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Raiden is our playable character for the main part of the game.

He's an ideal representative of us (the players) in the Metal Gear world, because we literally control his actions. He is our character as "we" run around playing the game. From an ideological standpoint, meanwhile, he's a blank slate. He doesn’t stand for anything, and has no true “self”. As was explained in the first part of this series, Kojima wanted to force the player to identify with Raiden.

But this doesn't mean he isn't a symbol himself. He obviously represents Solid Snake in the sense that the Big Shell was modelled after Shadow Moses—this much is explained during the talk about the Solid Snake Simulation—but he's also reminiscent of Meryl. Think about relationship between Raiden and Solid Snake early in the game: both are huge fans of Solid Snake, and wish that they were in FOXHOUND (Meryl had a tattoo of the old FOXHOUND logo on her arm, while Raiden actually believes he is part of the group). Neither has real combat experience, but they both take lessons from Snake in order to become stronger and gain his approval. Also, notice that when first encountering Vamp, Snake tells Raiden, “Shoot him! What are you waiting for!” This is practically the same thing he tells Meryl in Shadow Moses when they first encountered enemies together.

Truer than we'd care to admit.

Actual information about Raiden is scarce and contradictory, and we never learn what the real truth is. This is illustrated repeatedly at the end of the game, by throwing his dogtags away as well as his question to Rose at the end of the game: "Who am I really...?" The player is forced to decide who Raiden was, and who will be now. He teaches us to be sure of ourselves, find the truth, and fight for it.

Raiden is a symbol of identity crisis, counterfeit memes, and fresh potential.



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