Metal Gear, as I’ve mentioned quite a few times, is quite a complicated franchise, that they’re now trying to make into a film, to be directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts . However, there are several ‘jumping on’ points that can be used, but which one, if they go for a straight adaptation?
A lot of video game movies in the past, have more or less used an original story, especially the older ones, where there wasn’t too much of a story in the games themselves. For instance, the Super Mario Bros. movie. The Mario games have always had a fairly simple story-Plumbers journey into a magical world populated by living mushrooms where they rescue a princess held captive by a giant turtle. Plus eventually there’s some dinosaurs The movie took this concept and basically tried to layer too much story on it (and the story’s not that great either).
Other games with more complex stories are true to the ‘world’ of the game, but often opt for another element of the franchise apart from a straight adaptation. For instance, the Resident Evil films which follow a character created for the film itself: Alice.
Metal Gear’s a bit tricky, since it largely focuses on two ‘main’ characters (Big Boss and Solid Snake) over the six main story games, and therefore it’d be hard to explore ‘another’ part of it like Resident Evil. There’s also not much used in giving it ‘more’ story, as it has enough already pretty much.
But the question is, where should the story begin? Here’s the three main ‘jumping on’ points I feel they could use.
Start from the beginning
Although in the main “Metal Gear” timeline, the original MSX game is in the middle, it’s the first of the games to be made, and compared to it’s sequels, the most simple story-basically rookie FOXHOUND Solid Snake infiltrates the Outer heaven fortress to rescue a fellow operative-Grey Fox (Frank Jaeger) and eventually take down Metal Gear, and his own commander, Big Boss, who is in control of the Outer Heaven fortress.
Of course they’d have to be a bit more than that, perhaps adding some details from the later games about Solid Snake’s background/origins (although they’re not really revealed to Snake-game-wise-until the “Solid” series) as well as Big Boss’s goals and the Metal Gear itself. Perhaps, even add in some details from Metal Gear II, which follows a similar outline but with more advanced character development and interactions.
Jump right into Solid
“Metal Gear Solid”-the third Metal Gear game-has Snake retired in Alaska, but is brought back to duty to confront a rogue FOXHOUND unit that has taken over a nuclear disposal facility led by a man who claims to be his twin brother. He also learns that a secret Metal Gear is being developed there. “Solid” dwelves more into Snake’s persona and backstory, and doesn’t necessarily need the other two games to understand it; however, there are a few elements which relate to those-Grey Fox, the cyborg ninja, for instance, and Solid Snake’s past as a clone of Big Boss. Games 2 and 4 of course continue the story from this game, pretty much, and would be pretty bad ideas to adapt without doing this or the original game first.
Start with Big Boss
In Metal Gear Solid III: Snake Eater, the series enters into prequel territory, something continued in the games “Peace Walker” and the two parts of V, “Ground Zeroes” and “The Phantom Pain”. Basically, the story reveals Big Boss’s past as a somewhat naive special forces soldier named Naked Snake (The original Snake), who during a rescue mission is betrayed by his mentor, “The Boss”, in a complex Cold War plot involving a nuclear armed tank and the location of a huge amount of money. By the end of the game, Snake has been given the rank of “Big Boss”, has lost an eye causing him to wear an eyepatch (Which the character wears in the ‘earlier’ games) and is disillusioned, which will eventually lead him to a somewhat darker future. The seeds of the Metal Gear project and the Patriots are also planted in the game.
Only problem is, the game technically doesn’t have a Metal Gear-instead it has the Shagohod, which although it resembles a Metal Gear and has a similar purpose, it doesn’t really ‘walk’ like the others do (including the Peace Walker which is never directly referred to as an MG but pretty much is one). Even changing it’s name or something (Like to say, Metal Gear Shagohod) wouldn’t help, as the name Metal Gear is meant to be a “gear” between artillery (Since it’s very heavily armed) and infantry (since it walks), whereas Shagohod is pretty much artillery. And the Metal is simply because, it’s made of Metal.
Although the Metal Gear technically is in the story, it’s not yet been built and only exists as blueprints in the office of it’s creators Granin. From Granin’s files (shipped to his American friend Huey Emmerich) The actual first Metal Gears are later developed ‘sort of’ in Portable Ops (which is once again, of questionable canonicity) and Peace Walker, as well. But basically, audiences would wonder why is this movie called Metal Gear if there’s not one in it? Might as well call it Big Boss Solid.
Adapting Snake Eater would perhaps make it a bit easier to introduce a lot of the series mythology, and help to make Big Boss a more sympathetic and tragic character.
Or perhaps, they can do both somehow, showing Snake Eater as a sort of ‘flashback’ similar to the way it’s treated in Metal Gear Solid IV, as exposition provided by EVA. But hopefully, not as long and drawn out.
It could work-Snake Eater’s opening, after all, is pretty much heavily inspired by the James Bond openings, and certainly the whole series is very cinematic.