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Media influences on the Metal Gear series

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The artistic direction of the Metal Gear series has often been influenced by other forms of media, mostly due to Hideo Kojima's love of movies, music and literature.


The 007 series is cited by Kojima as the films that influenced him the most regarding the birth of Metal Gear.[1] Secret missions on which hang the fate of the world, espionage action and solo infiltration all inspired the setting of the Metal Gear games.[1]

In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Major Zero is revealed to be a major 007 fan in a radio conversation with Para-MedicBig Boss's design in the original MSX2 version of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake was inspired by Sean Connery, who was well known for the role of James Bond.

Although not in the series itself, the Super Smash Bros. Brawl rendition of the Metal Gear song "Theme of Tara" had beats that were derived from similar musical themes from the 007 franchise.

The prosthetic hand worn by Vladimir Zadornov and Venom Snake is derived from that of Bond villain Dr. Julius No.[2]


George Orwell's book 1984 has largely influenced the storyline of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain which is set in the year 1984. The slogan "Big Boss is watching you" which can be seen on posters visible at Mother Base was derived from 1984's "Big Brother is watching you." Ocelot quotes the book when he says "Doublethink" and "two plus two equals five." Finally, the interrogation room at Mother Base is named "Room 101." Skull Face, when relaying his plans to Venom Snake during the Jeep ride, briefly paraphrases one of the sayings of the Ministry of Truth in the book, "this war is peace."

2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey is Kojima's all time favorite movie. Influences from the film can be seen throughout the Metal Gear series.

Two of the heroes in Metal Gear Solid share their names with characters from 2001. Hal Emmerich's first name is derived from the film's supercomputer antagonist, HAL 9000, an association of which the character disapproves. After Solid Snake reveals that his real name is "David" in the "Meryl Dies" ending, Snake suggests that he and Emmerich should take a trip to Jupiter, the destination of the HAL-controlled spacecraft and astronaut David Bowman in 2001.

In Metal Gear Solid 2, the tanker and the computer terminal are named "Discovery" and Monolith (mistransliterated as "Monorith"), respectively, referring to the ship and the evolution-inducing object in 2001.

Both Strangelove and Huey Emmerich mention 2001 to Big Boss in their respective briefing tapes, with it being implied that the doctors' previous discussions with one another on the film significantly improved their relationship. Huey considers naming his future child after the computer HAL.

In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Doktor says "And here I thought you were going to bring me back a monolith!", after learning that Raiden's flight wouldn't break the thermosphere.


The split screen views that are occasionally shown (such as prior to Naked Snake and Major Ocelot's duel in Bolshaya Past Crevice) in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, were cited by Kojima as being based on 24.[3]

Kiefer Sutherland, who portrays the show's protagonist Jack Bauer, voices Big Boss in the English versions of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain.

Apocalypse Now

In the MGS3 Countdown, Kojima compared the Cobra Unit's use of emotion-based codenames to Colonel Kurtz's last words of "The horror... the horror..." in the film.[4]

Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" playing while Morpho inbounds in Ground Zeroes is derived from a scene of the film.


Shortly after Gray Fox fights Solid Snake in the lab in Metal Gear Solid, Fox while undergoing painful discharges will suddenly scream "The Medicine!", referring to a scene from the anime movie Akira where Tetsuo demands for a stabilizer due to the instability of his psychokinetic powers beginning to mutate his arm.[5]

Austin Powers

Kojima had stated that one element in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was inspired by the spy satire series Austin Powers, although he did not reveal which element. However, if the player positions a naked Raiden against a raised torture bed in Metal Gear Solid 2, and presses against it, he will raise his arms and the in-game camera will zoom out to a drink can in the foreground, its straw obscuring Raiden's crotch in a similar manner to scenes in the Austin Powers films.

A bonus scene in Metal Gear Solid 3, relating to EVA removing a transmitter implanted into Naked Snake by Ocelot in Tikhigornyj: Behind Waterfall, occasionally cut to their shadows undergoing a wrestling match/dance while their actual actions differed, referencing similar scenes that occurred throughout the Austin Powers franchise, in particular The Spy Who Shagged Me and Goldmember. Similarly, both Metal Gear Solid 3 and Austin Powers during these scenes had a soft jazzy bass beat with a drum beat for the soundtrack.[6]

Criterion Collection Films

The spinning peace sign logo for loading scenes in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is based on the spinning logo for the Criterion Collection.[7]


Portions of the plot for Metal Gear 2, including Gray Fox and George Kasler's (originally George Kessler) names, Fox and Gustava Heffner's failed romance and the latter's failed defection, Solid Snake's former CIA membership, and the plan to infiltrate Zanzibar Land, were similar to the novel Crossfire by J.C. Pollock.[8]

Crying Freeman

Elements of Meryl Silverburgh's character in Policenauts, and to some extent Metal Gear Solid, were taken from the character Kitche from the manga Crying Freeman.[9]

Dark Star

The iDroid's female voice was inspired by the computer from the 1970 film Dark Star, which also served as an inspiration for the Mother computer from Alien.[10][11][12]

Django (1966 Italian film)

This film, alongside other Spaghetti Westerns, was the inspiration of the design and characterization of Revolver Ocelot.[13]

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

In Metal Gear Solid, Revolver Ocelot, while Solid Snake is locked inside the torture device, mentions riding the bomb all the way to history, alluding to a famous scene from the film where a bomber pilot after accidentally falling with the bomb when it was released, proceeded to cheer as if riding a horse cowboy style all the way to detonation.

It is one of the movies that Para-Medic mentions in Metal Gear Solid 3.

The film heavily influenced the plot of Peace Walker. The name of Dr. Strangelove is also taken from the film.

Escape from New York

Kurt Russell's character, Snake Plissken, influenced the name of the original game's protagonist, Solid Snake.[14][15] The name "Pliskin" is later used as an alias by Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid 2.

Eyes Without a Face

The Dhekelia SBA Memorial Hospital in The Phantom Pain was partly modeled after a mansion from the film (the façade of the hospital, the patterns carved inside the doors, the sink in Venom Snake's room).

Ishmael's design, Quiet's jump out of the window, and The Fury's disfigured face were also inspired by the film.

The movie "traumatized" Kojima when he first saw it and it ranks among his top ten of scariest films.[16]

Prior to the final battle between Raiden and Solidus Snake in Metal Gear Solid 2, a group of doves can be seen flying away. This is a reference to John Woo who frequently features white doves in his films before the final showdown. Woo drew the inspiration for this trademark of his from the ending scene of Eyes Without a Face.

Full Metal Jacket

The instruction manual for Metal Gear 2 contained the anonymous mercenary song "If I Die in a Combat Zone," a reference to Full Metal Jacket, which features a similar song.

The scene in which Sniper Wolf shoots Meryl in Metal Gear Solid was also influenced by the film.[14][17]

The Fly

Naked Snake's oxygen mask was inspired by the film.[18] In addition, Para-Medic tells Naked Snake that the mask reminded her of the film.

The Fugitive

Naked Snake's dive into the waterfall in order to escape the Ocelot Unit is a direct reference of the famous dam scene in the 1993 movie, The Fugitive.[19]

The Fury

Psycho Mantis' powers were inspired by another fictional psychic character from the 1978 film The Fury, for which Kojima told his motion designer to watch a scene in which a man flies.[14]


The Electromagnetic Wave Gun's properties mirror the use of the Proton Packs in the first Ghostbusters, particularly the climax where the titular main characters were forced to merge the Proton Packs' energy streams to seal Gozer's dimension away.

The Great Escape

Kojima cited The Great Escape as a large influence on the development of the original Metal Gear, in which the character attempts to run away and escape without a fight, while avoiding the sight of the enemy.[14][20] The Great Escape also acted as the in-universe inspiration for Major Zero's codename handle during the Virtuous Mission, "Major Tom."


In Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, the display on the radar when the game enters the alert phase is very similar in the design to the titular mecha's alert display in GunBuster, a 1988 anime series by GAINAX. Both use the Japanese kanji characters 危険 (kiken) meaning "danger" prominently.[21][22] The studio's name (stylized as GA-INAX) is also referenced in the Metal Gear 2 user's manual as the company responsible for manufacturing the toilets in.

The Guns of Navarone

The idea of an indomitable warrior with special skills, infiltrating a fortress and accomplishing an impossible mission to destroy a powerful new weapon, were all influences on Metal Gear.[23] The background of Captain Keith Mallory, such as his fluency in multiple languages and his being an expert rock climber, inspired that of Solid Snake.[23] Kojima was particularly impressed by the scene depicting the main characters stealthily scaling a cliff,[23] which is echoed in the openings of both Metal Gear 2[24] and Ground Zeroes.


Otacon hiding in his locker prior to the fight between Solid Snake and Gray Fox in Metal Gear Solid is based on Laurie Strode seeing the Boogeyman from a closet she was hiding in.[25]

Jason and the Argonauts

The film is commented on by Para-Medic in Metal Gear Solid 3.

Venom Snake being chased by Metal Gear Sahelanthropus in The Phantom Pain is a homage to the film.[26]

Lethal Weapon

Solid Snake's transceiver portrait in the original MSX2 version of Metal Gear 2 was modeled after Mel Gibson's character of Martin Riggs from Lethal Weapon.[27]

Lord of the Flies

The scrapped Mission 51 of The Phantom Pain and the location it was set at is called "Kingdom of the Flies." The rotten pig-head on Eli's ship, as well as the naming of Ralph, the boy whose death Eli sets up to trigger a revolt of his fellow child soldiers, are all derived from the book. His conch shell was also taken from the book. To some extent, Eli himself resembled Jack Merridew when he became chief, barring his being blonde instead of a redhead.

Lord of the Flies was written by William Golding and was published in 1954.

Mad Max 2


Mad Max with Dog (above); Venom Snake with D-Dog.

Hideo Kojima has stated that Venom Snake's constant silence in The Phantom Pain was directly inspired by the silence of the main character in Mad Max 2, which he cited was among his favorite movies of all time.

There are a couple of similarities between Venom Snake and Mad Max, they are both accompanied by a canine companion, Venom with D-Dog, Max with Dog. Finally, Snake's leather jacket bears a resemblance to Max's.

Masked Rider

Naked Snake's posture during the HALO jump was derived from the titular superhero in the 1971 Japanese live-action series Masked Rider (also known natively as Kamen Rider).


Prior to the announcement of The Phantom Pain, Kojima created a fake studio called "Moby Dick Studio" to showcase the first trailer for the game.

The burning whale created by Tretij Rebenok during the hospital escape references the titular whale, Moby-Dick.

The story of Moby-Dick is narrated by a character named Ishmael who boards a ship named Pequod, which is commanded by captain Ahab in his quest to kill the whale Moby-Dick who took Ahab's leg on a previous journey.

The Mummy

The ghostly faces made by The Fury's death throes were taken from the 1999 remake of The Mummy, where the titular antagonist Imhotep conjures a sandstorm bearing his face (and in the case of the sequel, a wave of water).[28]

North by Northwest

Alfred Hitchcock's compositional arrangement and the camera work in North by Northwest and other films inspired Kojima's directing style in Metal Gear Solid.[29] Like Hitchcock, Kojima limited the player's perspective through various camera views to create a sense of unity with the character and the tension of infiltration, made possible by switching between the first person view and the objective view (mostly a bird's-eye perspective), and the corner view camera that visualizes the distance between the player character and the enemy.[29]

Pink Panther

The style of humor for the Metal Gear franchise, which sometimes depicts sudden and unexpected moments of humor in very serious situations, was derived from the Pink Panther film franchise.


Hideo Kojima stated that he had based Raiden's trek through Arsenal Gear on Pinocchio's journey inside Monstro the Whale in the fairytale and Disney film of the same name.

Planet of the Apes

Kojima's impressions of the anti-war themes in Planet of the Apes inspired the inclusion of his own anti-war messages in the Metal Gear Solid games.[30]


Many of Peace Walker's gameplay elements were mentioned by Kojima to have been inspired by Pokémon.[31]


Jungle Evil's name in the original MSX2 version of Metal Gear 2, Predator, and to some extent George Kasler's description of Jungle Evil, alluded to the creatures from the film franchise of the same name.[32]

Colonel Volgin's actions aboard the Hind in the ending of the Virtuous Mission in Metal Gear Solid 3 were specifically requested by Kojima to be modeled after Carl Weathers' character of George Dillon from Predator.

Running Man

The Metal Gear 2 boss Running Man was based on the Arnold Schwarzenegger film of the same name.[33]


The design for Roy Campbell was inspired by Richard Crenna's portrayal of Colonel Samuel Trautman.

Hideo Kojima likened Raiden's character to that of Rambo.[34]

Solid Snake and Big Boss wearing bandanas is a reference to Rambo.

Venom Snake having to rescue Kazuhira Miller in Afghanistan is similar to the plot of Rambo III.


The drug narc from Policenauts, and by extension, the soda of the same name from Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, was derived from the drug "Nuke" from RoboCop 2.[35]

Kevin Washington's claim that Detroit was the first American city to privatize the police force and comprise it with cyborgs in Metal Gear Rising is a reference of RoboCop's premise.

Seven Samurai

Kojima cited MSF being asked for help in the beginning of Peace Walker as being reminiscent of Seven Samurai.[2]

Silent Running

Huey Emmerich's nickname was derived from the crippled service robot from the film, as a subtle insult towards him being crippled.

Star Wars

The Boss's post-mortem advice for Naked Snake to remember the basics of CQC when fighting Ocelot for the final time was taken directly from Obi-Wan's communicating with Luke in the climax of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.[36]

In Metal Gear Solid 4, Solid Snake briefly compares Liquid Ocelot's Outer Haven to the Death Star.

In Metal Gear Solid 2: Bande Dessinée, Solid Snake says, "Great shot kid, that was one in a million" to Raiden after the harrier jet is shot down. Han Solo also said this line in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

The Terminator

The cover art for the original Metal Gear was taken directly from a screencap of Michael Biehn's character of Kyle Reese in The Terminator.[27] In addition, the Bloody Brads from the same game were a direct reference to the titular characters from the same film. In the original releases of the game, the references were more explicit with their being named "Arnold," referring to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the action film actor, politician, and bodybuilder whose well known role is as the titular character.

The twist about Raiden not being Solid Snake was based on the plot twist that Schwarzenegger's Terminator was not the bad guy in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

In the Secret Theater film, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eraser, Raiden attempts to travel to the past to kill Naked Snake (and later his son, Solid Snake) so he could become the main character of the series, mirroring the main plotline of The Terminator franchise, which dealt with the titular character trying to kill the main protagonist in order to prevent the birth of a future opponent. At one point in the film, Raiden briefly spies Naked escaping the Groznyj Grad prison with a red heads-up display, mirroring that of the Terminator.

In Ground Zeroes, Raiden (by this point a Cyborg Ninja) goes back in time again, this time to aid Big Boss and the Militaires Sans Frontières in taking out several Body-Snatchers that are threatening Cuba and by extension the entire world, mirroring how future installments of Terminator had the titular cyborg traveling back in time to defend the main protagonist(s) (John Connor mainly) from another Terminator sent to kill him.

In the Make it Right viral marketing and to a lesser extent Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance itself, Raiden and other cyborgs' point of view prominently displays data and graphs, mirroring the titular character's frequent usage of the HUD throughout the franchise.


The characters of Raiden (real name Jack) and Rosemary were derived from the protagonistic love couple from the film.[37]

The sinking tanker in Metal Gear Solid 2 is also a reference of Titanic.[37]


Liquid's line about having all the "flawed, recessive genes", and to some extent the entire premise of the Les Enfants Terribles project, was a reference to the comedy film Twins starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito, playing the roles of Julius and Vincent Benedict, the perfect and flawed twin, respectively.[38]


Master Miller's redesign in Peace Walker was derived from the airline pilot in the film, according to Hideo Kojima.[39]

The X-Files

Hideo Kojima described the "evil" in Metal Gear Solid 2 as being on the same level as that in the sci-fi TV show The X-Files: the Patriots are an intangible entity yet at the same time a massive menace to the world.[40]

The aliases "Deepthroat" and "Mr. X," used by Olga Gurlukovich's Cyborg Ninja, are also those of two characters in The X-Files, who act as informants for FBI agents Mulder and Scully.[41]

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b Hideo Kojima, "Hideo Kojima at the Movies: 007", Official PlayStation 2 Magazine (13.05.2003).
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
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  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b c d "Hideo Kojima: Game Guru, Movie Maniac," by Steven Kent, Gamers Today (1999).
  15. ^
  16. ^]
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Hideo Kojima, "Hideo Kojima at the Movies: The Guns of Navarone", Official PlayStation 2 Magazine (04.10.2002).
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ a b c Hideo Kojima, "Hideo Kojima at the Movies: The Guns of Navarone", Official PlayStation 2 Magazine (18.11.2002).
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ a b
  28. ^
  29. ^ a b Hideo Kojima, "Hideo Kojima at the Movies: Hitchcock Films", Official PlayStation 2 Magazine (08.01.2003).
  30. ^ Hideo Kojima, "Hideo Kojima at the Movies: Planet of the Apes", Official PlayStation 2 Magazine (20.02.2003).
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ a b Metal Gear Solid 2: Making of
  38. ^
  39. ^
    "I ordered my staff Kazuhira Miller to make a look like the captain starred in "West World" directed by Michael Crichton but no one in our studio knew it."
  40. ^ Metal Gear Solid 2 Grand Game Plan, Hideo Kojima (Konami Japan, 1999).
  41. ^

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