The chronological order of Metal Gear Solid has become quite complicated. The series consists mainly of games, but there are also several books and comics published. There is even a movie in the making. To put everything in perspective, we’ve created the Metal Gear Solid Timeline.
This is the chronological order of Metal Gear Solid. Click on a title to read more about that particular videogame.
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Set in 1964, released in 2004
- Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
Set in 1970, released in 2006
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Set in 1974, released in 2010
- Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Set in 1975, released in 2014
- Metal Gear Survive
Set in 1975, released in 2018
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Set in 1984, released in 2015
- Metal Gear
Set in 1995, released in 1987
- Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
Set in 1999, released in 1990
- Metal Gear Solid (or The Twin Snakes)
Set in 2005, released in 1998 (The Twin Snakes in 2004)
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Set in 2007 and 2009, released in 2001
- Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Set in 2014, released in 2008
- Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Set in 2018, released in 2013
Throughout the years, many spin-offs of Metal Gear Solid have been released, which aren’t considered canon.
This entry was updated in August 2021.
The Metal Gear Solid saga is known for its complicated story full of intrigues and plot twists. Its creator Hideo Kojima does not make it any easier by jumping back and forth through time. Family members of characters regularly return, looking the same and even being voiced by the same voice actor. Nevertheless, the main characters Big Boss, Solid Snake, and Raiden clearly run like a thread through the series, which gives us something to hold on to when we’re looking at the games up close.
Please note that this article contains spoilers for all installments in the series. This Metal Gear Solid Timeline is intended as a reference to put the titles into perspective. However, we do not go into much detail, so the games should still have more than enough surprises to offer if you have not yet played a specific game.
Timelines at Beyond Video Gaming are divided into different eras. Icons will mark whether an item is a game, book, comic, or movie.
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Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Originally released in 2004 for PlayStation 2 as Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Also published as Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence on PS2, as Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D on 3DS, as part of the Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection on PS3, Vita, and Xbox 360, and as part of Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection for PS3.
Metal Gear Solid 3 introduces us to a young Big Boss, then known by the code name Naked Snake. As Naked Snake, he infiltrates the Soviet Union in 1964 to stop a new weapon: the Shagohod, a precursor to the titular Metal Gear. During this mission, Naked Snake acquires the title of ‘Big Boss’.
The story of Metal Gear Solid was adapted into the following media:
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
Released as Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops in 2006 for PlayStation Portable.
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops was not written by Hideo Kojima but is still considered canon. In this game, Big Boss severs his ties with the U.S. government and takes the first steps to establish an independent military group called Foxhound in 1970. It is also – chronologically – the first videogame in which Snake battles a Metal Gear.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Originally released as Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker in 2010 for PlayStation Portable. Later also released as part of the Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection on PS3 and Xbox 360 and part of Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection for PS3.
In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Big Boss has now completely split from the U.S. government. In 1974, Big Boss and his mercenary group Militaires Sans Frontières are hired to liberate Costa Rica from occupancy and take out Peace Walker – basically a new type of Metal Gear. Eventually, this allows Big Boss to expand his MSF and rename it to Outer Heaven.
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Originally released as Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes in 2014 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC. Later also released as part of Metal Gear Solid V: The Definitive Experience for PS4 and Xbox One.
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes acts as a prologue to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. In the short story taking place in 1975, Big Boss is hired to infiltrate a U.S. Army base in Cuba. Several characters from Peace Walker return in this game, including Kazuhira Miller and Paz Ortega Andrade. Ground Zeroes ends with the destruction of Mother Base, connecting directly to The Phantom Pain.
Metal Gear Survive
Released as Metal Gear Survive in 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
Metal Gear Survive was made after Hideo Kojima had already left publisher Konami. Therefore, Survive is not considered canon by many fans, but the game is directly related to the main series. Unlike the main games, Survive is not a stealth game: it’s a survival game with zombies.
In the aftermath of the destruction of Mother Base in 1975, part of the base is sucked into a parallel world through a wormhole. The player, an unnamed soldier, is later sent to this world as well. Here the player must survive amidst zombies and other strange creatures, and find a solution to the zombie infection. To accomplish his mission, the nameless soldier uses, among other things, a Metal Gear that also ended up in the parallel world.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Originally released as Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain in 2015 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC. Also released as part of Metal Gear Solid V: The Definitive Experience for PS4 and Xbox One.
In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, you play as Venom Snake. Although the game would have you believe that this is Big Boss, it is actually a new character who, through hypnotherapy and plastic surgery, thinks he is Big Boss. After the events of Ground Zeroes in 1984, Venom Snake establishes a new military group, Diamond Dogs, to take revenge on the group that destroyed Mother Base and eliminate Metal Gear Sahelanthropus. Meanwhile, the real Big Boss is building Outer Heaven.
Originally released in 1987 for the MSX2. Was re-released several times, including as part of the Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection on PS3 and Xbox 360 and as part of Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection for PS3.
Metal Gear is the very first game in the series and is taking place in 1995. In this game, Solid Snake is brought in to infiltrate the hostile nation of Outer Heaven and take out Metal Gear. Eventually, he also takes out the leader of Outer Heaven, Big Boss. It was not until The Phantom Pain came out that it became clear that this was not the real Big Boss, but actually Venom Snake.
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, not to be confused with the spin-off Snake’s Revenge, is set in 1999, several years after the original Metal Gear. Solid Snake must once again infiltrate a hostile nation, this time Zanzibar Land. He destroys another Metal Gear, called Metal Gear D, and once again takes out Big Boss – the real one, this time.
Metal Gear Solid (also known as The Twin Snakes)
Originally released in 1998 on the PlayStation 1 and later on PC. It was later also released as Metal Gear Solid: Integral in Japan, of which much additional content was then released separately as Special Missions (Europe) or VR Missions (United States). Part of Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection for PS3 and one of the games preinstalled on the PlayStation Classic.
Its remake Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes was released in 2004 exclusively for the Nintendo Gamecube.
In 2005, Solid Snake infiltrates Shadow Moses Island. This nuclear disposal facility is occupied by Snake’s former unit, FOXHOUND, led by his brother Liquid Snake. FOXHOUND has also conquered Metal Gear REX. Solid Snake eliminates both Metal Gear REX and Liquid Snake.
The story of Metal Gear Solid was also adapted into the following media:
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Originally released as Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty in 2001 on the PlayStation 2. Also released as Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance on PS2, Xbox, and PC, as part of the Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection on PS3, Vita, and Xbox 360, and part of Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection for PS3.
Metal Gear Solid 2 consists of two parts. The first part, set in 2007, follows Solid Snake tracking down Metal Gear RAY. Snake appears to go down together with RAY and the cargo ship on which the weapon is transported.
In 2009, Raiden is called into action to infiltrate the off-shore decontamination facility called ‘Big Shell’ in the New York Harbor. A group known as the Sons of Liberty terrorist group, led by Solidus Snake, has taken the president hostage and also appears to have captured the secret warship Arsenal Gear. With Solid Snake’s help, Raiden manages to defeat Solidus Snake and stop Arsenal Gear, although the ship does crash in New York and cause a lot of damage there.
The story of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was also adapted into the following media:
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
In 2014, Liquid Ocelot, a fusion of Liquid Snake and Revolver Ocelot’s personalities, engulfs the world in constant conflict through various Private Military Companies. Solid Snake, now old and gray and therefore called Old Snake, is sent out to eliminate Liquid Ocelot. Snake also manages to destroy The Patriots, a secret group that tries to control the world from behind the scenes. Snake is aided in this task by Raiden, among others.
The story of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was also adapted into the following media:
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Released as Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance in 2013 on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was developed under Hideo Kojima’s supervision but is not 100% canon. Kojima himself considers the game a “parallel continuation,” but we can safely consider Rising canon for now in the absence of other continuations.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is set in 2018, four years after the dismantling of The Patriots. Raiden is working for a Private Military Company. He stumbles upon a plot by a U.S. Senator to seize power in America through a provoked war, just as The Patriots did. The senator also possesses a new weapon, Metal Gear EXCELSUS. Raiden manages to take out both the senator and the new Metal Gear.
The Metal Gear Solid Timeline already includes a few games that are not quite considered canon (especially by fans). Still, several Metal Gear Solid games are definitely not part of the official canon. A brief overview:
Metal Gear (edited version)
Set in 1995.
Originally released in 1987 for the NES, later also released on PC and Commodore 64
The original Metal Gear was modified quite a bit for the NES. So much, in fact, that this iteration is not considered canon. For example, the titular Metal Gear was dropped from the game. Instead, Solid Snake infiltrates Outer Heaven to destroy a ‘Supercomputer’.
Set in 1998.
Released in 1990 for the NES.
Snake’s Revenge is a sequel to the NES version of Metal Gear in which Snake infiltrates a military base where a new Metal Gear is supposedly being made. Big Boss turns out to be responsible for the Metal Gear. Snake defeats Big Boss and destroys Metal Gear 2.
Metal Gear Solid (Also known as Metal Gear: Ghost Babel)
Set in 2000.
Released in 2000 for the Game Boy Color.
Metal Gear Solid, better known as Metal Gear: Ghost Babel (that’s how the game was released in Japan), is an alternate sequel to Metal Gear in which Solid Snake must infiltrate the fictional African country of Gindra to destroy the stolen Metal Gear GANDER.
Metal Gear Acid
Set in 2016.
Released in 2004 for the PlayStation Portable. Later also ported to some cell phones.
Metal Gear Acid, sometimes written as Ac!d, is a straight spin-off. Instead of a stealth game, it is a turn-based strategy game in which you use trading cards to determine your actions. In Metal Gear Acid, a senator has been taken hostage by terrorists, and Solid Snake is sent to rescue him. Snake must also destroy the Metal Gear KODOQUE. This Solid Snake is an alternate version of the hero from the main games, and Metal Gear Acid has no ties to the main games.
Metal Gear Acid 2
Released in 2005 for the PlayStation Portable.
Metal Gear Acid 2, like its predecessor, is a turn-based strategy game. A clone of that game’s Solid Snake is tasked with infiltrating a research facility. While there, he encounters Metal Gear Chaioth Ha Qadesh, which he obviously destroys.
Metal Gear Solid Mobile
Released in 2008 for various cell phones, including the Nokia N-Gage
Metal Gear Solid Mobile is a mobile game similar in gameplay to Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3. The story takes place between MGS1 and 2 when Snake and Otacon first track down the Metal Gear REX. Metal Gear Solid Mobile’s place within the series is highly disputed. Although clearly related to MGS2, the game has never been recognized as canon by Hideo Kojima or Konami.
Metal Gear Solid: Social Ops
Released in 2012 for iPhone and Android phones.
Metal Gear Solid: Social Ops is a game for smartphones. The story is based on the events from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, yet the gameplay is more similar to that of the Metal Gear Acid games.
This Metal Gear Solid Timeline has been composed with as much care as possible. Nevertheless, an error may have crept into our chronological order. Are you an even bigger Metal Gear fan than we are? Please contact us and tell us what we did wrong!