Metal Gear Solid Beginner’s Guide: Everything You Need To Know

"You're pretty good."

Metal Gear Solid 2
Metal Gear Solid 2

Few series this side of Kingdom Hearts are as tough to explain as Metal Gear Solid is. While the initial story of the series follows a legendary superspy who tackles missions in hopes of preventing nuclear war, the franchise spins out so far from this starting point that it goes on to include vampires, psychics, cyborgs, and guys who genuinely shoot hornets at you as a form of attack.

If this sounds like your kind of crazy, though, you might find yourself wanting to dive into the wacky old world of Metal Gear Solid. If you’re intrigued, we’ve got just the thing, as this handy beginner’s guide to all things Metal Gear is just for folks like you. So turn on your Codec, and let’s get this mission started.


Who Created Metal Gear Solid?

Hideo Kojima
Source: Mega64

Metal Gear Solid was created by Hideo Kojima.

Kojima has something of an auteur’s vision for his games and is regularly lauded for both his creative gameplay design as well as his unique brand of storytelling and out-there characters.

Though Kojima is seemingly done with the series, he’s left a legacy of great games behind him and continues to work on cool new projects like Death Stranding via his studio, Kojima Productions.


What’s Metal Gear Solid About?

Metal Gear Solid 3 Subsistence
Metal Gear Solid 3 Subsistence

Metal Gear Solid follows Solid Snake, a former CIA operative who has saved the world from nuclear war on several occasions. Though he is retired at the start of the series, he finds himself coming back for one last job. For this mission, Solid Snake is sent to Alaska to take down a terrorist cell that sprang up from his former unit, FOXHOUND.

Each member of the unit has special abilities, ranging from standard things like being an expert with revolvers or sniper rifles to being a full-blown psychic or master of disguise. This description also sums up most of the subsequent games, as Snake is generally always battling a bunch of weirdos as he tries to save the world from the threat of a nuclear holocaust.


What’s a “Metal Gear”?

Metal Gear Rex
Metal Gear Rex

Central to the plot of each game is also the Metal Gear. These machines are walking battle tanks or mechs that have the ability to fire a nuclear ballistic missile from anywhere on the planet. Due to this capability, they are especially dangerous as they are not beholden to typical diplomatic rules of war like deterrence.

Of course, the fun part comes when you have to fight one of these mechanical monstrosities at the end of each game. There’s nothing quite like battling giant robots with just a missile launcher and your own skills keeping you alive. The appeal of insane situations like this is a big part of what makes Metal Gear Solid as exciting and innovative as it is.


Who is Solid Snake?

Metal Gear Solid 4
Metal Gear Solid 4

Solid Snake is a gravelly-voiced superspy who routinely saves the world but never gets the glory, as all of his missions are top secret. He has something of a heavy conscience from all of the dirty work he’s had to do and all of the people he’s had to kill in order to achieve his missions over the years.

Due to this, he’s slow to trust and even slower to open up. Snake has very few friends, and when he’s not on missions, the soldier often keeps to himself. The few people he trusts are a former colonel of his, Campbell, a scientist he saved on a mission, Hal Emmerich, and his occasional love interest, Meryl Silverburgh.


What Happened to Metal Gear Solid?

Metal Gear Survive

Over the course of making Metal Gear Solid V, Konami and Kojima began to butt heads over how long and expensive the production had become. Following a restructuring that occurred during this conflict, Kojima and his team were downgraded to contractors and only remained to finish the game.

Unfortunately, due to these factors, the campaign of Metal Gear Solid V was cut short, and worse still, Kojima was officially finished with Konami and the franchise. Though Konami has tried to revive the series with efforts like Metal Gear Survive, it seems that fans aren’t terribly interested in the series without its creator at the helm. There hasn’t been a new entry in the series since early 2018.


Is There More Metal Gear Media Out There?

MGS 2 Comic
MGS 2 Comic

If you’re after more of this franchise, there is a series of novelizations of each mainline game as well as a whole bunch of great art books featuring the incredible work of Ashley Wood under the Metal Gear Solid banner. There is also an excellent comic book series based on Metal Gear Solid that comes packed with Wood’s amazing and iconic artwork and is written by Kris Oprisko.

If you’re looking for something from fans of the series, however, you can check out the Metal Gear Solid book by siblings Ashly and Anthony Burch. Furthermore, a Metal Gear Solid movie has been confirmed to be in development from Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, starring Oscar Isaac as Solid Snake.


Canon Metal Gear Solid Games in Order

Metal Gear Solid V

Though there are over a dozen games in the Metal Gear series across many different platforms, only a select few are considered canon. Part of this is due to some of the games not being developed or produced by Hideo Kojima, while other instances like the spin-off Metal Gear Acid happen to take place in their own universes entirely. With that in mind, the following list is the release and story order for the series.

– Metal Gear
– Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
– Metal Gear Solid
– Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
– Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
– Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
– Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
– Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Though not officially considered canon, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops and Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes are worth your while if you can get your hands on them. If turn-based strategy is your thing, the two Acid games might be a good fit as well.

READ MORE: It’s Time For A Metal Gear Solid Complete Collection

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