For years, some have hailed Metal Gear Solid as one of the most "unfilmable" video games in existence. The franchise maintains one of the densest mythologies in the history of the medium, and its story has become one of the most complex fictional landscapes ever conceived. Plenty of directors have expressed a desire to make such a film finally come to life, but it has taken years to see anything even resembling progress for this long-dormant project.
However, Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts seems hell-bent on making the Metal Gear Solid movie into a reality. The filmmaker recently spoke out to Den of Geek about how he intends to get the Metal Gear movie made, and we have a few ideas of our own for how he can pull it off. Take a look at our list of steps below, and let us know what you think of a possible Metal Gear Solid movie in the comments below!
Match The Scale Of The Games
Despite its status as one of the stealth genre's most well-known and beloved franchises, the Metal Gear Solid series has produced games with some of the largest scope ever seen in the medium. The premise of the story is simple: Solid Snake sneaks into an enemy compound (often completely unarmed) and faces off against an entire army of soldiers in order to defeat a nuclear-equipped walking tank. This is not a story that can be told on a small scale, and almost every Metal Gear game ever made has embraced the idea that the world could face a nuclear holocaust of Snake fails in his mission. The Metal Gear movie needs to feel big, and the stakes of every mission need to be made abundantly clear.
Cast The Characters Perfectly
From top to bottom, the entire Metal Gear Solid franchise arguably has one of the most airtight and memorable casts of characters (yes, even Raiden) ever created for the video game medium. Solid Snake is one of the most enduring game protagonists ever created, and finding an actor to portray him is a monumental task -- particularly when we consider how fundamental David Hayter's voice is in the creation of the character. The casting of a Metal Gear Solid movie cannot take a backseat to other aspects of development and pre-production. To adequately ensure that a Metal Gear film can embody the spirit of the games, they need to make sure they take the appropriate time to find the right actors for these iconic roles.
Don't Be Afraid To Be Meta
Although we don't want to see it dive into a Deadpool level of self-awareness, the Metal Gear Solid movie cannot show any fear with regards to breaking the fourth wall and winking at the fans. The reason for this is fairly straightforward: the games already do it. Some of the best moments from the Metal Gear series (from the Psycho Mantis fight to hiding a vital Codec on the game's case) actively knowledge that they take place in a video game, which means correctly capturing the essence of this franchise will require the Metal Gear movie to similarly play with meta-storytelling techniques. Metal Gear is in many ways a parody of action movie tropes; it's time to embrace that wholeheartedly.
Stick To The Story Of The Games
There's a case to be made that Metal Gear Solid tells one of the most complex and thought-provoking video game stories of the last two decades. The entire series arc is damn-near perfect, and this seems to represent one of the few moments in which it is actually better for a video game movie adaptation to stick relatively close to the story established by the source material. We want Colonel Roy Campbell to bring a retired Solid Snake back to the field; we want Snake to face off against the FOXHOUND Unit on Shadow Moses Island, and we want to see Snake deal with the fallout of Naomi Hunter injecting him with the FOXDIE virus.
Explore The Themes Of Metal Gear
Sure, the Metal Gear Solid franchise is known for its innovative "tactical espionage action," but the movies shouldn't focus on that for cheap thrills. There's a sense of philosophy at play in every single Metal Gear Solid game, and the film adaptation should focus on the underlying themes of the franchise that makes it so interesting. From the concept of blind patriotism to the duty of soldiers and the role of technology in the ever-evolving landscape of modern warfare, the themes established as far back as the late 1980s remain as powerful and thought-provoking as ever. We want to watch Snake kick ass in this movie, but we also want to spend time watching the film dissect its thematically rich characters.
Condense The Mythology To Fit One Movie...
Building off of the earlier point about telling the same story depicted in the games, we also need to note that a proper Metal Gear Solid story will have to condense certain aspects of the Metal Gear mythology to fit into one movie. Although they are vital to the original game' story, subplots like the Les Enfants Terrible project, or Naomi Hunter's relationship to Grey Fox could wait for future movies. We've seen what happens when franchises try to weave too many narrative threads at once, a live-action Metal Gear Solid movie would be better off simply trying to tell one cohesive and self-contained story for the first film than trying to plant too many seeds for the future.
...But Leave Room To Expand
Even if a self-contained Metal Gear Solid movie doesn't mine every idea that Hideo Kojima's video game series explored within a single outing, that does not mean that Jordan Vogt-Roberts cannot plant seeds for a future movie to expand. The mythology of Metal Gear Solid is a sprawling web that dates from the near future all the way back to the birth of Ocelot on the beaches of Normandy in WWII. The Metal Gear movie should focus on the essential story beats of Solid Snake infiltrating Shadow Moses Island (or Outer Heaven, depending on where they begin the chronology), but the film should leave room for further exploration of Big Boss, The Boss, Kaz, Eva, and everyone else in a future story.
Don't Forget The Music
The Metal Gear Solid theme (particularly Harry Gregson-Williams' Metal Gear theme) is easily one of the most instantly recognizable tunes in the world of video games. It's right up there with Mario and The Legend of Zelda concerning how utterly iconic it has become in the years since it first rose to prominence. A Metal Gear Solid movie cannot forget that. When recreating the boss battles, we need music that invokes the "Duel" track, and specific characters need to be accompanied by the specific theme that announces their presence in the games. The Metal Gear music is just as much of heroes like Solid Snake or Big Boss, and the film adaptation of their adventures need to reflect that importance.