.

In Metal Gear Solid 4, a continuation of 2, a private military company battles a computer system known as "The Patriots." Many weapons are constantly hijacked.

Subject matters

Nuclear disarmament

In the backstory for Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, the world was mentioned to have undergone total nuclear disarmament, although Zanzibar Land, led by Big Boss, managed to retrieve several still-intact nuclear stockpiles, ensuring they were the sole nuclear power by the events of the game. This aspect later ended up retconned after Metal Gear Solid's release, due to several events between the release of the two games that made it incompatible with the real world. Nuclear disarmament, or rather, deterrence was also a focal point in Peace Walker.

Cloning, Stem Cells, and Abortion

The character Solid Snake, Liquid Snake, and Solidus are all clones of the super soldier Big Boss. In the method described in the game in vitro fertilization is used with eight embryos, and five of them (originally stated as six of them, before the plot twist regarding Solidus was revealed) are aborted to give rise to the clones. The main villain, one of the clones, explicitly refers to this action as murder, although he attributes this action to themselves rather than the ones actually doing the abortion.[2]

Big Boss, after having been "mortally wounded," supposedly survives by being cryogenically frozen, then stem cells heal him.

Left-wing politics/1960s culture

In the game Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, there were several amounts of bias towards the Marxist revolutionary/terrorist Che Guevara, with several characters looking up to him and little, if any actual critiques offered towards him. Existentialism and Jean-Paul Sartre were also briefly referenced in Peace Walker in a briefing tape with the frenchwoman Cecile Cosima Caminandes. May 1968 and the Hippie movements were also briefly mentioned.

In addition, the games, at least since Metal Gear Solid 2, have also pushed nihilism and moral relativism in an implied positive light. It was also strongly suggested that Metal Gear Solid 2 tried to push a postmodernist agenda.[3] The Piggyback guide for Metal Gear Solid 3 also mentioned that the series' overall theme was derived from Friedrich Nietzsche, specifically his work "The Eternity of the Same." Metal Gear Solid V also features a quotation from Friedrich Nietzsche regarding how "facts don't exist, there are only interpretations." during a key chapter in the game. Emil Cioran was also alluded to in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Kojima's decision to create the Patriots in Metal Gear Solid 2 supposedly had its roots in the Napster lawsuit, with creator Hideo Kojima interpreting the lawsuit and Napster successfully being sued as meaning the United States Government was getting closer to achieving global mind control due to their successfully preventing people from sharing music with one another.[3]

The games Ghost Babel (which is non-canon), Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain also feature hints at an anti-colonial sentiment, in particular the false claim that the richer countries were parasites exploiting third-world countries.

The game Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes also features a very thinly-veiled critique on Guantanamo Bay's detaining of prisoners in several of its missions, and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain also features a mission that can be construed as being complicit in eco-terrorism.

The Grand Game Plan for Metal Gear Solid 2 also hints at pushing a feminist outlook.[4]

Notes and references

  2. Metal Gear Solid, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (1998)
    Liquid Snake: Then they transferred the clones to someone's uterus and later intentionally aborted six of the fetuses to encourage strong fetal growth... You and I were originally octuplets. // Solid Snake: Octuplets... // Liquid: Yes. The other six of our brothers were sacrificed to make us. We were accomplices in murder before the day we were even born.
  3. 3.0 3.1
    Page 6
    Having an iconic female character (Fortune), like in the previous game, as well as an ordinary woman involved with the main character, will add both a realistic and romantic element to the game.
    ‘The 21st century will be the age of women, when women will protect men’"