Metal Gear Solid V Might Break Canon, But Kojima Says That’s OK

Metal Gear Solid V Might Break Canon, But Kojima Says That’s OK

“The first thing is, I shouldn’t have talked about clones,” said Hideo Kojima, laughing.

He was joking. I think. Kotaku‘s Evan Narcisse and I were sitting in a swanky hotel room with the creator of Metal Gear Solid, and we’d just spent some time talking about his next game, Ground Zeroes, which is a prologue to Metal Gear Solid V, itself a prequel to Metal Gear Solid 4, which is not a prequel. But Metal Gear Solid 3 is a prequel to Metal Gear Solid 2.

If you haven’t been keeping track of Kojima’s stealth-action series, you should know that the timeline looks roughly like this:

MGS3 -> MGSV -> MGS -> MGS2 -> MGS4

That second one, MGSV, isn’t out yet. Kojima and his crew at Konami are still working on the next-gen game, which stars Big Boss, the protagonist of MGS3 and MGSV, and whose clone, Solid Snake, stars in the next three. There are clones and nanomachines and betrayals among betrayals among betrayals.

It’s a plot so convoluted it puts Lost to shame, and when I asked Kojima how he keeps track of it all — how he maintains a consistent story while writing something that happens in between a number of other games — he admitted that it’s one hell of a challenge. In fact, Kojima said, he expects the next Metal Gear Solid game to have at least a few minor inconsistencies.

“I’m pretty sure that the guys at Star Wars had the same issues,” Kojima said through a translator. “When you try to write something that was supposed to be in the middle there will be some inconsistencies when you go into very small details.”

Indeed, people have already started worrying about plot holes and retcons along the lines of Vamp’s immortality and Big Boss’s dead-alive-dead-alive status, and although Kojima didn’t get into specifics during our conversation, he did tell us he has other priorities.

“The most important part is writing something that is fun, something that is impressive, something that is better than it was before,” Kojima said. “So sometimes in the interest of doing this, of having a better experience, we sacrifice some consistencies in the story. I hope the fans and players understand this, but I need to write the best we can, even if there are some small discrepancies.”

We’ll have more from our chat with Kojima — and more details on the upcoming Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes — on Friday at 9am Eastern.


  • Oh wow, comparing Metal Gear to Star Wars? Strangely enough it makes a lot of sense. In Star Wars, midi-chlorians were used to explain everything. In MGS it was nanomachines.

    • +1
      Solid Snake’s face isn’t even canon between MGS and MGS2. I prefer his nicely chiseled MGS look to the block head muggle mouth guy he became. But since then his health has improved.

  • I’d rather have a good game with a good story than one that tip-toes around everything to maintain canonicity. There have already been retcons in the series so a few more won’t hurt, I’m sure.

  • Uhh no Mr Kojima, the most important thing isn’t writing a ‘fun’ story. When you have a huge franchise like this, and such a large story around it all, it needs to make sense, you can’t just write a story for one of the games that doesn’t connect with anything else.

    This guy, seriously is going to ruin his own franchise, he is loosing his mind.

    • “I didn’t like the creator’s work, therefore, it is his artistic integrity at stake, I say!”

    • like you said, it’s “his own franchise”

      he created it, he can do what he wants with it.
      canon is what he says it is.

    • Personally i think this game will be great. Although akuma07 doesn’t deserve that many downvotes. This article refers to Kojima admitting making inconsistencies in the writing of his new game under the MGS franchise. That is undisputedly written in this article. akuma07 obviously feels this could be bad for the franchise. A story driven game with a deteriorating story could suck. If you find it hard enough to connect a new game into the story you know, obvious holes could take it from plain confusing to impossible. While akuma07’s reaction is pretty extreme and maybe even bizarre but i see more and more people stacking down votes for the sake of being in vogue. This has been trending all over this blog. Don’t worry akuma i’m sure 4 of the 12 people who down voted you are just bullies.

  • I’m such a fan boy that I don’t care how cannonical it is, I just want to play it.

    Also where does PW fit into the timeline now? I’m guessing before MGSV? I still need to play it!

    • Before V; it leads straight into Ground Zeroes, so you’d probably be a bit lost if you’re not at least familiar with the storyline.

      • It seems to me that Ground Zeroes is for people who played Peace Walker and The Phantom Pain is for everyone else, kinda how in MGS2 you were taken straight to the Plant chapter (bypassing the Tanker opening) if you answered no to having played MGS1 before.

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