The human brain produces approximately 70,000 thoughts in a single day. We all wish to share our ideas with others, but only some take the steps necessary to turn those ideas into realities. Not all of our creative ideas are good ones, in fact, many are quite bad (I aim for 1 in 10). Some ideas are gone as quickly as they came, others linger around and grow on the subconscious over time. Eventually though, after enough fermenting… a rare few become dreams. These are the ones we cherish most and wish to share with the world more than anything else. Today, one of my dreams has died.
Solid Snake is a black-ops government agent that has been sent out to Shadow Moses Island, off the coast of Alaska, on the vague mission of infiltrating a nuclear weapons disposal facility to stop a band of armed terrorists from launching an attack. But in classic action-movie fashion, that mission spirals into something far deeper as Snake learns the place is actually the cover for a massive underground weapons development complex, the crown jewel of which is a bipedal walking nuclear battle tank… Metal Gear. Best of all, the head of the terrorist organization is his own brother, Liquid Snake, both of which were test-tube twins from a 1970’s classified government science project to clone the greatest soldier who ever lived.
Ridiculous as it sounds when crammed into one paragraph, that’s the basic story behind Metal Gear Solid (’98 PlayStation game) and the greatest adventure I’ve ever been on. I will never forget the day a friend brought over his Pizza Hut PlayStation demo-disk. Crash Bandicoot? Nah. Tomb Raider III? Whatever. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater? Well, that one actually turned out to be pretty fun, but that’s not the point. Metal Gear Solid was the last game on the disk, but after playing just once, I knew it would be the only one I needed for a long time.
Few games have truly transcended the medium, or so I often said back in the day. Modern video games are quickly catching up to movies and television in terms of mainstream market, presentation, content… not a bad thing, but definitely a new thing. When video games first went 3D it was no doubt a revolution, although there was some uncertainty as to how exactly it would be. Mario continued to jump on goombas, Link had even more of those clever weapons, and Sonic curled up into a ball to zip through levels faster than ever before; but even from 2D to 3D it was still pretty basic stuff. Never much of a story… let alone a 9 hour script with professional voice actors, cutscenes with methodical cinematography, an originally orchestrated score, mature themes tying to life lessons, and consequences that would genuinely change the game’s ending.
In my last blogpost I wrote about how Total Recall was the first hard-R action story I’d ever seen, one that opened my eyes to how jam-packed and unrestricted a movie could be. Metal Gear Solid was the first story I’d ever experienced, an interactive movie that started and stopped on command, one that cut to different angles reflecting my direction of the star. It featured a cast of characters that made me feel like a hero but still somehow deeply care (as much as a young teenager could) about present-day nuclear proliferation outside of the game. The list goes on and on… my first (and still favorite) inspiration for visual storytelling.
I never talked much about the Metal Gear dream, simply because I didn’t want to somehow jinx the project into actually happening. The fourth and chronologically final game of the series came out on PS3 in ’08 to critical and commercial success, but not in the breakthrough way the original had done ten years prior. I hoped that Solid Snake would bow out quietly into the night, away from the spotlight and become a forgotten story of the past. That way in 20 years the rights to develop a film would probably be within reach. But in August of 2012, during the 25th Anniversary of the original Metal Gear on NES, immediate plans for the film have been announced by Colombia and I’m probably not in contention to Direct.
I’d been pretty good about keeping quiet, especially these last few years, but sure enough… I opened my mouth over the weekend. And three days later I read that the project is finally happening. If I heard about this back in Middle School you could have probably found me doing naked laps around Dolgeville out of sheer joy. But now… I don’t know. Do I root for this like I did Return of the King, with hopes that Snake will see his story told justly as only Hollywood can? Or do I hope that this is the worst thing since Troll 2? Perhaps I could then redeem him one day.
I don’t know where you draw the line between idea and dream, nor will I try to define that here. But this one was it… the dream. My 5-Year plan is to make a Western, 10-Year plan is to make a Space Opera, 20-Year plan is… and always has been… to make Metal Gear Solid: The Movie.
I guess it’s a good thing there’s more than one game.