Metal Gear Solid: What To Know About The Video Game Before The Oscar Isaac Movie

Old Solid Snake

Snake? Snaaaaaake! It’s kind of crazy that it’s taken this long for a Metal Gear Solid Movie to finally get some traction, but with Oscar Isaac now up to play the lead character, there’s finally some good news for fans of the long-running video game series.

But here’s something that you should know if you’ve never played any of the games before: the storylines are batcrap crazy. This is mostly because of series creator, Hideo Kojima, whose most recent game, Death Stranding, features Norman Reedus as a delivery man in post-Apocalyptic America who also has to occasionally rock a baby in a yellow canister to stop it from crying. I’m not even joking. So, needless to say, you might need a crash course on Metal Gear Solid if you don’t know anything about the series. This breakdown will be like my Uncharted article, so if you’re interested in that movie, too, then you might want to check out that article as well.

Old Solid Snake

What To Know About Oscar Isaac’s Character, Solid Snake

This entry is going to be a little tricky since all we know is that Oscar Isaac will be playing Solid Snake. That said, we’re not really sure what story this movie is actually going to be telling. The reason I say that is because Solid Snake is actually a clone. We learn in the PS1 game, Metal Gear Solid, that Solid Snake is the “son” (as in clone) of Big Boss. This aforementioned Big Boss is actually known under the codename Naked Snake. So, will Oscar Isaac be playing the Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid, or, will he be the original Snake, aka, Big Boss, aka, Naked Snake, from the game, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater?

Or, will this movie be an adaptation of the original Metal Gear on the NES, which canonically takes place AFTER Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which is the most recent game in the series? In the original Metal Gear, which came out in 1987, Big Boss is Solid Snake’s commanding officer. Kong: Skull Island director, Jordan Vogt-Roberts, had this to say in a 2017 interview with Eurogamer:

It's not a direct adaptation of any particular game. It'd sound too much like a modern statement to call it a remix, because that's not what it is, but it's trying to fuse a couple of different storylines together, and it's all tied together with a device I can't really talk about right now but that I'm really excited about. I think it's going to make a movie where people go, 'Whoa, I've not seen that before,' and that's very cool. And I think it's very Kojima in its approach.

So, with that out the way, long story short, Solid Snake, as seen in the Playstation 1 game, Metal Gear Solid, is basically a special operations solider who is an expert at stealth. Sorry for the long and winding explanation, but Solid Snake is actually multiple characters, depending on how you look at it.

Gray Fox

The Side Characters In Metal Gear Solid

Unfortunately, the side characters are often just as complicated as Snake himself! But let’s focus on FOXHOUND, which I’m almost certain will make an appearance in the movie. FOXHOUND is a black ops unit within the U.S. Army formed by Big Boss. The purpose of FOXHOUND is to handle the missions that the U.S. military can’t let their presence be known in. Think of it as a sort of a more self-contained version of S.H.I.E.L.D., but one that handles military functions.

While Big Boss was the head of FOXHOUND in the '90s, Liquid Snake, who is technically Snake’s “brother” (he’s another clone) headed FOXHOUND in the 2000s. Within FOXHOUND, you also have fan-favorite characters like Revolver Ocelot, who’s an interrogator but also a gunslinger. Ocelot, of course, is not to be confused with Sniper Wolf (all the best snipers are women, by the way), who is even better behind a gun. You also have a cyborg ninja named Gray Fox, who is kind of like Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe. And then, you have characters outside of FOXHOUND, like Dr. Hal “Otacon” Emmerich, who is a chief engineer of the Metal Gear Rex.

And you also have the mercenary, Raiden, who is probably one of the most famous characters in the entire series because of the bait-and-switch Kojima did for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. You see, gamers were led to believe that they would be playing as Solid Snake in MGS2, but that was only for about the first 20 minutes or so. Then, gamers had to play as Raiden for almost the rest of the game. Needless to say, the series has a lot of side characters, and any of them could be in the movie. Or none of them. Who knows?

Solid Snake on the left, Liquid Ocelot on the right

Some Things To Know About The Metal Gear Solid Games

There are 10 canonical games in the series. The primary focus in most of them is stealth, weaponry, and hand-to-hand combat. The first game, timeline-wise, is Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, which takes place during the ‘60s and stars Big Boss just starting out. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, which takes place in the ‘70s, is when Big Boss really expands his power. And Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which came out in 2015, but takes place in 1984 is… well, just really weird, and I don’t think I could explain it in a single article, even if I wanted to.

Metal Gear, the first game in the series, which came out in 1987, but takes place in 1995, is the first appearance of Solid Snake. And the last game, canonically in the series, is Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, which came out in 2008 but takes place in 2014. This is the last appearance of Snake, who is actually called OLD Snake in the game. The games are known for their cutscenes and out-there narratives, and I’m interested to see what direction the movie takes, since the stories can get a bit convoluted at times. And that’s putting it nicely.

The Boss

The Villains In Metal Gear Solid

And then you have the villains. You might be wondering, what IS a Metal Gear anyway? Well, it’s pretty much a walking tank, and you’ll find them in every game in the series in some shape, form or fashion. You also have actual human villains, like Liquid Snake, who is Snake’s “brother” as he is also a clone of Big Boss. You also have another clone in Solidus Snake, who is considered a “perfect” clone of Big Boss. And then, you have Big Boss himself who is both a hero and a villain in the series.

But if the movie really wants to kick ass, then it will make The Boss (not Big Boss. Just The Boss), the main antagonist of the movie. Seen in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, The Boss is the greatest soldier who ever lived. She fought in World War II and basically created Close Quarters Combat (CQC). Everything in the series pretty much begins and ends with her, so it would be really cool if she found her way into the movie somehow.

Personally, I think Metal Gear Solid would be better as a Netflix TV series. But since we’re getting a movie instead, I hope it’s a good one. But what are your thoughts? Are you a fan of MGS? Sound off in the comments section below what characters you would like to see in the feature film.

Rich Knight
Content Producer

Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.