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. Hideo 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.

The screenwriter David Hayter did the voice work for Solid Snake, and later Naked Snake/Big Boss, and as such, he utilized his experiences with the franchise when writing the screenplays for various Marvel movies, most infamously X-2: X-Men United and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where the character William Stryker (initially a fundamentalist Christian) was changed into a renegade paramilitary officer.

Spoiler warning
This article contains important plot information


All five 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. The group in question had formerly been an anti-terrorist group, as well as the unit Solid Snake formerly belonged to before Liquid Snake took command.

In Metal Gear Solid 2, a cleanup facility is hijacked by a terrorist group called the Sons of Liberty (deliberately named after the American War of Independence group of the same name), with notable members being an anti-terrorist-turned-terrorist cell 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, Lyndon B. Johnson, secretly works with the Soviet premiere Nikita Khrushchev 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: Portable Ops, Naked Snake, rechristened Big Boss, was tasked with trying to stop the FOX unit, which had recently become a terrorist cell and was planning to launch a nuke into the USSR, although it was later revealed that the terrorist leader, Gene, was in fact planning to launch the missile at America. The events of Metal Gear Solid 3 were also referenced, with Gene late in the game also implying that even Volgin's launching of the Davy Crockett was the result of manipulation by a "deviously cunning strategist" within the American government.

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. At one point in the game, during Act 2, however, Solid Snake is working with what is implied to be a Communist rebel group in South America.

In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, terrorism was alluded to a few times, with MSF later being implied to have engaged in terrorism in the ending. A large part of the game also dealt with Big Boss coming to grips with his killing of The Boss back in Metal Gear Solid 3. In addition, one of the more infamous aspects of the game dealt with several of the main characters, in particular Big Boss and Kazuhira Miller, having hero worship towards Marxist terrorist and mass-murderer Che Guevara. Cipher later tried to frame MSF for a terrorist attack via an agent by launching a nuke at the East Coast. Unlike in most games of the series, however, the main villains are not a terrorist group, but rather a CIA paramilitary group working on a self-defense system, although it's leader, the station chief of Central America, is depicted as a madman.

In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, picking up where 4 left off, Raiden was dispatched to try and stop a renegade PMC called Desperado from trying to reenact the War Economy, with the latter group also frequently conducting in terrorism. In addition, the first main chapter of the game dealt with Raiden being dispatched to Abkhazia to stop a Chechen terrorist after the latter took it over in a coup. A large part of the plot, similar to in Metal Gear Solid 2, also revealed that there was a plan for a false flag operation by the main villain to get America into war in order to restore America's glory, which involved a terrorist attack on Pakistan.

In Metal Gear Solid V, the first half, Ground Zeroes, had Big Boss infiltrating what is implied to be Guantanamo Bay, which had various prisoners in there who were called terrorists, although it is heavily implied that they were simply abducted and innocent of the charges. In addition, the second half, The Phantom Pain, had Diamond Dogs, a reformed version of MSF, engaging in more extreme measures against XOF and Cipher, as well as working with the Communist MPLA in Africa at one point.

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. In The Phantom Pain, there was also a secret ending for disabling all nukes on a server that implied that the world had fully undergone total nuclear disarmament by 1984.

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. The May 1968 riots 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][4]

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.[5]

Series creator Hideo Kojima was a fan of President Barack Obama, mostly because of his "world without nukes" speech in Prague during his campaign, incorporating his quote in the nuclear deterrence ending for The Phantom Pain and also implying in his blog that one of Coldman's statement about "meeting peace halfway" was lifted from Obama's speech.[6]

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’"
  6. 『核なき世界』をプラハで宣言したオバマ大統領がノーベル平和賞を受賞した。 ようやく時代が動き出したのか。 ピースウォーカー計画始動?そうなる事を願いたい。 『平和は歩いては来ない』 『お互い歩み寄るしかないのだ』 Gymにて。 ("President Obama, who talked about a "world without nuclear weapons" in Prague, has won the Nobel Peace Prize. Has history finally made its move? Could this be the beginning of the Peace Walker Project? I hope so. "Peace won't come to us." "We have to meet it halfway" At the gym."?)