Metal Gear Series/Comparisons to Reality

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The Metal Gear series of videogames presents plots rooted in reality, often with fictionalized characters and events. An examination of the series' connections to the real world is given below.

1960s[edit]

At the point of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, set in 1964, many real events and persons from the era such as the early stages of the Vietnam War, President John F. Kennedy's Assassination, American President Lyndon B. Johnson, Russian President Nikita Khrushchev, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion. All of these events are mentioned and have significance to the plot, although they are coupled with fiction and conspiracy theories. Another real event was the infiltration of Tselinoyarsk by a United States CIA agent in order to rescue a Soviet rocket scientist who was defecting. At the same time, another US agent defected to the Soviet Union. In the game, these events are fictionalized with these roles filled by Naked Snake and The Boss suggesting that, apart from the in game events, the timeline was almost entirely parallel to reality at this point.

1970s[edit]

Set six years after the Virtuous Mission of Snake Eater, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops for the PlayStation Portable chronicles Big Boss's departure from the FOX unit and the founding of FOXHOUND. Little additional information has been released about the game's plot, however it has been cofirmed by Hideo Kojima to follow the expected style of the Metal Gear series.

1990s[edit]

In the original two games in the series, Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, set in 1995 and 1999 respectively, the fictional countries of Outer Heaven and Zanzibar Land are key figures in the plot, but no reference is made to world leaders. Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake however, branches dramatically from reality with a number of fictional political events including Zanzibar Land's dramatic rise to power, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia remaining intact, and a major world oil crisis. The inclusion of these ideas is attributed to the fact that the game was created in 1990. Metal Gear Solid, set in 2005, makes references to real events of the 1980's and 1990's such as the Gulf War, and Chernobyl incident, but no reference to world leaders of that era. This suggests that, up until the early 1990's, the series' history still followed a path generally the same as that of the real world. Though even recent translations Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake keep the same background, the more historically-disparate elements of the game are generally glossed over in Solid series- Metal Gear Solid's Previous Operations file, for instance, refers to Russia and the CIS rather than the Soviet Union, and indicates that Zanzibar Land became a nuclear superpower rather than the only nuclear superpower.

2000s[edit]

In the 21st century, the series branches even further from reality. In Metal Gear Solid, set in 2005, a fictional United States Secretary of State is named and later ousted from power as part of the game’s plot. In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, set in the years 2007 and 2009, the differences from reality are further explored. Two fictional US Presidents are named, the first being George Sears (a.k.a. Solidus Snake), who had been President at the time of the events in Metal Gear Solid and resigned thereafter. His successor, James Johnson, is the second of these imaginary leaders. This implies that, in the Metal Gear timeline, US elections followed the same course as reality until some point around 2001 to 2004 when fictionalized candidates began winning elections.

2010s[edit]

The next Metal Gear game and finale to the Metal Gear Solid series, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, has been reported to take place six years after Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, in the year 2015.