The Metal Gear Solid Timeline

The chronological timeline of events in the Metal Gear Solid series

Hideo Kojima is an ambitious man. He created Metal Gear Solid, a game series that pioneered the blend between movies and video games. With canon that spans 50 years, and has so many intertwining stories and characters, Kojima's saga remains one of the most expansive in history.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater - 1964

The third game in the series decided to jump back in time to the beginning of it all. We find a lone warrior, codenamed Naked Snake who embarks on a mission to bring peace during the Cold War. Under the orders of his commanding officer, Zero, Snake infiltrates an area of Russia to find and disarm a nuclear bomb that could decide the fate of the war.

Everything goes smoothly until he's betrayed by a former teammate and left for dead. From that moment on, Snake is molded into the hero the world knows as Big Boss. He takes down a power-hungry commander and the first prototype of Metal Gear. 

Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops - 1970

A few years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 3, Portable Ops finds Naked Snake recruiting a team of soldiers to combat the rogue entity FOX, Snake's former employers. FOX has a new leader named Gene who captures and tortures Snake, and once he escapes he forms a team from disbanded FOX members.

Portable Ops is the series' first handheld game. Debuting on PSP, the structure of the game was a lot different from the games that were on the PlayStation systems. It dealt more with recruitment, stats, and harvesting than a focused and linear story. Portable Ops is a somewhat forgotten MGS game. It wasn't extremely well received and the newer gameplay mechanics turned some people away.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker - 1974

Now 10 years after Naked Snakes first adventure, he's become a battered and beaten solider, but a solider with a mission. The events of the previous ten years have shaped his life and he's taken the words of his former mentor to heart. Now that he has a private army at his disposal, he moves along in making them their own entity known as the Militaires Sans Frontieres, or Soliders Without Borders. 

Snake, who's donned the title Big Boss, builds a base for his soldiers called Mother Base. The plan is to be a group of soldiers who have no allegiance to any country. After recruiting some new faces and discovering a new type of Metal Gear is at bay, Snake's first round with Cipher, the organization set out to stop him, begins.

Peace Walker was also a portable game and was very similar in gameplay to Portable Ops. But, what made Peace Walker standout was the vast amount of content and it is written and directed by Kojima himself.

Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes - 1975

A year after discovering Cipher is hell-bent on ending Big Boss and his team, he travels to this prison camp named Camp Omega located in Cuba. Boss seeks out his companion Chico, who is being held hostage with another companion named Paz. 

Boss infiltrates the camp and just after he rescue his teammates, he discovers a devious plot handled by Cipher. The Mother Base is destroyed and Big Boss his heavily injured, placing him in a coma for nine years.

Ground Zeroes is actually the prologue to the upcoming game, the Phantom Pain. It was released a year and a half early. 

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain - 1984

Waking up in the year 1984, Big Boss  finds himself in a hospital missing an arm. Confused and distraught, the hospital is attacked and Boss escapes. After taking some time to catch up on all he's missed in the nine years he was in a coma, he discovers Cipher destroyed Mother Base killing dozens of his allies.

Boss sets out on a one way course for revenge on Cipher and the restructuring of his team. 

Essentially, Phantom Pain is Peace Walking 2.0 The team building, recruitment and customization is all there but tenfold since it's on consoles and not handheld systems. Phantom Pain has the widest variety of any Metal Gear game. 

Metal Gear -  1995

This point in the history marks the début of Solid Snake, Naked Snake's cloned offspring. During the nine years Naked Snake was out cold he was cloned as a kind of insurance so his legacy can live on.

Solid Snake is sent into Outer Heaven, a facility that houses a Metal Gear. Big Boss aka Naked Snake is Solid Snakes commanding officer and sends him on this mission to destroy the Metal Gear. However, Big Boss has a change of heart and pits Solid Snake into a series of traps. 

Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake - 1999

An oil crisis falls on the world and a Dr. Kio Marv as a solution in synthetic oil. Dr. Marv gets captured by a military force and Roy Campbell, head of FOXHOUND, sends Solid Snake to Zanzibar to rescue him. 

Snake uncovers a heck of a lot more than he bargained for: a new Metal Gear and Big Boss. He is unable to rescue Dr. Marv and has a battle with Big Boss, leaving him for dead. After the mission is complete Snake goes into retirement and bunkers up in Alaska. 

Metal Gear Solid - 2005

Solid Snake is forced out of retirement when a facility off the cost of Alaska is taken hostage by a team of highly trained killers who are lead by a mysterious man with blonde hair. 

Under the orders of Roy Campbell, Snake infiltrates the Shadow Moses facility to rescue the DARPA chief. As things progress, he discovers that this place houses the Metal Gear REX and the mysterious man is actually Liquid Snake, a clone of Big Boss and Solid Snakes brother, making him a clone as well. Even with these earth shattering revelations revealed to him, Solid Snake still must take down this new Metal Gear before it unleashes havoc to the world.

Metal Gear Solid was the first 3D Metal Gear game. It was released for PlayStation 1 to high praise for its expertly crafted storytelling and tight controls. 

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty - 2007/2009

This is the first game in the series that had a time jump. It begins with Solid Snake doing what he does best, sneaking into a heavily guarded area. This time it's a tanker sailing off the coast of New York City. Snake discovers yet again a new Metal Gear, codenamed RAY. Before he's able to leak photos of this to the world, the tanker is sabotaged by Ocelot, an enemy of Solid Snake. The tanker sinks and Snake is presumed dead.

Jump to 2009 and an off shore oil rig called the Big Shell is taken hostage by a group called Dead Cell. FOXHOUND sends their newest agent, Raiden to take down the group. Raiden suddenly realizes he's in over his head when he meets up with Solid Snake and discovers the Big Shell is a front of a whole arsenal of Metal Gears.

MGS 2 ended up being the most polarizing of all the games. Up until the release, players expected Solid Snake to be the main star but soon discovered Raiden took his spot light. Even though MGS 2 holds up with its tight gameplay, the story is off the rails.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots - 2014

Fifty years later it all ends. In 2014 the world is ruled by a strict economy where private military companies go to war simply for profit. Leading the largest one is Liquid Ocelot, the fusion of Liquid Snake's consciousness in Ocelot's body. 

Solid Snake, now much older due to the degrading of his cloned body, is pulled out of retirement yet again by Roy Campbell to assassinate Ocelot. Things don't go so smoothly when Snake discovers Ocelot controls an AI program that pretty much controls everything else. To top it all off, Snake is dying quickly do to his aging body. It's all hands on deck in the final chapter of the Metal Gear Solid Saga. 


When Kojima made the first Metal Gear game in 1987, it's doubtful he planned on it becoming the sprawling series it is today. MGS V: The Phantom Pain is the last released entry and it closes the gap on the lore. Kojima had a falling out with developing partner Konami so it seems MGS V is the last game under his wing. His legacy, however, remains as big as the MGS timeline. 


Movie watcher, game player and all around nerd. I'm looking to turn my passion for video games into a career.

Published Aug. 20th 2015

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