Get ready to feel old, gamers. The iconic Metal Gear franchise turned 30 years old this month (on July 7th, to be specific), and the iconic Hideo Kojima franchise that has spanned 31 games, and multiple platforms still holds the attention of so many fans to this day. Thirty years is an impressive run for any franchise, but we’re sure that we know why Metal Gear has remained steadfast in the minds and hearts of fans.
Kojima’s very first game, Metal Gear, hit the MSX2 computer three decades ago, and eventually made its way to the NES and PC. It was the first time players assumed the mantle of Solid Snake, who was then a fresh-faced FOXHOUND recruit. Tasked with infiltrating Outer Heaven – a heavily-fortified state in South Africa – Snake had to search the area for a giant mech-like tank (Metal Gear), which was capable of launching a nuclear strike anywhere on the planet.
Various things have really stood out in the minds of gamers about the Metal Gear franchise. Its use of stealth and thematic elements have always been mainstays of the franchise, and still remain fan favorites. The stealth aspect actually opened doors for other franchises (Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, for example), and the fun of sneaking up on enemies in the games’ various environments even had its fifteen minutes of YouTube fame.
The franchise has also retained a topical & often blatant way of getting a geopolitical and anti-war message across. From seeing Solid Snake fight against splinter factions, to infiltrating terrorist cells, Metal Gear has managed to tackle the geopolitical issues of the day for three decades, without the franchise feeling stale at any point. It’s this sort of ingenuity in storytelling that has allowed the games to develop and grow one of the most impressive fan bases in gaming’s long history.
With the 31 games & expansions in its legacy, the Metal Gear franchise has become a stand-out because of its occasionally odd storyline and exploration of various themes, as well as some of the most amazing cinematics in gaming. Hideo Kojima’s genius directorial style and hands-on approach to the series have only added to these factors.
The genius of the games aside, no franchise would be anything without its fans, and Metal Gear is no different. Twitter exploded this week with various tributes to the long-running series, seeing many fans share funny and touching images, gifs, and screen captures using the #MGS30th hashtag. Some of those same fans are very talented cosplayers, and the Metal Gear franchise is rife with opportunities to create & emulate some amazing looks. In 2015, in fact, Kotaku.com put together a gallery of some of the most incredible Metal Gear cosplays that we’ve ever seen. Some of these are so high quality, you’d swear you were looking at the makings of a MGS movie.
Over these past three decades, the Metal Gear franchise has brought gamers a lot of joy and inspiration, and has made Hideo Kojima a near household name. Gamers continue to play all of the games, cosplayers continue to elevate the characters’ looks to new heights, and the games remain some of the grandest experiences of any video game out there.
Hideo Kojima, we congratulate you on 30 years of Metal Gear, and we salute you.