Often considered to be one of the most complicated video game franchises of all time, Metal Gear is a saga that spans roughly thirty years with three different protagonists all while juggling two core timelines. If you pay attention, it’s actually not at all difficult to follow along with the story, but that’s only if you truly dedicate yourself to paying attention. If you let your mind waiver for even a second, you’ll likely find yourself missing key information, feeling lost in a narrative that constantly demands your full attention. With that in mind, and given the very nature of the video game medium, it’s not hard for more casual fans to get lost in Metal Gear Solid’s story.
Time and time again, you’ll find people online mentioning how they don’t understand the overarching plot or how characters relate to one another, but this just makes it clear who’s a super fan and who’s just a casual fan. For those that do soak in every word of Hideo Kojima’s legendary franchise, they come out of each game all the more knowledgeable, picking up secret details along the ways that even a perceptive fan might miss. If you’re a super fan, chances are you already know most of these. If you’re not, get ready to stand among the Metal Gear legend in terms of knowledge.
30 Big Boss Being Snake’s Father Is A Retcon
Solid Snake and Big Boss being father and son is basically Metal Gear Solid’s “Darth Vader is Luke’s father.” Not in the sense that it’s a life changing twist for the main character, but rather that just about everybody knows it’s the case without even needing to play a single game in the series. MGS is a franchise about legacy so of course Big Boss and Solid Snake are related. Surprisingly enough, though, it’s actually a retcon.
You really have to wonder how longtime fans took this "twist."
In Metal Gear Solid, Snake mentions how Big Boss revealed himself to be his father during their fight in Zanzibarland. This is clearly a reference to Metal Gear 2, but playing MG2 will show you that no such scene exists. Solid Snake and Big Boss simply just fight. This “twist” was invented specifically for the first Solid title.
29 Metal Gear Solid Is Just A Soft Reboot Of Metal Gear 2
Not many fans of the series have actually played Metal Gear 2 which is a bit of a double edged sword. On one hand, you’re missing out on a phenomenal game made early in Hideo Kojima’s career. On the other hand, you’d basically just be playing a 2D version of Metal Gear Solid. When it comes down to it, Metal Gear Solid is really just a soft reboot of Metal Gear 2.
Although the core plots are different and there are more than a few gameplay differences, the two games share many story beats, set pieces, and gameplay scenarios. They play different and Metal Gear Solid has a very defined and detailed theme while Metal Gear 2 doesn’t, but the similarities are undeniable. It’s a bit like the relationship between A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time.
28 The Tanker Chapter Originally Had More Gameplay
You know how fans basically cried for years because Solid Snake was only playable for one short section of Metal Gear Solid 2? Well, originally, the Tanker was going to have some more content to let fans fool with Snake just a little bit longer. At the end of the Tanker, after the whole ship starts to sink, players would have controlled Snake during his escape. Unfortunately, play testplaytestersima’s team, found the whole ordeal to be rather boring. For the sake of pacing, and keeping the game fun all around, they removed the segment. Sure, it’s more Solid Snake, but more isn’t always better.
27 MGS4’s Original Ending Caused A Staff Riot
Not only was Metal Gear Solid 4 polarizing with fans, it was also polarizing with its staff. Instead of Solid Snake finding the will to live and deciding to enjoy his remaining months, however few they may be, after reuniting with Big Boss, Kojima intended Snake and Otacon to turn themselves in as terrorists in order to be executed in the game’s big finish. Naturally, the entire staff rejected this idea and outright refused to work unless Kojima agreed to drop the ending. If you’ve ever wondered why “Here’s to You” plays over the credits, this dark fact is why.
26 Kojima Wanted The Beauty And The Beast Unit To Be Naked
Ever the pervert, Kojima actually wanted the Beauty and the Beast women to be completely naked after being disarmed of their suits in Metal Gear Solid 4. Snake would have to subdue them as they walked towards him in the buff, all while seductively beckoning him like a succubus. Obviously, this didn’t fly as it would likely cause MGS4 to take on an AO rating, basically cannibalizing the game’s sales. According to rumors, however, the models were actually directed naked meaning their suits were added into the game later.
25 Kojima Was Not Allowed To Talk To His Staff While Developing MGSV
24 Konami Banned Kojima From TGA 2015
23 Fans Guessed The Phantom Pain’s Twist After One Trailer
Never underestimate the power of the average Metal Gear Solid fan. After years of being reused and tricked by Hideo Kojima, fans took it upon themselves to solve Metal Gear Solid V’s key mystery the moment its trailer went up. By paying close attention to the trailer son’s lyrics (“Not Your Kind of People” by Garbage,) and examining Big Boss’ overall appearance, fans were able to deduce that the player character was not, in fact, the real Big Boss.
It's really kind of obvious in hindsight.
It wouldn’t be until much later when some fans would accurately theorize Ground Zeroes’ medic as Venom Snake’s original persona, but it’s still rather impressive. Leading up to the medic theory’s confirmations, popular theories involved Venom being either Decoy Octopus or Gray Fox. Both actually reasonable theories, but not quite what Kojima would be going for thematically.
22 The Third Chapter That Never Was
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is notorious for only having two chapters, but data miners actually discovered a third chapter in the game’s files titled “Peace.” Accompanied with the title card comes a cutscenes where Kaz announces to Venom and the rest of Mother Base that all nuclear weapons in the world have been disarmed. It’s been theorized that this cutscene will trigger only when all in-game nukes have been decommissioned over the game’s online servers, but this feat seems impossible considering the presence of hackers in-game and the importance of The Phantom Pain’s online. Chapter 3 will never be anything but a feeble dream.
21 The Phantom Pain’s Scrapped 80s Filter
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is so rooted in its 80s aesthetic, that it’s only natural it would have an 80s filter to really bring out that 80s movie feel. Early in development, Kojima and his team wanted to implement and 80s filter to make gameplay resemble that of a film from the era. Just imagine Venom Snake crawling through Africa and blasting A-ha on his not iPod while looking like a character straight out of Escape from New York. Unfortunately, the filter was far too demanding and had to be removed due to technical limitations. A man can dream, though.
20 Chico Was Meant To Survive Ground Zeroes
Chico’s demise is one of the bigger casualties that occurs in Metal Gear Solid V. After spending all of Peace Walker idolizing Big Boss and trying to find his place as a soldier, he’s kidnapped by Skull Face, tortured in Camp Omega, and blown up at the very end of Ground Zeroes, rendering the events of the game null. It’s a sad, tragic end to a boy who never got to grow up.
At the very least, this should end all theories about Quiet actually being Chico.
Looking at concept art, however, reveals that Chico was, at one point, meant to survive Ground Zeroes and appear in The Phantom Pain. His art clearly shows him all grown up, almost taking the role of the game’s hypothetical Cyborg Ninja, a series staple. Unlike other cut content within the game, however, it seems Chico’s removal was narrative based and not a casualty from MGSV’s development cycle.
19 You Were Supposed To Fight Decoy Octopus In MGS
Metal Gear Solid was quite the ambitious title for the PlayStation and the fact it works as well as it does is a testament to Kojima and his team’s ability to pull together and bring their visions to life. As is always the case with ambition, however, Metal Gear Solid also saw its fair share of cut content. Most notably, a Decoy Octopus boss fight.
The greatest boss that never was, but also actually ended up being implemented in a later installment.
Deemed too demanding for the PlayStation’s hardware, Kojima had to ultimately cut the theoretical Decoy Octopus fight. This boss would have seen Decoy Octopus blending in with his arena’s surrounding, tricking Snake from corner to corner. Thankfully, the fight was later reimagined in Metal Gear Solid 4 via Laughing Octopus.
18 David Hayter Gave Up Part Of His Salary For The Twin Snakes
No one can deny that David Hayter truly loves Metal Gear Solid. When it came time to record dialogue for The Twin Snakes, the Gamecube’s remake of Metal Gear Solid, Hayter ended up giving up a good chunk of his salary just to get the old cast back together. As legend goes, David Hayter supposedly gave up half of his entire paycheck since the old audio recording for the PlayStation release were basically unusable. Considering how he was unceremoniously let go for The Phantom Pain, this fact stings all the worse doesn’t it?
17 Kojima Explicitly Wanted Exaggerated Cutscenes For The Twin Snakes
If there’s one thing fans can agree on, it’s that The Twin Snakes made a mistake in making the cutscenes so ridiculous. While almost fantastical in nature, one of Metal Gear Solid’s greatest strengths was that it was grounded in that fantasy. It was certainly over the top, but never to the point where Snake didn’t feel like a real man. The Twin Snakes changed that by making him come off more like an action superhero than a trained spy.
In case you needed someone to blame for The Twin Snake's mistakes.
Worth noting, though, these cutscenes are entirely Kojima’s fault. Ryuhei Kitamura, the game’s cutscene director, actually planned to remain faithful to the original release, but Kojima requested he go over the top and add his personal flavor to the project. Ultimately, it led to fans mostly dismissing the game for failing to live up to MGS’ original tone. Good going, Kojima.
16 Metal Gear Solid 2 Was Never Meant To Have A Sequel
When you sit down to really analyze Metal Gear Solid 2’s ending, it becomes abundantly clear just how much Hideo Kojima did not want to continue the series. Sons of Liberty ends with just about every plot thread, character arc, and overarching theme wrapping up. What many consider to be a cliffhanger, Snake chasing after Ocelot, is nothing more than the game’s attempt at forcing players to question reality.
Even the post-credits scene, with Snake and Otacon learning the Patriots were never alive during the course of the game, only exists to further push the idea that something in the game’s narrative was not as it seemed. It’s self-sufficient and was never meant to be expanded upon. If you’ve ever wondered why MGS4 goes to great lengths not to mention MGS2, it’s because MGS2 told all the story it wanted to tell.
15 The VR Theory Was Most Likely True Before MGS4
Considering Metal Gear Solid 2 outright asks the player to question the reality of the game, it’s only natural fans began to theorize that Sons of Liberty was actually a VR mission all along. At least for a good chunk of it. Time and time again, Raiden is placed into situations that mirror the events at Shadow Moses all too cleanly. By the last act, the characters, and the game itself, lose all pretense of being real and work at every turn to break Raiden, and the player, down.
Just because it didn't happen doesn't mean it wasn't real.
Then Metal Gear Solid 4 came out. What was once obviously a correct theory was tossed out the window to make a sequel work. Suddenly, everything in the game happened even though nobody comments on the events of Big Shell. It’s a disappointing retcon that diminishes what should be considered Hideo Kojima’s magnum opus.
14 The Ghost Babel Theory
Because one theory isn’t enough, fans have also found a way to include the (supposedly) non-canon Ghost Babel into the Metal Gear canon. Despite effectively overwriting Metal Gear Solid’s role in the chronology by acting as a Metal Gear 3 of sorts, clearing the game’s Special Missions leads into a scene where a character named “Jack” is congratulated for completing their training. As Raiden’s real name is Jack and Special Missions are basically just VR missions, this can be used to link the two games together. Granted, this does end up contradicting a few key details in Sons of Liberty, but it’s a cute way of tying the games together.
13 Metal Gear Solid 2’s Deleted Bosses
Cut content is going to happen in any game, but Metal Gear Solid 2 is an interesting case where two whole characters were ultimately removed from the final game. Already a small group, the game’s FoxHound analog, Dead Cell, lost two members: Old Boy and the unfortunately named Chinaman. While not too, too much is known about Old Boy, Chinaman was actually meant to be fought in Vamp’s second arena. All things considered, Sons of Liberty is such a tightly paced narrative that it’s perhaps for the best that Old Boy and Chinaman couldn’t make it into the final product.
12 Metal Gear Solid 2 Originally Had A Completely Different Plot
Believe it or not, Metal Gear Solid 2 wasn't always envisioned as a massive mind screw meant to break down what it meant for a game to be a sequel. Rather, Hideo Kojima actually intended Metal Gear Solid’s follow up to be fairly traditional. It would have been revealed that Liquid survived the events of Shadow Moses, the game would have taken place in the Middle East, and it likely would have remained a political thriller much likes its predecessor.
It's really for the best Kojima decided to scrap his original plot.
Unfortunately, tensions with the Middle East began to rise and Kojima likely felt it necessary to scrap the concept altogether, instead opting for something a bit more original. Thus, Metal Gear Solid 2 as we know it was born. When it comes down to it, it really is for the best that MGS2 ended up the way it did. A traditional sequel would have been such a bland way to follow up Metal Gear Solid.
11 Snake’s Japanese Voice Actor Wanted To Learn Russian For Snake Eater
For the majority of fans, David Hayter is Snake. Whether it be Solid Snake or Big Boss, the fandom loved Hayter. There’s another voice actor who deserves just as much, if not more, praise, though: Akio Ohtsuka, Solid Snake, and Big Boss’ Japanese voice actor. He’s a man so committed to the job, he even wanted to learn Russian to make Snake Eater all the more authentic. Naturally, no one else in the cast was on board. It’s one thing to learn Russian for a game, but it’s another to speak it fluently for the entirety of the game.
10 Metal Gear Solid 3 Was Envisioned For The PS3
With such an impressive library, it’s really no wonder so many people consider the PlayStation 2 to be one of the greatest consoles of all time. When you take backwards compatibility in mind, this is a console that can play the first three Metal Gear Solid titles, along with Metal Gear 1 and Metal Gear 2. It’s a fan’s dream come true, but MGS’ fate was almost very different.
9 Bowie Would Have Closed Out Metal Gear Solid 3
“Way to Fall” is one of the most iconic ending themes in video game history right up there with “The Best is Yet to Come” and “Can’t Say Goodbye to Yesterday.” In general, Metal Gear Solid tends to have amazing closing songs. What makes “Way to Fall” so great, though, is the way it perfectly captures the feel of Snake Eater narrative. It’s hard to imagine a different song playing MGS3 out.
Kojima would later get to enact his Bowie dreams by using a cover of "The Man Who Sold the World" for Metal Gear Solid V.
Maybe some Bowie could work, though. As the legend goes, Metal Gear Solid 3 was originally going to focus quite heavily on the space race in its early drafts. With time, Kojima slowly started to refine the heart of the narrative, the conflict of ideologies between Big Boss and The Boss, and the space race idea all but disappeared. Had the concept stuck, the game would have likely ended with either “Ashes to Ashes” or “Space Oddity,” both fine choices for a staff roll.
8 The Legend Of Guy Savage
In the PlayStation 2 version of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and only the PlayStation 2 version, players can access a mini-game called “Guy Savage” where Big Boss, after being attacked, has a nightmare about a man tearing his way through what appears to be zombies. The sequence is fully playable with unique controls independent of Snake Eater.
It's the greatest mini-game you've never played.
Kojima would later confirm that Guy Savage was meant to be its own video game and its inclusion in Metal Gear Solid 3 was a way of teasing the project. Unfortunately, the title was ultimately canceled and all references to Guy Savage were reformed from Metal Gear Solid 3’s many re-releases. Bust out that PS2 if you want a glimpse at a very unique piece of Konami history.
7 Kojima Wanted Kurt Russell To Replace David Hayter
As far as Hayter replacements go, Kurt Russell wouldn't have been too bad.
In a way, though, doesn’t it make sense for Big Boss to have a different voice than Solid Snake? Sure, they’re clones, but they’re technically not the same man. Unfortunately, this idea falls apart when you realize that Akio Ohtsuka was carried over as Big Boss’ voice in the Japanese release, making the situation perhaps a bit too targeted on Hayter’s end.
6 Metal Gear Solid 3 Easily Could Have Ended The Series
5 Metal Gear Solid 4 Reunited A Father And Son
As if the reunion between Solid Snake and Big Boss at the end of Metal Gear Solid 4 couldn’t be more emotional, the Japanese version of Guns of the Patriots goes one step further by casting Akio Ohtsuka’s father, Chikao Ohtsuka, as Big Boss. Supposedly, the two had a slightly strained relationship, and this casting was done by Kojima as a means of allowing the father and son to reconcile. If you ever get a chance to experience the Japanese dub of MGS4, keep that in mind and weep your eyes out as you watch a son hold his father for the first and last time.
4 Metal Gear Solid 4 Is An Act Of Rebellion
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Hideo Kojima wanted nothing to do with Metal Gear while developing Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. After expressing a desire to leave the series during the development of both Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3, Kojima found himself in the director’s seat yet again and took it as a chance to rebel.
Sometimes it takes real disdain to create real art.
Solid Snake was aged up to parallel Kojima’s exhaustion with the series, fan service was shoved into fans faces whether they wanted it or not, and the game went to extreme lengths to seemingly punish the player at times with the microwave scene being a standout. When it’s all said and done, though, for all its flaws, MGS4 is better off thanks to this act of rebellion. It has a clear identity and sense of auteurship missing from many games.
3 Kingdom Of The Flies
If you’ve ever needed further proof that The Phantom Pain is a blatantly incomplete game, just look at the conclusion to Eli’s story arc. Oh wait, you can’t because it doesn’t exist. As is, Eli’s story arc ends with him flying off with young Psycho Mantis with Sahelanthropus in tow. The game doesn’t even bother to touch upon what could have possibly happened.
Just like poor old Chapter Three, Eli’s arc did actually have a conclusion in a mission called “Kingdom of the Flies” where Venom would fight Sahelanthropus one last time, resolving the game’s main plot thread revolving around Eli, Psycho Mantis, and the Metal Gear. As to be expected from MGSV, the mission was only halfway completed before ultimately hitting the chopping block.
2 Camp Omega Was Supposed To Appear In The Phantom Pain
Ground Zeroes is a game with a lot of problems, but most fans can agree that Camp Omega is one of the best-designed areas in the entire series. It has a clear identity with several different ways to tackle any objective. For all of Ground Zeroes’ flaws, it was able to release with a considerable amount of longevity due to Camp Omega’s design. In fact, Camp Omega was even planned to return for The Phantom Pain.
It wouldn't have been enough to save The Phantom Pain, but Camp Omega would have at least tied it to Ground Zeroes in a cleaner way.
Sadly, like many of The Phantom Pain’s features, Camp Omega’s triumphant return never came to be. It was advertised time and time again, but the final game lacks even a single asset implying Camp Omega was ever built into The Phantom Pain’s build. It’s a sad exclusion that speaks volumes to Metal Gear Solid V’s troubled development.
1 Huey Was Going To Play A Bigger Role In MGSV
Everyone’s least favorite character from The Phantom Pain, albeit the only one with a discernible arc, Huey was meant to have an even larger role in the game’s story. In an interview with Famitsu, Kenji Yano, an editor and close friend of Kojima’s, explained that Huey would have originally played Ishamael’s role in the narrative. Considering his portrayal in Peace Walker, and his role as Big Boss’ Otacon, this idea makes quite a bit of sense. In many ways, Otacon was Solid Snake’s Ishmael after all. For whatever reason, though, Kojima cut the concept entirely and simply made Ishmael Big Boss. One has to wonder how the game would have played out with Huey effectively taking center stage, though.