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The Arguments Against


The discussion of the VR Theory is long over, especially with the release of Metal Gear Solid 4, but the arguments defending the 'traditional reality' of MGS2 generally fell along these lines:


Objection Answer
The game would suck if it was VR; there's no way it could be true; you're just overanalyzing; you are hereby guilty of blasphemy and sacrilege, and shall be burned at the stake as the heretic that you are!

These are all the same objection, which is simply summed up as dismissiveness. Instead of looking at the evidence and considering it, this tactic rejects the theory on some other ground:

Firstly, just because you think it would 'make the game suck' that doesn't mean it isn't true; plenty of artists have designed their projects to be controversial and even unpopular for the sake of proving a point, and Kojima isn't beyond that.

As for overanalyzing, this would be a good point in the case of most games or movies, except that MGS2 was clearly meant to be held under a microscope, judging by its consistent themes, methods and hints. How closely? We don't know.

Finally, the intimidating dismissal is pointless and silly, since we're all simply interpreters, not actual authorities. Attitude is a poor subsitute for logical argument.

You don't have any absolute proof. True, but neither do you. Only Kojima can say whether the game was originally meant to take place in a VR setting, and he hasn't revealed that yet.
If it was VR, then what is the point? As the game suggests, the point is to find meaning and morals in its subtext, regardless of how "real" it is. Ultimately, it's fiction either way.
If Kojima really wanted people to find out that it was VR, why didn't he come out and admit it at some point? Why put so much effort into it, and then leave it to be misunderstood? Since the game was designed to test the player's competence and willingness to see things for what they are, being misunderstood is not a failure on Kojima's part, but a key part of the test. He wanted to challenge the players with more than their gameplay skills, but on an intellectual (meme) level. Revealing his secrets would ruin the fun for the player and Kojima.
If it was VR he wouldn't have included the after-credits conversation. The after-credits conversation about the Patriots being dead for a hundred years is reconciled to the VR Theory with the assumption that, regardless of whether the Patriots are controlling what the player sees and hears at that point, the result is the same: without the revelations of Snake Eater or Portable Ops, it basically serves to make the whole mission a dead end. There's no lead to follow and the game ends on a question mark; the same is true if the events are all a computer simulation.
If the theory were true, then who is Raiden really, and how did Raiden become hooked up to this VR? How does it all fit together? What about the implications? This is another non-argument, because it's beside the point. The VR Theory are only attempts to look at the given evidence in order to figure out how real the mission was, not deal with the ramifications or implications if the theory were true. However, I would guess that Raiden is a real person who volunteered to enter Force XXI and undergo VR training, subsequently being locked into a false reality of meeting Rose and joining FOXHOUND somewhere along the line.
Newer games invalidate the VR Theory by saying that MGS2's story was real.

This theory is only concerned with the game at the time of its release, not retroactive continuity. Kojima has openly revealed that he never intended to explain these things to begin with; this actually makes the VR Theory more valid, not less!

You're confusing the orchestration of the events and the S3 Plan with actual Virtual Reality. No, the evidence shows a pattern of computer simulated VR, not simply the planning of the events according to a "simulation".


The remaining arguments mostly arise from a partial version of the VR Theory, where, for example, only the Arsenal Gear section is inside Raiden's head, or only the Plant Chapter. I have yet to see a compelling argument against the actual evidence of the VR Theory, but then again the burden of proof is on those who are offering the new proposition, isn't it? We'll probably never have official proof of what Kojima originally intended MGS2's story to be, but hopefully you at least saw that the game doesn't make sense without such a theory.

If you have other arguments, send them to and I'll certainly consider them!


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