Obviously – and this probably goes without saying here – spoilers. Still in? OK then. We shall proceed.
First, a pop quiz. The Metal Gear Solid plot is:
D. Absolutely sodding insane.
You could have picked any of the above and gotten partial credit, but the real answer is secret hidden option E: ‘All of the above and then some more for good measure’.
If you’re approaching Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain as a virgin to the series, you’re going to have your work cut out for you. That being said, even if you are a series veteran, the Metal Gear Solid plot is still liable to confuse the crap out of you.
The Metal Gear Solid plot is filled with clones – both imperfect and perfect, which is an important distinction – and a lot of blokes named Snake; quite a few called Boss; several organisations (and a few people) with names that are permutations of the word ‘FOX’; and more Metal Gears* than you can shake a stick at.
People change their names. A lot. They pretend to be other people. They change their allegiances. They’re in sometimes three or four (apparently opposed) organisations at once. People are double-agents, triple-agents… it’s a bit like if the writers of EastEnders and M. Knight Shyamalan got their hands on a load of classified CIA files, but decided they weren’t interesting enough and decided to jumble them up for fun.
Oh, and did we mention that practically none of the Metal Gear Solid plot happens sequentially? At all?
We’ve got a headache just thinking about it. Luckily, game developer and avid Metal Gear fan Alex Camilleri (of Kalopsia Games) has taken a little bit of time to put together a complete** Metal Gear Solid plot timeline to try and demystify everything.
Does it work? Sort of. It’s still confusing as all hell, but at least someone has taken the time to lay the monstrous Metal Gear Solid plot out in front of you in one long sequence, so that you can at least take solace in the fact it genuinely is totally befuddling (and it’s not just you being dense).
*People really need to stop building those stupid giant nuclear robots. It strikes us that there’d be a lot less occurrences of a bloke named Snake having to go and sort them out when they go rogue/get captured/have their AI re-written if they stopped building them to begin with.
**At the time of writing, the Metal Gear Solid plot timeline includes events of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes – the prequel to The Phantom Pain – but not the main event. Watch this space for more details.