Hideo Kojima has been planning a video game adaptation of his popular Metal Gear franchise for over a decade, but in all that time no real progress has been demonstrated. That could all be changing soon, as current director Jordan Vogt-Roberts has finally completed a script for the film and is in the process of revising it. It’s still a long road to the project becoming a reality, but Vogt-Roberts has faith in the script, and he’s been on a media tour raising hype for it.
He recently sat down for a half-hour long interview with Collider, sharing more details than ever about the script. Vogt-Roberts shared that he’s been “working on it actively for five years” but has dreamed of having this chance since childhood. One of the biggest problems he faces is figuring out which era (or eras) he should visit in the film. The games stretch across decades, with numerous different wars and protagonists.
“The thing about Metal Gear is it’s intentionally sprawling and it’s intentionally dense. It’d be super easy to do one sliver of it or do too much at once. And we’ve spent the last little bit really trying to figure out, to me, the most Kojima-san inspired way to tackle as much of that story through a device that I think allows you to tap in…how to put this without spoiling it? …Regardless, we have a device that I think allows us to respect the breadth of the franchise, respect the sprawling nature of the franchise, respect the somewhat convoluted nature of the franchise at times. But to still show you the mirrors. What I mean by that is all those timelines fundamentally exist because they show the repetition of war throughout time. They show the repetition and the cycle of pain throughout time. So it’s almost impossible to tell just one story now. You need the full throughline of what this game is about.”
— Jordan Vogt-Roberts
It sounds like we’ll be seeing multiple time periods represented in order to emphasize the cycles of war and pain. The movie won’t follow any one specific game, but Vogt-Roberts indicated that the first Metal Gear Solid game on PlayStation would be “a big reference point.” But there are also elements of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater as well as the first two Metal Gear games on MSX2.
Vogt-Roberts also tackled the topic of appealing to both “hardcore” fans of the games and general audiences. He believes this will be easier than in the past, as movies like Guardians of the Galaxy have expanded the possibilities of the genre for general audiences.
“Our understanding of genre evolves. Now we have talking raccoons and talking trees in genre movies, and ten years ago, even three years ago that would’ve seemed like a crazy idea… I think there’s a way to lean into all of the oddities and the quirks and the idiosyncrasies of
Metal Gear—and people forget Metal Gear is goofy. It’s filled with like military surrealism, it’s filled with these walking, talking philosophical ideologies of characters, it’s filled with almost horror tones at times—and that’s all in this container of this sort of super serious military game. I think finding the right access point and leaning into all of those things that appeal to the hardcore, I think that’s a way to translate that stuff and those end up being the things that a general audience falls in love with. Instead of being afraid of them, instead of running away from all those oddities and those quirks, those are Metal Gear.” — Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Aside from Snake and/or Big Boss, Vogt-Roberts indicated that we’ll see a healthy dose of popular characters from the franchise. The script is aiming to find a balance “where it feels robust, where we can define Snake or Boss through these characters, but not enough to get lost.” Although he stopped short of officially announcing which characters we’ll see, he referenced Cyborg Ninja repeatedly when discussing fan-favorite characters that are important to the franchise.
Vogt-Roberts also indicated that he’s aiming for an R rating even if it means a smaller budget. This is because he wants to push boundaries, take risks, and make a “balls to the wall” Kojima story that preserves what makes Metal Gear special. One of the themes he’ll be pushing is nuclear proliferation, which he hopes to make relevant again to modern audiences.
“People have forgotten about mutually assured destruction. People have forgotten about nuclear proliferation. People have forgotten about what that type of nuclear fear is. We’ve done a lot of work to make the Metal Gears themselves relevant in a very cool way.”
— Jordan Vogt-Roberts
If you follow Vogt-Roberts on Twitter, you know he’s been sharing Metal Gear concept art in recent weeks. He spent a good chunk of the Collider interview towards the end going over each piece and what it’s meant to convey, giving fans plenty of insight into his creative vision. Finally, he stated that his goal is to make the first truly great video game movie.