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1. Predicting Our Digital Future
The biggest twist in Metal Gear Solid 2 was that you weren’t really working for Roy Campbell. Instead, you were being manipulated by an AI that offered weird warnings about data manipulation and the ability to control social behavior through information control.
When the game came out in 2001, very little of this made sense. But we now live in an age where memes manipulate the masses and both individuals and corporations gain immense wealth and power through harvesting our information.
Credit where credit is due: as bizarre as the whole ending is, Kojima basically predicted the next twenty years of the information age and its cultural effects back before most people even knew what the word “meme” meant!
2. Check the Box!
Very few games break the fourth wall as often and as joyously as Metal Gear Solid. And one of the earliest moments of this comes when you are trying to contact Meryl by Codec for the first time.
Instead of being given a Codec number, you are given some simple instructions: check the box! That’s because her correct frequency was featured in the artwork on the back of the original PSX game.
It’s a cute and memorable stunt. However, gamers without the case are forced to find the answer online because there is no other hint in the game!
3. 9/11:Part 2?
Have you played Metal Gear Solid 2 lately? It holds up surprisingly well, but one thing is still jarring: the lack of transition between Arsenal Gear crashing to the shore and your final fight with Solidus.
But there’s a reason for this. Kojima originally wanted to have a brutal cutscene of Arsenal Gear destroying large chunks of New York and even knocking the Statue of Liberty down. But considering how recent the 9/11 terrorist attacks were, they removed all of this, leaving that section feeling very awkward and abrupt.
4. The Self-Destructing Game
The solar sensor for Boktai was already pretty crazy. But it pales in comparison to Kojima’s original idea: a game that takes “permadeath” to the next level.
He originally imagined a game that would somehow break or disintegrate after you die. At this point, your only choice is to accept your fate or buy another game. They could never find the right material to make this happen, and it would have been a PR nightmare, so they opted for the solar sensor instead.
5. The Boktai Solar Sensor
Hideo Kojima is most known for his Metal Gear Solid games. However, one of his strangest ideas had nothing to do with Snake, Big Boss, or Raiden. But it had a lot to do with vampires!
The Boktai games were about your character fighting off vampires. Vampires are obviously weak to sunlight, so Kojima introduced a special solar sensor for the game. By playing outside and soaking up the rays, your characters in-game will be able to heal themselves and even defeat undead creatures with the sunlight.
And Kojima really committed to the bit. It’s almost impossible to beat these games without sunlight, leaving gamers who play during winter scrambling to trick the solar sensor with things like black lights!
6. Nearly Casting Kurt Russell
It was a shock for many players to hear Keifer Sutherland voice Snake in Metal Gear Solid 5. However, the familiar voice of Snake, David Hayter, confirmed for fans that he had to audition for each game. It was never assumed that he would return.
And Kojima nearly had some fun with this in Metal Gear Solid 3. He was originally pushing for Snake to be voiced by Kurt Russell. Considering that much of Snake’s voice and persona is based on Kurt Russell’s performance in Escape From New York, this would have been the most “meta” move he could make!
7. The World Peace Cutscene
Think you’ve seen all of Metal Gear Solid 5? Think again! Weeks after the game came out, players found this cutscene hidden in the files.
But why didn’t anybody see this cutscene via regular gameplay? Because Kojima planned for it to play only after every single player (literally every player around the world) declined to stockpile nukes in the multiplayer section of the game. This is reminiscent of his hopes in Metal Gear Solid that different nations would eventually move away from their reliance on nuclear weaponry.
8. The Infamous Controller Switch
You don’t have to be a Kojima scholar to know about this next one. We’re talking about the fight with Psycho Mantis in Metal Gear Solid, and this remains one of the coolest boss fights in all of gaming history.
If you somehow don’t know, this villain’s gimmick was that he could read your mind. In addition to some fun party tricks (like discussing certain games on your memory card and your gameplay habits), Mantis was nearly impossible to beat until you swapped the controller into the second port.
This effectively blocked his powers and allowed you to win. It was also one of several moments of the game that helped to break the fourth wall.
9. Elderly Nazi Turned Soldier Turned Traitor
Even more than its predecessor, Metal Gear Solid 2 is known for its colorful cast of characters. But one interesting character got left on the cutting room floor: a 100-year-old Dead Cell member who once worked for the Nazis.
We don’t know much about this character, but the very idea of him sounds fascinating. We’re talking about a dude who worked for the Nazis, then worked for the United States military, and then turned traitor as part of Dead Cell.
Was he some kind of elaborate triple agent, or just a dude who constantly changes his mind? Sadly, we’ll never know.
10. Blood-Scented Snatcher Disc
Sure, games like Metal Gear Solid and Death Stranding are pretty damn great. But to true Kojima fans, it doesn’t get any better than Snatcher. And Kojima had a wild idea to make that game even crazier.
When Snatcher came out for PC, many games still relied on floppy discs. Before it became a CD-based game, Kojima wanted to arrange it where players would smell the scent of blood as the floppy disc heated up. And when they investigated the disc, they would find a hidden message now revealed on the disc.
Pretty cool, huh? Kojima’s bosses didn’t think so. According to him, he was yelled at for this idea and not allowed to fully explore it.
11. Ending the Franchise With MGS3
For better or for worse, the Metal Gear Solid franchise extended well beyond the first game. But to Hideo Kojima, the third game was actually the perfect place to end the series.
From a creative standpoint, it’s understandable that he’d want to move beyond his famous franchise. But it’s pretty insane to think about all of the additional questions and mysteries that Metal Gear Solid 3 introduces. As far as Kojima was originally concerned, players could simply try to find the answers on their own!
12. Bizarre Zombie Game
Many of Kojima’s craziest ideas never made it past the concept stage. And one reason for this is that these ideas would completely flop on the open market.
For example, Kojima envisioned a zombie game where players would get bit and turn into a member of the undead. But his twist was that once you were zombified, there was no going back: you could simply log in and see what your zombie self was doing with no way to control the body.
And it gets weirder: if you wanted to play a non-zombie character, you’d have to pay for the game once more. But Kojima thought players would enjoy the opportunity of logging in and putting their undead self out of its misery.
13. Shark Attack in Metal Gear Solid 2
In Metal Gear Solid 2, the underwater scenes are particularly annoying. You have to dodge mines, keep your oxygen levels up, and avoid getting confused in the underwater labyrinth.
However, Kojima originally wanted to up the ante by having Raiden fight sharks underwater. While we’d love to see Raiden brandish some Batman-style shark repellant, it’s even funnier to consider that sharks have somehow infiltrated the Big Shell from the Hudson River.
14. A Weeks-Long Boss Battle
As far as Metal Gear villains go, The End is already pretty memorable. After all, he’s a 100-year-old badass sniper. And there are multiple ways to kill him, including sniping him earlier in the game or messing with either the system clock or the save system to make him die of old age.
But that wasn’t enough for Kojima. He originally wanted this to be a fight that would take weeks in real-time and require multiple play sessions. It didn’t happen, but it would be pretty funny to finally get some gameplay that lasts longer than a typical Metal Gear Solid 3 cutscene.
15. Killing Snake for Good
As fun as the game was, Metal Gear Solid 4 was unintentionally funny because you were controlling an elderly Snake on what appeared to be his last adventure. Initially, players couldn’t help but ask if Snake was going to die in the course of this game.
As you know, Snake did indeed survive the events of that game. But Kojima originally wanted to kill off Snake and Otacon for good. Whether he thought this was best for the series or simply thought it would help put the series to rest is anybody’s guess.