Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is so afraid of tarnishing Big Boss’ legacy that the story spends roughly 20 hours building up to the same character beats present in Snake Eater and Portable Ops, hurting the character’s legacy far worse than if the game actually dared to be bold with painting a known villain as anything but heroic.
There is not a single video game that opens as profoundly, or as appropriately, as Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots does with Solid Snake’s “War has changed” monologue. In less than five minutes, not only is the game’s tone established, so is a new direction for the franchise as a whole.
With The Boss, and with Metal Gear Solid 3, Kojima recontextualizes the entire Metal Gear narrative to tie into Metal Gear Solid 2’s ending. In that sense, the series also becomes a story that was always leading to an ending like MGS2’s. Metal Gear becomes a perfect circle.
1998 was undoubtedly an important year for gaming; Ocarina of Time changed the landscape for 3D action-adventure titles, Pokémon Red and Blue took the West by storm, and Metal Gear Solid forever influenced the future of video games as a storytelling medium.