20 Years Later, Metal Gear Solid 2 Is Still A Masterclass In Misdirection

Picture the scene: It’s the dawn of a new century, E3 2000 is in full swing, and the one game stealing all of the attention at that event is Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. A direct sequel to the landmark game that debuted on the PS1 in 1998, game director Hideo Kojima and publisher Konami’s follow-up was announced with a trailer that had everyone talking.

It was nine minutes of next-gen PS2 gameplay and impressive cinematics, a showcase of Sony’s upcoming console that featured Solid Snake performing his trademark tactical espionage actions while he was being hunted by mercenaries across a rain-soaked freighter ship. Hype was building up, fans dialed up their expectations for the return of Solid Snake to 11, and a demo of the game that came with Hideo Kojima’s mechnificent Zone of the Enders saw Metal Gear Solid 2 mania reach critical mass.

And then, once in people’s hands, the game pulled the rug out from under players, putting them in the combat boots of an entirely new character within hours of starting. This was Kojima’s talent for misdirection at its finest, tricking players into believing that Solid Snake’s fight against the Patriots and Solidus Snake would span the entirety of the DVD disc that the game was encoded into. Instead, Solid Snake’s playable mission ended with MGS1 villain Revolver Ocelot hijacking a Metal Gear Ray prototype and sinking the tanker that he’d had infiltrated. The legendary soldier seemed to go down with the ship, but there was no way that Kojima was going to kill the star of the Metal Gear franchise…right?

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Author: Darryn Bonthuys