We Are All Solidus
No amount of metaphysical psuedo-science hilarity can compare to what comes next. Snake gets trapped within a non-existence limbo, while Solidus explains the bigger picture:
There was nothing there. There was no light, no sound, no feeling of temperature or even of height. Was this the singularity? I called Otacon. But it was Solidus who answered. “You’re in what’s called – how can I put this so you can understand it? – a gap between parallel universes.”
“Solidus?! What are you tryin to do?! Why are you trying to destroy the universe?!” I screamed.
Solidus explains that “when a VR system using the Koppelthorn Engine is instructed to build a virtual reality having a given set of conditions, it selects a group of universes having the potential to satisfy those conditions”, which means that, “what you call VR training is nothing less then the external observation of parallel universes!” This causes Snake to remember the feeling of possessing somebody else’s body.
Solidus’ voice echoed: “When you go through VR training, your actions within virtual reality are reflected in a set of corresponding universes. …. For example, let’s say you just killed an enemy soldier within the VR simulation. That means that the universe containing the killed soldier was observed and made definite. In other words, universes where the soldier has not been killed lose their indefinite potential and are erased from existence,” Solidus continued. “The only universe permitted to exist in the end is the one that doesn’t contradict the actions you took in the VR simulation.”
To put it in clearer terms:
“Do you realize what this means? When your game is over in the VR system and you try again, the potential for existence for that very universe is denied and eliminated as never having existed. That means that every single time you replay the game, an uncounted number of universes are destroyed!”
Without looking at the big picture, it’s hard to appreciate where this is going. This development takes the one thing that has always been dumb meaningless fun in the Metal Gear series (VR missions) and gives it the weight of infinite universes, just to spite all those players who want mindless action and ego-stroking. Substance includes hundreds of VR missions, after all, but the kicker is that Snake Tales was supposed to be the biggest attraction of all; and yet here, with this absurd and entirely non-canon plot twist in the final Snake Tale — which nobody could take seriously — Fukushima and Kojima throw everything we want out the window once again, and mock it once again, just as they did with Raiden and the Plant Chapter.
You want story-driven missions as Snake, and a whole bunch of VR on the side? How about a story-driven mission where Snake’s petty obsession with high scores in VR indirectly causes reality itself to implode? Harmless fun, or razor-sharp satire?
“Haven’t you ever felt like your body wasn’t your own, like you took an unexpected action after the fact? Or you were able to do something you didn’t think was possible? That’s because of interference from other universes.
“Perhaps the reason you were able to topple Shadow Moses is because of a helping hand from someone in another universe.”
Yes, External Gazer topples the fourth wall by suggesting that an outside observer was controlling Snake through Shadow Moses — somebody like us, who refused to acknowledge defeat and only kept the universe in which Snake won…
Solidus’ laugh echoed through the space. “Through my research into parallel universes, I learned that I was killed many times in different worlds. I decided to protect my selves. I refuse to recognize any universe when I am killed! And that’s why I decided to make thing right with the VR system.
I interfere with other parallel universes using the VR system and control them such that I won’t die there. I don’t care how much of a disturbance I create or how many contradictory universes are eliminated. The only things that’s important is my survival. Period.”
“Do you really have the right to criticize me? Haven’t you refused to recognize your own failures within the VR simulation by retrying a level again?” Solidus laughed at my lack of a comeback.
Refusal to recognize failure. Denying mistakes and embracing victories; denying the unflattering past; ignoring our flaws and plowing forward despite everything. Pretending, deluding ourselves into thinking we’re heroes, and feeling good about it. These are the crimes of Raiden in Sons of Liberty. This is why the Patriots felt justified in controlling consciousness, and how they manipulated Raiden into proving their theories right. This is why Kojima betrayed his fans with Raiden, and nearly destroyed the Metal Gear universe in his own twisted manner. He sees ignorant fans (and no doubt the identity crisis of the twenty first century) as selfish and delusional, and too busy seeking glory to stop and contemplate the our own responsibilities and the ugly truth.
The shallow worship of MGS1 proved this perfectly, and the overwhelming backlash to MGS2 confirmed it. Would we destroy a real universe in order to protect a fantasy? A fantasy that we never lose? This is a false sense of accomplishment. It could lead to a false sense of superiority. An egocentric mentality. Bragging rights, for finally beating a silly VR mission after your 104th attempt. A feeling that we understand everything we need to, and don’t have to improve ourselves or question things.