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Myth: “Solid” in Metal Gear Solid refers to Solid Snake

Is this more accurate?

Fact: Sort of, but there is much more to it than that.

By Ravi Singh Posted on June 23, 2011

This myth often times gets brought up but then is quickly buried usually due to a general feeling that can be summarized with “who gives a shit?” only to be dug up later. Since Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, some fans will question why the word “Solid” is in the title of a game that does not have Solid Snake in it. This is usually due to a misconception that “Solid” in “Metal Gear Solid” refers to Solid Snake.

Well okay, actually, this is partially right.

“And the word Solid in Metal Gear Solid has three meanings. First of all, Solid Snake is a character name.”
- Hideo Kojima, 1999 interview with Steven Kent for Gamers Today.

However, the first Metal Gear title to be named Metal Gear Solid was not anything special from the previous installments simply due to Solid Snake’s presence–he was the main character in the first two Metal Gear titles. The main difference though, is the fact that Metal Gear Solid was the third game in the series (it was in fact developed as Metal Gear 3 for a while) and a three dimensional game.

“This time Metal Gear is displayed in full polygonal form, and I used “Solid” to describe the cubic structure. also, the “Solid” means to the third power mathematically”
- Hideo Kojima, Metal Gear Solid: Official Mission Handbook.

Speaking of three-dimensions, it was also a sort of jab at Final Fantasy series developer and publisher Square, now known as Square-Enix.

“[...] you know, the company that does Final Fantasy. A square is a two- dimension thing. And I guess the president of Konami wanted this game to surpass Square. They wanted to make it a cube, you know, like solid 3D. So it’s got that meaning. too.”
- Hideo Kojima, 1999 interview with Steven Kent for Gamers Today.

Upon the success of Metal Gear Solid, future installments in the main series have essentially been “Metal Gear Solid” games. The criteria for the ‘Solid name however seems to no longer apply.


Reference to Solid Snake:

Should not apply to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and Metal Gear Solid: Rising.

Should apply to Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Metal Gear: Ghost Babel (Japanese version) and the Metal Gear Acid series.

Three dimensional game:

Should not apply to Metal Gear: Ghost Babel (which was released as Metal Gear Solid in the west) and Metal Gear Solid: Touch.

Should apply to the Metal Gear Acid series, the Metal Gear Online series, and Metal Gear Arcade.

Third game in the series:

Should not apply to every fucking “Metal Gear Solid” title after Metal Gear Solid.

Jab at Square:

I highly doubt Konami gives a shit anymore, with the Metal Gear series giving them huge profits.

Metal Gear: Ghost Babel was released as Metal Gear Solid in the west, probably for marketing reasons.

So why are they calling it Metal Gear Solid: Rising and not “Metal Gear Rising”? I admit, “Metal Gear Rising” has a much better flow to it, but there is a reason why they are calling it Metal Gear Solid: Rising–marketing. Since the 1998 classic, many people have been referring to the series as the Metal Gear Solid series as opposed to the Metal Gear series. Ironically, the marketing reason behind the renaming of Metal Gear 3 to Metal Gear Solid was to make it separate from the already established series; unlike Metal Gear Solid, the original titles for MSX, Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, were never worldwide hits.

“Also, most of the people don’t know that there is a Metal Gear 1 and 2 for the MSX, and I wanted it to be the sequel for those.”
- Hideo Kojima, Metal Gear Solid: Official Mission Handbook

So in short, yes, ‘Solid was a reference to Solid Snake, though it was mostly a reference to the number “three” and the third dimension. It has now however become an essential part of the Metal Gear branding. It sometimes strikes me as funny when people seem to acknowledge that the Metal GearSolid” series will celebrate it’s 25th anniversary in 2012, yet don’t realize that Metal Gear Solid was actually the third title in the entire series. How could the Metal Gear series celebrate it’s 25th anniversary in 2012 if the first game was only released in 1998 and not 1987?

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