The Metal Gear Series is back at the IndieGala blog. And we at IndieGala couldn’t be happier about that. Why? Because The Metal Gear series is one of the best game series out there, and it’s an incredible source of inspiration. For me at least, because I’m a huge fan of Kojima’s work. And especially Metal Gear Solid.
Indeed, I’ve written extensively about the Metal Gear series before. And Hideo Kojima as well. I did analyze the influences on Kojima’s work. And I did snoop around the many influences in his latest work. Death Stranding. Yes, his friendship with Guillermo Del Toro is well documented here (at IndieGala) and pretty much everywhere else. But I’m here about Metal Gear Solid.
And I simply can’t go any further with this post, without a mention of the game series in question.
What’s Metal Gear Series All About?
Well, it’s one of the best stealth game series in existence. Published and developed by Konami, MSG in short is one of the most beloved game series in existence. It’s revered and loved by the fans, and it’s one of the best-selling video game series of all time. From the moment it appeared on the market in 1998, to this very moment. Indeed, Hideo Kojima’s parting with Konami was a hard blow for the fans, but they have the past games to look back at.
Most notably, Metal Gear Solid 5. Which is the last collaboration between Kojima with Konami. What’s to say about the Metal Gear Solid franchise, that it’s not been said before? It’s a great series and deserves your time and devotion.
And as you can probably tell, we currently have Metal Gear Solid 5 on sale. It’s pretty awesome, so make sure not to miss out on this sale. It’s not going to last that much further, so hurry up and get it while it’s still hot.
And What About The Metal Gear Solid’s Influences?
Well, as I mentioned before, I really touched on the influences that Hideo Kojima has in his creative process. Furthermore, I devoted an entire post about his friendship with the likes of Guillermo Del Toro, Norman Reedus. Oh and the Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn which he also put in Death Stranding. But for now, in this particular post, I’m going to focus on the influences that Kojima had on the Metal Gear series. Indeed, I’ll focus more on the cinematic aspect of the influences, with a slight deviation on the TV portion of it. Kojima is a self-proclaimed film junkie, and he transfers (successfully) the style and visual aesthetic of the movies in his own work. So, with that in mind. Which movies and TV series had the biggest influence on Metal Gear Solid?
Escape From New York
It’s no secret that Solid Snake is actually on John Carpenter’s character of Snake Plissken from Escape From New York. It’s a fantastic movie (although Escape From LA is my guilty pleasure) and I think it’s great that these two characters have so much in common. Aside from the similar name, and physical likeness of course. Sure there’s the eye patch, and the similar voices are evident too. But In MGS2, Snake even calls himself Iroquois Plisken. Furthermore, in MGS4, Snake wears an eye patch over his left eye like Snake Plissken. If you’re a fan of Carpenter’s movies you’ll notice the similarities, and of course, you’ll appreciate the homage from Kojima to this iconic character.
Now I mentioned Akira briefly in my MotoGP post from earlier this year. But I believe this awesome movie deserves another mention since it’s a fantastic movie. And from a fantastic director no less. Katsuhiro Otomo. Sure, Kojima is a huge fan of Akira and it would be silly not to mention the anime movie in this list. Since the influence of the movie is evident in the game series too. Most notably in Grey Fox character. And in the scene shortly after Gray Fox and Solid Snake are fighting in the lab. Fox, while undergoing painful discharges, will suddenly scream “The…the mediciiiiiine!”. As you probably know it’s from the anime movie Akira. Tetsuo demands for a stabilizer due to the instability of his psychokinetic powers beginning to mutate his arm. And it fits perfectly in MGS too. Don’t you think?
The Great Escape
And if some of the movies are inspirations for particular scenes, characters of gameplays, then The Great Escape is an inspiration for everything. Indeed. For the entire Metal Gear series, which started in 1987. That’s right. A 1963 epic war movie is responsible for Metal Gear. Apparently, Kojima got the idea to make a stealth action game with daring escapes from this particular movie. Most notably Steve McQueen’s character. And in the Great Escape, the character attempts to run away and escape without a fight. While avoiding the sight of the enemy of course. Sounds familiar?
Mad Max 2
This is also a movie that you can find on Kojima’s list of favorite movies. And deservingly so, since it’s one hell of a movie. But it’s also a move that had an incredible influence on Kojima when he was creating Metal Gear. For instance, Venom Snake’s constant silence in The Phantom Pain was directly inspired by the silence of the main character in Mad Max 2. Furthermore, there are a couple of similarities between Venom Snake and Mad Max. Yes, they are both accompanied by a canine companion. Venom with D-Dog, Max with Dog. Finally, Snake’s leather jacket bears a striking resemblance to Max’s jacket. And last but not least, both Snake and Mad Max are driven to vengeance that left them asocial due to traumatic events in the past. Cool right?
Who would have thought that Rambo and Solid Snake have so much in common, in Hideo Kojima’s mind? First of all the design for Roy Campbell is inspired by Richard Crenna’s portrayal of Colonel Samuel Trautman. Secondly, Hideo Kojima likened Raiden’s character to that of Rambo. And let’s not forget. Both Solid Snake and Big Boss wear bandanas. It’s a nice visual reference to Rambo, don’t you think?.
One common thread among all of the influences is the presence of a lot of 80’s movies and TV shows. And The Terminator is no exception. Sure The Terminator’s influence on Hideo Kojima is blatantly clear. But let’s go back to it once again. Shall we? The cover art for the original Metal Gear was taken directly from a screencap of Michael Biehn’s character of Kyle Reese in The Terminator. And I mentioned this in my post about some of the most iconic video game cover art.
Secondly, The twist about Raiden not being a Solid Snake was based on the plot twist that Schwarzenegger’s Terminator. The terminator is not the bad guy in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. And yes, In-Ground Zeroes, Raiden (by this point a Cyborg Ninja) goes back in time again. However, this time to aid Big Boss and the Militaires Sans Frontières in taking out several Body-Snatchers that are threatening Cuba. It mirrors how the future installments of Terminator had the titular cyborg traveling back in time. To defend the main protagonist(s) (John Connor mainly) from another Terminator sent to kill him. Cool right?
Another inspiration for Kojima to end this post. But this time it’s a TV inspiration. And yes, According to Hideo Kojima, the first Castlevania was a smash hit in his formative years. And also the series is one of the reasons he decided to become a game developer and develop his own hit game. He loves the Castelvania series so much so, that he even has an advisory role in the making of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. That’s in addition to providing the voice of the Chupacabras for the Japanese version of the game.
But What’s Your Game Series From The Metal Gear Series?
Mine is Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. But I can’t wait to know yours. Feel free to let me know your MGS game and of course your favorite cinematic influence on the entire series.