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Metal Gear is a series of action-adventure video games developed and distributed by Konami and designed by Hideo Kojima. Metal Gear, the first game, was launched in 1987 for MSX computers. The player frequently assumes the role of a special forces officer (typically Solid Snake or Big Boss) tasked with locating the titular superweapon “Metal Gear,” a bipedal walking tank capable of launching nuclear warheads.
For numerous systems, several sequels have been developed that have expanded the original game’s storyline by introducing characters that oppose and assist Snake, as well as a few prequels that explore the origins of Metal Gear and recurrent characters. Metal Gear Solid for the PlayStation, the third game in the series, signaled the start of a new line of 3D Metal Gear games. Over 56.9 million copies of the franchise’s games have been sold globally as of December 2020, with separate versions gaining critical and commercial acclaim and several accolades.
The series is credited with popularizing “cinematic video games” and “stealth video games.” Stealth mechanisms, cinematic cutscenes, rich plots, odd and fourth-wall humour, and exploration of cyberpunk, dystopian, political, and philosophical topics, with allusions to Hollywood films thrown in for good measure, are all features of the series. Comic books, novels, and drama CDs have all been released as part of the franchise. Other games in which Solid Snake has appeared include the Super Smash Bros. series, Ape Escape 3, and LittleBigPlanet 2.
Metal Gear was created by Hideo Kojima and released in 1987 in Japan and Europe for the MSX2 computer platform. A different team developed a highly modified Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) adaptation of the game, which was published in Japan on December 22, 1987, North America in June 1988, and Europe and Australia in 1989. Snake’s Revenge, a NES sequel made by Konami but without Kojima, was published in North America and Europe in 1990. One of the game’s creators met Kojima and approached him about making a “true Metal Gear sequel.” As a result, Kojima began work on Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, which was published in Japan for the MSX2 in 1990.
Following the conclusion of Metal Gear 2, Kojima worked on various projects before directing Metal Gear Solid, his third Metal Gear game for the PlayStation. It was first announced in 1994 and debuted at the Tokyo Game Show in 1996 before being published in 1998. Metal Gear Solid’s success spawned a slew of sequels, prequels, spin-offs, ports, and remakes for Microsoft Windows, the Game Boy Color, the PlayStation 2, the Xbox, the GameCube, the PlayStation 3, the PlayStation Portable, the PlayStation Vita, the Xbox 360, the Nintendo 3DS, the PlayStation 4, and the Xbox One. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, published in November 2001 for the PlayStation 2, was the sequel to Metal Gear Solid. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, a remake of the original Metal Gear Solid, was released on the Nintendo GameCube in early 2004. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the third numbered installment, was published for the PlayStation 2 later that year. This is the first prequel, which takes place before all of the other Metal Gear games and serves as the franchise’s genesis story. These titles were followed by Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, a successor to Snake Eater, which was published in 2006 for the PlayStation Portable. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots on the PlayStation 3 wrapped up the primary plot of the series in 2008. Metal Gear Online was a multiplayer spin-off of the game.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, a sequel to Snake Eater, was published in April 2010 for the PlayStation Portable and was set immediately after the events of Portable Ops. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, a spinoff game, was released in 2013 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and in January 2014 for Steam (PC). The game takes place after Guns of the Patriots and stars Raiden, a cyborg ninja who was the protagonist of Sons of Liberty.