The "'Metal Gear Solid Main Theme" is a musical piece synonymous with the Metal Gear series. It is made up of two musical themes. The first "motif" was written by Tappy Iwase, who was requested to write the theme by Hideo Kojima, and appeared in Metal Gear Solid. It was later remixed by Harry Gregson-Williams for Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and the melody was partially used in other Metal Gear Solid games (such as Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater). The second theme appears later in Metal Gear Solid 3 and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.
The theme for Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, composed by Akihiro Honda & Kazuma Jinnouchi, originally included TAPPY's motif, but it was later removed due to the controversy surrounding the song (see below).
In Metal Gear Solid, the theme appeared in the early trailers for the game, and if the player was on their third playthrough, they would be rewarded with the theme playing in place of "The Best Is Yet to Come." In Metal Gear Solid 2, it appeared in early trailers and played during the game's opening title sequence and during the tracks "Comradeship", "Prelude to Denouement" and "Freedom to Decide" (from The Other Side Soundtrack CD).
In Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, the piece was re-done as a "skater-punk" song for the Skateboarding minigame which was featured in the North American and European versions of the game. Also, in The Twin Snakes (the remake of the original Metal Gear Solid) the piece was once again used in early E3 trailers and was used in-game during certain alert themes, and during the ending chase sequence between Solid Snake and Liquid Snake.
In Metal Gear Solid 3, the second theme was introduced, but the first motif appeared at the end of the new piece. The motif appeared in early trailers once again, and appeared during the tracks "Fortress Sneaking", "Return of the MiGs" (along with several other Metal Gear Solid 2 motifs), "Debriefing", during the end credits after Starsailor's "Way to Fall", and re-done as a lounge piece in "Old Metal Gear" (which played at the beginning of the cutscene with Aleksandr Leonovitch Granin).
Shortly before the release of Portable Ops, someone on the Internet discovered a piece by classical Russian composer Georgy Sviridov called "The Winter Road." The Metal Gear community was in an uproar at how similar the song was to the "Metal Gear Solid Main Theme", and requested that Hideo Kojima hear it. Eventually, a YouTube video emerged. In it, a group of people let Kojima hear the song, which resulted in him giving a very surprised reaction. Eventually in an issue of the video game magazine EGM, it was revealed via an interview with Norihiko Hibino that the theme was indeed changed due to the fact that "Konami had legal problems with Russian composers who said [they] stole their music."
The motif was removed from the Metal Gear Solid 3 theme on the 20th Anniversary Music Collection (the song switches to "The World Needs Only One Big Boss!" from Metal Gear Solid 2, at the point the melody originally began).
As aforementioned, the original Portable Ops theme featured the motif. The song was, however, still used in the game though without the motif, therefore consisting entirely of original music, and appeared on the Portable Ops soundtrack as "Show Time." Out of all of the Metal Gear games for the PlayStation Portable, the only time the theme appears is in an in-game advertisement for cards based on Metal Gear Solid in Metal Gear Acid 2.
Code extracted from Super Smash Bros. Brawl showed that this theme was originally supposed to be among the "My Music" tracks, but was later removed, possibly as a result of the controversy. The theme was also not included in Metal Gear Solid 4, although Harry Gregson-Williams' new motif (originally used in Metal Gear Solid 3) was remixed by him as an independent song, carrying the title "Metal Gear Saga," and the song "Victory," played during the final results screen, has a similar beat to the "Metal Gear Solid Main Theme." In addition, a similar beat to the "Metal Gear Solid Main Theme" was incorporated into "It Has to be This Way."
- Metal Gear Solid Soundtrack
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty Original Soundtrack
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater Original Soundtrack