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In 1986, a man by the name of Hideo Kojima joined the Japanese game development company
Konami as a designer and planner. Initially he was disappointed with his assignments at
the company and his ideas where often overlooked due to his limited technological understanding.
Early on he was given an assignment to develop an action game based on modern military combat.
During development this game was known as Intruder. However due to hardware limitations
of the MSX2 home computer system, Kojima decided to take the game in a completely different
direction. Instead of combating enemies, the game shifted focus to escaping and avoiding
enemies. Executives at Konami were skeptical and thought a game based on the concept of
not shooting the enemy was a bad idea. Kojima stood by his new radical game design but also
thought about leaving the company. After getting some advice and support from one of his superiors,
he eventually decided to continue development. As the game developed, his co workers and
superiors began to see the potential of a stealth action game and realized that it was
actually quite fun. The game revolves around the special forces operative Solid Snake.
His mission is to sneak into hostile territory to destroy a dangerous weapon known as Metal Gear.
And just like that, the game got it's name. The MSX2 version of Metal Gear was released
in Europe and Japan in 1987 and the NES version was released in North America in 1988.
Metal Gear was both a commercial and critical success and is one the first stealth games ever made.
In 1990, Konami released an exclusive North American sequel known as Snake's Revenge.
Kojima himself was not involved in the development of this title so he decided to develop a sequel
of his own known as Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. Metal Gear 2 is recognized by virtually everyone
as the true sequel to Metal Gear. Kojima continued to work on a third canonical installment simply
called Metal Gear 3, with the aim of releasing it on the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer console.
However, due to the declining support for the 3DO, development was shifted to the new
and popular PlayStation console. In 1998 Konami released Metal Gear Solid. Kojima decided
to retitled the game and has stated that the word "Solid" in the title has three distinct
meanings. First and foremost, it's a reference to the protagonist Solid Snake. Secondly,
it's the first game in the franchise to use 3D graphics. Because a solid is also a word
used to describe a three-dimensional shape. And thirdly, it's poking fun at rival game
company Square. You know, because a square is a two-dimensional shape.
Numerous canonical installments and spin-off titles has been released
ever since spawning one of the most popular video game franchises in history.
Including the latest title Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
At the very end of Metal Gear Solid the real given name
of protagonist Solid Snake is revealed for the first time.
Now it's a common misconception that this name was chosen during development
based on Snake's American voice actor David Hayter. And it's easy to see why as Snake
is even introduced like this during the prologue so many likely assumed that there's was a
correlation between the two. But this is actually not the case. The Japanese script was written
before the English version and it also states that Snake's real name is David. Not to mention
that the Japanese voice over and the English script was completed before David Hayter was
even hired to voice the character. The real inspiration for the name David actually comes
from two separate sources. In the alternative ending
the name is clearly a reference to the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.
But in the canonical ending, when Meryl is saved, she still refers
to Snake as Dave even though that 2001 reference is lost. Now it's easy
to assume that she just said Dave instead of David because the names are similar and
are often used interchangeably. But this is Metal Gear so of course there's a deeper meaning.
You see, in this ending it's actually a reference to Hideo Kojima's previous game titled Policenauts.
In fact the character Meryl Silverburgh in Metal Gear Solid is almost an exact copy of
the character Meryl Silverburgh from Policenauts. The same name, the same appearance, the same
Japansese voice actor, everything. And in Policenauts, she also has a partner named Dave.
The cover art for the original Metal Gear from 1987 is actually just a trace over of
a photo of the character Kyle Reese from the movie The Terminator. It's unknown why this
was done but Kojima has stated that he was not involved in the creation of this cover.
In a similar fashion, many of the original character portraits in Metal Gear 2 are just
blatant copies of various famous people. However, when the game was re-released many years later
the character designs where replaced with original art instead.
In several Metal Gear Solid games it's possible to take photos using the in-game camera. And
when photos are taken in very specific locations, ghostly images of members of the development
team will appear. For example in Metal Gear Solid and image of Hideo Kojima will appear
when you take a photo of a painting. In Metal Gear Solid 2, he will appear if you photograph
a projector screen. Many other members of the various development teams are featured
as well and in Metal Gear Solid 4 there's a total of 49 ghosts to find.
In Metal Gear Solid 3 you have to fight a boss known as The End. He's a legendary sniper
that's over 100 years old and many consider this fight to be one of the best in the entire
Metal Gear franchise. What's interesting though is that you can actually defeat him by doing
absolutely nothing. If you save and exit the game in the midst of battle and then wait
an entire real-time week. This cutscene will play as you return to the game.
Simply by not playing you caused him to die of old age. You can also manipulate
the internal clock of whatever system you're playing on to accomplish the same thing.
I mean, who has time to wait an entire week
If you instead, only wait a couple of days, yet another cutscene will be played in which Snake
has fallen asleep and The End is able to ambush and capture him.
The Metal Gear franchise is well known for mixing the serious with the ridiculous.
Ok. I'm back! I'm back. I'm back, I think. Where was I... Yeah, mixing the serious with the ridiculous and
one aspect of that comes in the form of breaking the forth wall. And
this goes for every single game in the series. I mean, there's an incredible amount of this
stuff but I'm gonna try to mention some of the more interesting.
At one point in Metal Gear Solid Snake is told to look for Meryl's Codec frequency on the back of a CD case.
This is said right as Snake is handed an optical disc and thus you would assume that the number
is on the back of this disc in the game. But in actuality they mean on the back
of the physical CD case that the game came in. While fighting the Hind in Metal Gear Solid,
the player is advised to us the TV's stereo speakers to track its position. But if the
audio is set to mono they will mock the player for not owning a TV with stereo sound.
During the battle against Psycho Mantis in Metal Gear Solid he states that he can read your mind.
He then proceeds to read your save files and if you have
a few specific Konami games installed he will list them out loud.
He also wants the player to place the controller on the floor
so that he can move it with the power of his mind. The controller will then begin vibrate.
And to defeat him you're told to plug the controller into another port so
that he can't read you "mind" anymore. He makes a similar appearance in Metal Gear Solid 4
but this time, as the Playstation 3 doesn't use memory cards, he's unable to read the player's "mind".
When Snake is about to be tortured by Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid, he
warns the player not to use a modded controller among other things.
Throughout the Arsenal Gear sequence in Metal Gear Solid 2
several characters directly mentions that Raiden is inside a video game.
At one point when Raiden meets up Snake in Metal Gear Solid 2, Snake has this to say.
This is in reference to the first Metal Gear Solid in which a bandana
would grant the player infinite ammo. If you tilt the camera so that it's above Snake when
you're on Shadow Moses Island in Metal Gear Solid 4,
Snake will reference the old overhead view used in the first Metal Gear Solid.
And finally, in one of the Side Ops in Metal Gear Solid V
you get to rescue the man, the legend, Hideo Kojima himself.
I'd like to imagine we're rescuing him from Konami.
How about some nice music.
This short melody that's played as you boot up Metal Gear Solid
is actually taken from a soundtrack used in Hideo Kojima's previous
title Policenauts. It's called "End of the Dark" and the full track sounds more like this.
The Metal Gear series has become rather famous for it's incredibly long cutscenes. And while
they're usually quite spectacular and enjoyable to watch, it can get a bit annoying at times,
especially when it's not possible to skip them and it's your second play through. Or
in case some idiot got the brilliant idea of making an over 10 minute (*20 min) long video about
the franchise and has to sit through the same cutscenes over and over and over again. Luckily
there's not a lot of those people in the world. Given this, it should come as no surprise
that Metal Gear Solid 4 holds the world record for both the longest cutscene in a video game
and the longest sequence of cutscenes in a video game. The longest sequence of cutscenes
occurs at the end of the game and it's over an hour long. 71 minutes to be exact and this
is excluding credits of course. And the longest cutscene, which is 27 minutes long, also happens
to be included within this hour long sequence.
Throughout the franchise you may have hear this.
So what does that mean? It sounds like gibberish right?
And it kind of is because that is kind of the point. Let me explain.
The evil bad guys in the games are known as The Patriots. As you may know, it's a secret
organization seeking world domination for one reason or another. And one crucial aspect
of being a secret organization is to remain secret. One way to do that is by controlling
and concealing information. Emma from Metal Gear Solid 2 explains it quite well.
Essentially, they want to control what is known and what isn't. So to prevent anyone from even talking
about The Patriots they began injecting people with nanomachines. These nanomachines prevents
the host from saying "The Patriots" by scrambling their words so it instead comes out as...
To put it simply, "La Li Lu Le Lo" is code-word for "The Patriots". But it's actually a lot more than
that. You see the Japanese alphabet is recited as "Ka Ki Ku Ke Ko" and "Na Ni Nu Ne No" and
so on. But in Japanese there is no distinguished "L" consonant. So for all Japanese players
the phrase "La Li Lu Le Lo" is quite literally gibberish because they can't pronounce it
or even write it down using their alphabet. The phrase is supposed to convey that The
Patriots wants to be an idea that cannot be expressed, communicated, or reproduced.
Like most games in this franchise Metal Gear Solid V ended with a significant plot twist.
However the ending received mixed reception as many felt the twist undermined the entire
game, didn't make any sense, and/or that it was only included for no other reason than shock value.
Not to mention that many thought the conclusion was too sudden with too many
loose ends and unexplained plot holes. Well at least some of that could have been explained
if they had included the full ending. On a bonus Blu-ray disc included in the Collector's Edition
of the game there's an extra mission known as The Phantom Episode or
Episode 51: Kingdom of the Flies. The mission was never finished and thus it isn't playable. Instead
it's composed of various concept art, voice acting, and unfinished cutscenes. The mission
would've continued after Eli takes control of Sahelanthropus and escapes Mother Base
along with the other child soldiers. They escape to an inland island in Central Africa
and Snake is quick to pursue them. A final boss fight between Eli, XOF troops, and Snake
takes place which ultimately ends with Eli being defeated. Snake chooses not to kill
Eli himself and instead leaves him with a choice between suicide or burning to death
by the incoming napalm strike. However soon after Snake leaves the island and just before
it's about to be engulfed in flames, the Third Child appears and saves Eli from certain death.
The episode is about 20 minutes long so I can't really show everything here but I highly
recommend that you check it out if you haven't already. I'll have a link to it in the description.
And I got to say I think this ending was a lot more satisfying than what's included in
the final game and if you're really passionate about it there's even a petition for Kojima
and Konami to finish this ending and to make it playable.
But given the state of things, that seems very unlikely.