I can’t think of anything better for an immersive VR experience than solid metal gear, a series of video games that are often about simulations, telling truth from falsehood, and literal virtual reality. Now, thanks to an inspired modder who is a huge fan of the games, you can experience the first three main areas of 1998 solid metal gear (and a few other fun surprises) in VR for yourself.
The “Metal Gear Solid Mod”, created by modder Holydh, combines the style and aesthetics of the first MGS adventure with the highly technical, highly realistic physics and advanced virtual body simulation of the popular virtual reality game bones. While at the moment Holydh’s mod only recreates the first three areas of the game, it’s a very powerful proof of concept of how cool it would be to experience solid metal gear in virtual reality.
It’s a good fit, too. Games have never been the same since solid metal gear came to the original PlayStation in 1998. While its innovative stealth gameplay evolved from two earlier 2D entries for the MSX 2 computer, solid metal gear it expanded on the series’ narrative and themes alike. What seemed like a standard Hollywood-inspired spy thriller gave way to a twisting narrative about truth, deception, genetics, advanced technology, and government conspiracies.
It just so happens that VR is both a staple of its world and gameplay, with solid metal gear and its many sequels that allow players to train in simulated “VR” environments that echo what you experience in the main games. These maps offer a concentrated experience of solid metal gear, which challenges you with time trials in stylized visual representations of what it would look like “inside” a computer. Virtual reality is also often mentioned in actual narratives, where it is the subject of debate about its effects on a person’s sense of reality.
metal gear‘s famous director, Hideo KojimaIt is also known that often toy with player expectations. when promoting Solid Metal V GearIt went as far as hiring an actor to play a fake game developer who provided bizarre interviews on behalf of a fictional game studio. MGSVby the way, then proceeded to make you question the very concept of “identity”. If there is a series that intends to make you question reality, it is solid metal gear.
Enter Holydh’s “Metal Gear Solid Mod” for bonesa virtual reality game known for its rather sophisticated physics and a very Portal-narrative environment woven throughout its campaign and overall presentation. I like it solid metal gear, bones it also plays with VR themes and experiments performed by manipulators beyond its immediate comprehension, so while the VR title offers a rich physical palette of game mechanics for fun solid metal gear‘s Shadow Moses Island, is thematically resonant in that bonesThe narrative itself also gives way to suspicion about what is happening in the environment around you.
After playing with this mod late into the night last night, I will tell you that I still get chills from what I experienced. It felt surreal moving through the initial maps of solid metal gear with my own body in first person, complete with the original graphic presentation almost intact. The environments of the first MGS they are etched into my brain from playing it countless times when I was young. But the obvious novelty of sneaking around vents and around corners, engaging in firefights with the genome troopers, and looking at the towering Metal Gear Rex (it’s parked in the “museum” area of the mod) was always underscored in my mind by Verbatim quotes from the games themselves about simulated reality and environments, and where society might go once this technology is sophisticated enough to fool us.
I’ll just leave a quote from Eva’s character in 2008 Metal Gear Solid 4: Weapons of the Patriots underline everything here:
Today, anyone with a computer can get combat training. The FPS games that these kids love are distributed for free by these companies. Of course, it’s all just virtual training. It is very easy for them to get sucked into these war games. And before they know it, they’re at the PMCs with real guns. These kids end up fighting proxy wars that have nothing to do with their own lives. They think it’s cool to fight like this. They think combat is life. They don’t need a reason to fight. After all, it’s just a game for them.
Talking with Kotaku, Holydh described the experience of making a VR mod based on a series that is often preoccupied with technology manipulating our sense of reality as “impressive and terrifying at the same time”. Holydh’s first exposure to Kojima’s stealth series was through 1998. solid metal gear, which is still his favorite entry. “I play games as if I read books,” she said, “to just immerse myself in an atmosphere. And virtual reality is just amazing because of it.”
The practicalities of this mod itself are made from original code, but Holydh describes the work as the result of the efforts of passionate modders and digital archaeologists who have analyzed the original game to bring these environments to life like never before. That work dates back more than a decade, Holydh said. “I am like the little guy on the giant’s shoulder. … I met [fellow Metal Gear Solid modder Vapor_Cephalopod] and I got into the actual creation of my mod a little over a year ago. But I started seriously working on it only at the end of last year.” He added that the mod has become an “amazing hobby” that he works on almost every day.
The choice to recreate spaces from solid metal gear is a bit creepy considering the game’s immediate sequel, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Libertyit reveals that the events of the first game were sampled and simulated to help train its main character. MGS2 Protagonist Raiden states that he more or less “played” through the events of MGS as part of their VR combat training. MGS2 referring to the actual game you may have played yourself as a possible simulation is just one of its many fourth-wall breaking moments. So playing this VR recreation of Shadow Moses Island feels strangely like something said to exist in the fiction of the series itself.
Walking in solid metal gearShadow Moses in VR feels deeply connected to the revelations of solid metal gear 2, and that did not go unnoticed by Holydh. The mod is mostly a passion project for him that allows him and others to jump into one of the most celebrated gaming environments, but he often thinks about the “meta” of his work. In a sense, his VR mod is like a glue that binds the first game to the second.
“I think about it from time to time,” he said. “I’m kind of coming full circle.”
For all the brain travel this mod inspires, it’s still not a complete game. You need bones itself, and you’ll have to go through a bit of a maze of installing mods to get it all working. That’s why, in addition to adding more playable areas, Holydh hopes to repackage its mod as a standalone experience. However, as the project currently stands, it will take a bit of patience to get it all working.
Once everything is sorted, you appear in the same room where Solid Snake fought Psycho Mantis. Here you can choose between traveling to the beginning of the classic campaign or entering a “museum” displaying various recreated assets from the game, including Metal Gear Rex and many character models and items. There’s even a recreation of the game’s opening underwater area, which is normally only visible through a cutscene. Being able to get to know such classic characters and environments up close is a pleasure.
Once you’ve done a runthrough, selecting “Campaign” activates the secret door to the room, which in the main game led to the showdown with Sniper Wolf. Here you are transported to the opening level of the game, where Snake first landed on Shadow Moses.
For now, the only playable areas are the opening box/elevator area, the open-air helipad, and the two-level indoor tank hangar. You can use the elevators, find weapons and ammo on the maps, sneak past cameras and guards, and engage in firefights with a SOCOM pistol, silenced by sneak, or muzzleless for full volume and mayhem.
The unstable enemy AI, as well as the difficulty of navigating certain spaces (I’ll probably now have nightmares of falling to my death from stairs connected to Metal Gear Rex), keep the bones “Metal Gear Solid mod” to feel like a complete game. However, there is a fun discovery in the environments. It’s always been tricky to pull off, but can you hit enemies in the head to knock them out or possibly even strangle them? I’m not sure about that last one. Between the loving attention to detail and the narrative resonance this fun experience has with real games, it feels like a real metal gear experience.
Here I am, standing in spaces that aren’t real, even though my brain feels like they have some sort of reality to them. How can I not think of Snake’s comment to Raiden that VR can mess with your sense of reality? How can I not think of the countless times that metal gear games have questioned why I encounter simulated gunfights, violence and death fun? Because Do I enjoy all the kills? Is that the reason for?
While this mod certainly doesn’t have the answer to those questions, it does take me down rabbit holes of puzzles and meta-perspectives for which solid metal gear is well loved. The last entry in the main series came seven years ago.Y his future is uncertain at best. I had given up hope that I would once again be able to experience those classic puzzles that the series loves to do, but this VR mod took me there in a way that I don’t think a newer official game really can. For all the talk of “metaverses” and the ways we are trying to imbue meaning to digital worlds and elementsthe bones “Metal Gear Solid mod” shows that such a thing is possible, if not a bit terrifying.