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Exhibit C: Tanker & The Plant Opening

 

During the Tanker Chapter, there is very little evidence to suggest that it is virtual reality. Aside from the absurd "possession" of Revoler Ocelot by Liquid Snake's amputated arm (a plot point that was rightfully mocked, but has since become widely accepted,) what is there to raise skepticism? It succesfully continues the known plot elements from Metal Gear Solid 1 (Ocelot's partnership with both Solidus and Gurlukovich, the sale of the REX data, Snake's newfound enlightenment, etc.) and Kojima makes no attempt to question the scenario.

In the end, Snake apparently dies and we are left wondering what happened as Raiden begins the main chapter of the game. The first thing we hear is a contradicting version of the events from the "Colonel", as we swim from who-knows-where to the Big Shell.

At this point, one might wonder how Raiden intended to enter the Big Shell in the first place? After all, we don't have any equipment to cut holes in fences, and Snake is "not part of the simulation", as we repetedly hear later. Just another logistics problem that Kojima didn't bother to think about? Or maybe it wasn't supposed to make sense.

After getting in, Raiden's codename is changed and we hear this:

Colonel: Just a precaution. You are now designated “Raiden.” All right, Raiden. You’ve already covered infiltration in VR Training.

Raiden: I’ve completed three hundred missions in VR. I feel like some kind of legendary mercenary...

Now while this is worthy of analysis on its own merits, there is another fact that makes it exponentially more interesting: this is only said if you have completed the Tanker Chapter.

Read their lines again if you must, but understand what this could mean. If you have completed the Tanker Chapter, and aren't simply starting from the Plant Chapter, you are told that Raiden has covered infiltration in VR Training, to which Raiden brags about feeling like "some kind of legendary mercenary", obviously referring to Solid Snake, his idol. When we keep in mind that most of Raiden's VR Training has simply been playing Metal Gear Solid VR Missions, isn't it possible that the Tanker Chapter we played through was the Tanker that Raiden went through...?

Raiden : I've gone through VR training of the Tanker mission before.

Snake : Yeah? Well I doubt it accurately simulates the events of that actual mission.

This raises more questions about why an imaginary/A.I. Solid Snake would cause Raiden to doubt the accuracy of his experience, but this will be convered in the third part of the article, along with arguments against analyzing these kinds of hints in the first place.

Then we get to the Name Entry screen, where the player/Raiden inputs his/her personal information, cleverly breaking the "Fourth Wall". It might just be laziness on the behalf of Kojima, but it's interesting that the Big Shell's computer terminals share the same stylized interface design as the game's own menus, as well as the "Mission Failed" screen...

It is at the Big Shell's computer nodes that we adjust our game settings. Is it simply clever game design, or does it double as something more meaningful, like so much in Sons of Liberty? I suppose that's for us to decide.

 

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