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Metal Gear (weapon)

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Three bipedal Metal Gear designs: TX-55 Metal Gear, Metal Gear D, and Metal Gear REX.

Metal Gear is the designation to various models of bipedal tanks. Metal Gear are behemoth machines capable of decimating lesser machines. Metal Gear have the distinction of being nuclear capable, firing warheads from their rail gun, eliminating the need for a missile, or launchpad allowing them to attack targets from anywhere in the world, on any kind of terrain. This peaked with Metal Gear REX which was sophisticated enough to launch a nuke from anywhere on earth and hit a target anywhere in the world, REX also had the distinction of being completely untraceable.


The general definition of a Metal Gear prior to the collapse of the war economy is a mobile nuclear launch platform similar in purpose to ballistic missile submarines. However, its precise definition is debatable, as many other weapons have been designed to fill a similar role, or have used the same technology. The individual units have varied greatly in appearance and size, but their purpose has always been the same—to destabilize the global balance of power via the threat of covert long-range nuclear attack.

The term "Metal Gear" was coined by Soviet weapons scientist Aleksandr Leonovitch Granin to describe to Naked Snake in 1964 the "missing link" between infantry and artillery: infantry could roam the battlefield at will, but were both vulnerable and lacking in firepower; artillery could inflict immense damage upon an opponent while resisting similar damage, but was at the mercy of the terrain. Granin envisioned a tank with legs, enabling it to quickly traverse the battlefield, dealing and repelling force on a scale never before seen.

Following an encounter with a Gekko in 2014, Otacon explained to Old Snake that what makes a "Metal Gear" is specifically its nuclear launch capability.[1] Taking in Granin's original coinage of the term, it can be therefore assumed that a Metal Gear can be defined as a bipedal nuclear weapon. Not only does this negate the Gekkos and the Mk. II/Mk. III from being true Metal Gears, but it also discounts Metal Gear RAY. Otacon notes that RAY was an exception to the definition, as it was overall created under the premise of nuclear strategy (it targeting nuclear warhead-equipped Metal Gears).

After the end of the war economy era, the classification was redefined to simply mean any mech that exceeded the size of unmanned gear walkers such as Gekko. Furthermore, possessing nuclear weaponry was no longer required to being labelled as such due to the concept of deterrence being outdated by the rise in cyborg technology.


The Metal Gear concept was first conceived by the Soviet Russian weapons researcher Aleksandr Leonovitch Granin as a way to connect infantry with artillery, making it invulnerable to firepower shortages and terrain. However, his concept was looked down upon and turned down by the Khrushchev regime, and the Volgin faction of GRU later turned him down after his attempt at making it for them failed to produce results sufficient enough for them to use effectively. He also supplied information about Metal Gear to his American colleague, Huey Emmerich, who then used his concept for his own. Shortly before his death, Granin planned to send Emmerich all his research. However, it was intercepted by the Philosophers' triple agent Ocelot, and instead sent to the CIA Director as a future weapon for America.

In 1970, the American government hired Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov to help develop an ICBM based version of the Metal Gear concept, in addition to a prototype version. These weapons were later stolen by the FOX unit, under CIA orders, and brought to the San Hieronymo Peninsula. The prototype, Metal Gear RAXA, was later destroyed by Naked Snake and his resistance (although due to misinformation, they were initially led to believe that it was the actual model). The ICBM-based model, the ICBMG, was later used in an attempt to make a nuclear strike against America by Gene (acting against Pentagon orders to use it against Russia), but was ultimately destroyed by Naked Snake and his resistance movement. A CIA member who was a contact of the former CIA Director, Hot Coldman, also managed to procure the Metal Gear documents and send them to his employer during the confusion of the current CIA Director's death by Ocelot's hand, which was summarily covered up as a suicide.

Coldman, with the documents he received, then recruited Huey Emmerich to design the various AI weapons, as well as the frame and weapons system for Peace Walker, while leading him to believe that it would not be fired even once. It was then used in various tests in Central America, until Huey defected upon learning that Coldman planned to launch a live nuke from Peace Walker. The various AI weapons were later destroyed by Big Boss's Militaires Sans Frontières, and Peace Walker eventually ended up sacrificing itself to stop the transmission of false data to NORAD. Later, Huey and Strangelove were commissioned by the MSF to help build their own Metal Gear, codenamed ZEKE. However, it was hijacked by a spy for Cipher, who was behind most of the Peace Walker Incident, and ended up heavily damaged. The United States in the meantime abandoned the idea of Metal Gear being a true revolutionary weapon for the time being.

However, the concept was not completely abandoned, and by 1984 small non-nuclear armed units called Walker Gear were seen in the use of Diamond Dogs, and the Soviet Union produced the Metal Gear ST-84, which was later stolen by Eli and acquired by Diamond Dogs.

Eventually during the 1990s, the mercenary nation of Outer Heaven developed the TX-55 Metal Gear with forced help from robotics expert Dr. Drago Pettrovich Madnar. It was later destroyed by Solid Snake during Operation Intrude N313, although Madnar, despite earlier being against its creation, later praised it as his life's work. Afterwards, Madnar also attempted to create a Metal Gear for America, but the American government did not agree to it, and was later ostracized and shunned by the scientific community for it. Because of this, Madnar willingly cooperated with Zanzibar Land in creating the revised Metal Gear D and the intended mass production of both Metal Gear D and Metal Gear G. Metal Gear D was later used to raid various nuclear storage sites around the world, until it was destroyed by Solid Snake in Operation Intrude F014. In addition, in May 1996, due to the suicide of Admiral Boorda, a new Metal Gear model proposed by ArmsTech was allowed into the Pentagon's Black Budget.

Meanwhile, Metal Gear REX ended up becoming a black project co-developed by DARPA and ArmsTech to combat a global trend in military downsizing. In 2005, during a field exercise of REX's capabilities, Metal Gear REX was hijacked by a terrorist group called the Sons of Big Boss on the Shadow Moses Island nuclear disposal facility. It was later destroyed by Solid Snake, although not before the latter had unwittingly activated it due to misinformation.

Despite its destruction, various derivatives were created due to Revolver Ocelot leaking the REX data to unstable regions of the world, leading to the creation of the anti-Metal Gear NGO Philanthropy. In addition, due to this as well as partially the revelation of the Army's involvement in REX, Metal Gear RAY also developed by the Marines as an anti-Metal Gear, and a cyber-warfare based Metal Gear named Arsenal Gear was developed by the Navy, leading to a rivalry between the two that was later exploited by the Patriots to create an incident to steal Metal Gear RAY for Arsenal Gear for their S3 Plan, as well as framing Philanthropy.

As the war economy defined the world by 2014, Philanthropy developed Metal Gear Mk. II. The Mk. II is a remote mobile terminal designed for stealth scouting and communication. Regular Metal Gears still saw use, but were largely eclipsed by pseudo-Metal Gear walkers called Gekko.

By 2018, a new subclass of weapon was unleashed known as Unmanned Gears, which included a redesigned version of Metal Gear RAY. Because of advancement of biomechanical parts, artificial muscle systems such as organic polymers or cultivated muscle fibers were rendered obsolete and replaced with CNTs. Consequentially, it also resulted in the UGs allowing for even more weapons systems than before, as the replacement of the artificial muscle systems with CNTs and the more space in the frame by consequence allowed for it. They ran in direct competition with cyborgs, with the latter being generally advantageous, although UGs were becoming more advanced in rapid time.

Besides the modified RAY, another Metal Gear was also developed around this time, called EXCELSUS. AT Corp designed Excelsus in a way that a large mech could overwhelm cyborgs with sheer firepower and trample urban areas that would otherwise cause problems for the Gekko units.

Metal GearsEdit

Intercontinental Ballistic Metal GearEdit

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The Intercontinental Ballistic Metal Gear (ICBMG) was developed for the CIA by Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov in 1970. Sokolov was heavily influenced by Granin's designs when creating this Metal Gear. The idea for this version of Metal Gear was to use a large rocket to launch the actual Metal Gear unit itself into near-orbit before releasing it, allowing it to parachute back down to the target location where it would then launch its payload of nuclear weapons.

Metal Gear RAXAEdit

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Metal Gear RAXA, pronounced "rasha" (/ræʃæ/), was a prototype of the ICBMG created in 1970. Although considered to be the first Metal Gear, neither RAXA nor the ICBMG truly lived up to Granin's original vision of a bipedal walking tank.

Metal Gear ZEKEEdit

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Metal Gear ZEKE was the first fully bipedal tank. It was designed by the Militaires Sans Frontières at the Mother Base by Huey Emmerich and Strangelove in 1974. It is equipped with a railgun, a radome, and a jetpack to increase mobility. Originally an unmanned weapon, Paz Ortega Andrade hijacked and modified it as manned weapon, and planned to launch a nuke at the United States's Eastern Coast if Big Boss (Naked Snake) didn't rejoin Cipher; however, it was heavily damaged in the ensuing fight. Strangelove noted afterward that it could at least regain the ability to walk, as she had made a backup copy of the AI, but whether it would be used again was up to Big Boss.

Metal Gear ST-84 (an abbreviation for Sahelanthropus Tchadensis 84)Edit

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In the 1980s, XOF had a Metal Gear inside of a hangar that was presumably owned by them. It featured a head similar to that of Metal Gear REX, only one eye on each side as opposed to REX's three, a circular plate and legs similar to that of Metal Gear ZEKE.

TX-55 Metal GearEdit

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TX-55 Metal Gear was the first documented bipedal tank designed at Outer Heaven by the Eastern scientist Drago Pettrovich Madnar in 1995. TX-55 proved Granin's vision to be a potent weapon — a mobile nuclear launch system that made stationary missile silos obsolete. This Metal Gear was never actually deployed, as it was destroyed before its development could be completed.

Metal Gear DEdit

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Metal Gear D was a re-designed version of TX-55 (the TX-55 was a prototype for Metal Gear D[2]) and was very similar in appearance. It was also developed by Dr. Madnar within Zanzibar Land in 1999. This Metal Gear also featured additional weapons for close range combat.

Metal Gear GEdit

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Metal Gear G, or Gustav, was to be a small-scale, mass-produced version of D,[3] (without nuclear capability) designed to assist infantry in local combat areas. It was in development around 1999, but was never produced due to Zanzibar Land's collapse shortly thereafter.

Metal Gear REXEdit

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Metal Gear REX is a Metal Gear developed for the United States Army. It was developed by Dr. Hal Emmerich, in a joint venture between ArmsTech and DARPA, at the nuclear weapons disposal facility on Shadow Moses Island in 2005. It was considered to be a revolutionary weapon - unlike all previous iterations of Metal Gear, not only could REX deliver a nuclear weapon both to and from any point on the globe, it was undetectable and untraceable. All previous Metal Gears were merely mobile ground-based launch systems for nuclear missiles, little more than the land-based equivalent of ballistic missile submarines. REX utilized a railgun, which fired much smaller projectiles without chemical propellants - factors which made them virtually invisible to radar. It thus completely negated the theory of Mutually Assured Destruction - whoever controlled it could launch a nuclear attack at any target at any time without fear of reprisal. Additionally, unlike all the previous Metal Gears, REX's legs were heavily armoured rendering grenades useless.

Metal Gear RAYEdit

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Metal Gear RAY is a Metal Gear originally developed for the United States Marine Corps. But it's only a Metal Gear by Granin's initial definition - although RAY is a bipedal weapon, it lacks any form of nuclear armament. However, it was originally created under the premise of nuclear strategy. In addition, it did serve as part of a true Metal Gear's "conventional" armament - Arsenal Gear. RAY was designed and developed by the Pentagon and the Marines in 2007 as a countermeasure to the abundance of Metal Gear REX derivatives being developed due to REX's plans being leaked onto the black market after 2005. For this reason, it was, until the creation of the Gekko, the only Metal Gear designed for close-range battle.

RAY is notable for being the first attempt at Metal Gear mass-production. The Patriots (via the U.S. Navy) produced twenty-five mass-produced Metal Gear RAY units to serve as guards for Arsenal Gear in 2009. They differed from the original RAY in that they were unmanned (the original intention of the Marine Corps), had no tail and were slightly smaller.

Arsenal GearEdit

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Arsenal Gear was a Metal Gear developed for the U.S. Navy. It was considered to be an evolutionary step ahead of all previous Metal Gears, functioning as a submersible warship, instead of a bipedal tank. While capable of the same covert long-range nuclear attacks that define Metal Gears, this was merely a layer of its numerous defenses. Its true threat lay in its ability to conduct information warfare through the use of its onboard artificial intelligence (GW) in 2009.

Metal Gear Mk. II and Mk. IIIEdit

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The Metal Gear Mk. II (later superseded by the Metal Gear Mk. III) was a robotic companion with a blue exterior. The Mk. II served as a recon device but could also shock enemies (knocking them unconscious) and was equipped with Stealth camouflage in 2014. The Mk. III replaced the Mk. II, following the Mk. II's destruction. The Mk. III served exactly the same purpose and functioned exactly the same way, the only difference being its red exterior.

Although it was not actually a Metal Gear, the Mk. II was named as such by Otacon so that he "would never forget that [he] was the one who built [Metal Gear REX]."

Outer HavenEdit

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Outer Haven was a modified Arsenal Gear model that Liquid Ocelot stole from the Patriots in 2014, and hid at Shadow Moses Island. Outer Haven housed a repaired GW, which was recovered from Arsenal Gear. Outer Haven was armed with missile launchers and later equipped it with Metal Gear REX's rail gun. As well as utilizing OctoCamo, Outer Haven had a large supply of Gekko units and Haven Troopers, who patrolled its insides. Also, just like Arsenal Gear, Outer Haven had its own force of mass-produced Metal Gear RAY units, which were used to attack the USS Missouri in 2014. Outer Haven's OctoCamo clad hull also featured the faces of the four Snakes (Big Boss, Liquid Snake, Old Snake, and Solidus Snake) in a Mount Rushmore-like style during the time of Liquid Ocelot's Insurrection.

Metal Gear EXCELSUSEdit

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When SOP and the Patriots fell following Liquid Ocelot's Insurrection, PMCs acted on the development of cyborg technology as the information had been previously suppressed. The result was an abundance of cyborgs in the armies of PMCs. Due to the advantage of cyborgs capable of making decisions like other humans, the small unmanned gears such as the Gekko units were generating less favor in regards to urban combat. In response, AT Corp did a 180-degree turn and returned to develop a larger Unmanned Gear (UG) capable of overpowering cyborgs and tearing a path through urban terrain using its sheer size and power. The result was a new Metal Gear codenamed "Excelsus". The vehicle was not armed with a nuclear weapon, instead being designed for the purpose of asymmetrical warfare in light of cyborg development. Although initially designed to be a UG, the final design required a pilot. Due to the term being redefined to mean a mech that far outclasses UG-walkers in size with nuclear deterrence becoming obsolete, it was also given the name "Metal Gear" despite lacking nuclear armaments.

Metal Gear analoguesEdit


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Gekko were the second attempt at mass-producing Metal Gear models, and the most successful. Given the codename IRVING by the U.S. military, this model was designed for short-range combat, and Gekkos were rapidly replacing tanks by 2014. They were equipped with assault weaponry, a near sentient A.I. system and near impregnable armour on the body. Their powerful legs were inspired by both REX and RAY, built with artificial, self-repairing muscle tissue, making it more agile than previous Metal Gear variants and it's overall appearance resembles a smaller ZEKE.

Although not technically Metal Gears due to their lack of nuclear launching capability, the Gekko more than fulfil Granin's vision of bipedalism, indeed overcoming the limitations faced by both infantry and artillery.


At least one Metal Gear took its name from U.S. designation codes of IJA fighters during WW2, e.g. Gekko took its name from the Nakajima J1N1-S, while others are named after animal species, e.g. Metal Gear RAY from manta ray. However, the Patriot AI's conversation with Raiden, towards the conclusion of the Manhattan Incident, revealed that REX and RAY's codenames could also be derived from the Allied codenames for WWII Japanese fighter jets. More specifically, REX was the name given to the Kawanishi N1K Kyōfū, while RAY was a name given to the Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero, similar to ZEKE.

Behind the scenesEdit

According to Hideo Kojima, the idea of the "Metal Gear" weapon, a nuclear-capable walking tank, was conceived in response to the nuclear war hysteria during the mid-1980s that resulted from the Cold War, as the U.S. military had no mobile land-based nuclear weapons delivery system at the time.[4] The spread of the Metal Gear weapons derivatives in Metal Gear Solid 2 was also considered an allegory to the Metal Gear series having to compete with other stealth-based games created due to the popularity of Metal Gear Solid.[5]

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker allows the player to design a Metal Gear unit based on AI memory boards and parts retrieved from the AI Weapons, resulting in Metal Gear ZEKE.

Metal Gear, specifically REX, later appeared in Versus Battle to fight Armored Clone, aka Solidus Snake. Its imagery was derived from a Lego set developed by Ragnarock01.

Massive, Mighty, Mega
Good Luck
Created to unleash all hell, including nuclear winters
METAL GEAR SOLID 4: Guns of the Patriots
―Metal Gear on Versus Battle

Non-canon Metal GearsEdit

Metal Gear-like enemiesEdit

Several bipedal weapons with two gun turrets are seen as enemies in Snake's Revenge, where they fire weapons upon detecting Snake. They are prevalent in the penultimate stage of the game, the main enemy base.

Metal Gear 2Edit

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Metal Gear 2 is from the non-canon game Snake's Revenge.

Metal Gear GANDEREdit

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Metal Gear GANDER is from the non-canon game Metal Gear: Ghost Babel. GANDER is armed with machine guns, missiles, rail guns, a flame thrower, and nuclear missiles. In a similar vein to the potential name derivations for Metal Gear REX and Metal Gear RAY listed above, it is named after the Japanese military glider Kokusai Ku-8-II.

Metal Gear KODOQUEEdit

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Metal Gear KODOQUE, codenamed Pythagoras, is from the non-canon games Metal Gear Acid and Metal Gear Acid 2. Armed with remote control missile launchers, beam cannon, and a plasma gun on its head. When inactive it is inside a cylinder shaped object fitted at it arms. Flat looking missiles can be found here.

Metal Gear Chaioth Ha QadeshEdit

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Metal Gear Chaioth Ha Qadesh is from the non-canon game Metal Gear Acid 2. It is armed with a nuclear missile, neutron bombs, Vulcan Cannons on each of its arms, and a slot on the top for launching energy that can cause any equipped cards to be destroyed.

Eldera Metal GearEdit

An unnamed Metal Gear was developed in Eldera from the non-canon Snake Tales story "Confidential Legacy." Although it was initially believed to have been one of the Metal Gear REX derivatives resulting from Ocelot's leak of REX's data, it in actuality predated REX, having been made during the Cold War (more specifically, the 1960s) by America under a pro-American dictatorship in Eldera in a top-secret mission that Roy's brother Matt Campbell was involved in. It was on board a Marine-controlled tanker, although it was confiscated by the Gurlukovich Mercenaries, and Meryl also ended up involved in it due to Gurlukovich claiming that Matt was killed by the Marines (in actuality, Matt was murdered by Gurlukovich himself after Matt ended up AWOL). Although it was initially believed that the Gurlukovich Mercenaries intended to give it to the Elderan guerillas, Gurlukovich, before meeting his doom at the hands of Meryl, revealed that he actually intended to salvage the nuclear-equipped ballistic missiles and the launch system for Metal Gear as a valuable commodity during the post-Cold War age. The Metal Gear was later revealed to have been significantly obsolete and a failure barely worth more than scrap metal, with nukes that were nothing more than cheap imitations.

Mesal GearEdit


Mesal Gear (Snake vs. Monkey).

Mesal Gear can be seen in the Mesal Gear Solid minigame featured in Ape Escape 3. It resembles the looks of the Shagohod. Although not able to be fought in battle, Mesal Gear is said to be armed with a "Lazy Cannon."

In Metal Gear Solid 3's Snake vs. Monkey game, Mesal Gear makes an appearance as the Shagohod's "lazy cousin." It's a large, steel monkey version of Metal Gear with drills instead of hands as a joke to Volgin and the Shagohod. Atop the head is an evil looking ape with an eyepatch, which is a reference to Big Boss. Also, when knocked off the Mesal Gear's head, it engages Snake in combat with a punch-punch-kick CQC combo instead of the usual slap. Also, in the beginning of the level, Ape Fear, he says "Mesal... Gear..." during the overhead pan of the base and Mesal Gear, to which the monkey in question then shouts "Snaaake!" It later makes a reappearance in the Subsistence-exclusive level "Dawn of the Living Apes", where it is instead crouching, almost invoking the appearance of the Shagohod. Also, if Snake is detected by an ape, the alarm light on top of the Mesal Gear's head will start blaring with red colors and sounding an alarm siren.

List of Metal GearsEdit

Main seriesEdit

Other Metal Gear gamesEdit


Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Metal Gear Solid 4, explained in a Codec conversation while at the Middle East.
  2. ^ Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (1990)
    Madnar: ...The one you destroyed three years ago was only a prototype... The new, improved Metal Gear is many, many times more powerful!
  3. ^ Metal Gear 2, described in a radio conversation by Dr. Madnar.
  4. ^ Metal Gear Saga Vol. 1, Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc (2006).
  5. ^

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