For those just joining us, this is Part 3 of a series about the history of Metal Gear Solid, from the MSX to the PS4. If you haven't listened to Part 2, we recommend you do that now. This episode still works as a standalone, but we do call back to earlier points in the series. Continue at your own peril. With that out of the way...
We wrap up the main four Metal Gear games with exasperation and cautious anticipation for whatever Kojima throws our way.
Metal Gear Solid as a series has not ended. It continues to creep along with sequels, prequels, midquels, and spin-offs into realms unknown. But back in 2008 we thought it might have come to a distinct conclusion.
Metal Gear Solid 3, easily the high watermark of the series, had come out and stunned everyone by how comprehensible the plot was, and how deep the mechanics were. We returned to Big Boss who had to fight his mother figure and mentor, scarring him for life. After this installment Big Boss became the game the unofficial anti-hero of the series. Every future title would not be about the bland clone, Solid Snake. It was about the goofy Cold War hero, John Something.
Metal Gear Solid 4 continued this focus on fixing things in the past, as the game revisits every plot point in the prior three and amends it. It's Kojima reaching back into the odd machine he built to tweak some of the early parts, and replace the ideas that no longer amuse him, or mess with characters who didn't fit his vision. Sometimes it's to tear out the wiring behind the frankly embarrassing Metal Gear Solid 2. The game spends most of its time with exposition making sure you remember that this is all about something that happened in the 70s. The last five games, starting with the original Metal Gear, are just by-products of that tragic battle.
For a moment in 2008 you could imagine that there was some kind of plan to this madness and that with its final cutscene, lasting an hour and a half, Big Boss had nothing left to explain and Snake had nothing left to endure. Both would be discarded, a vision fulfulled.
But of course, that's not what happened. No matter how many twists or last second fake-outs, there always seemed to be one more, which might be why Metal Gear Solid is as fascinating as it is. As you can tell in the following episode:
- The History of Metal Gear Solid 3 (00:00 - 16:40)
- The History of Metal Gear Solid 4 (16:40 - 39:00)
- Post-Mortem on Games to Come (39:00 - 53:25)