The following is a list of recurring fictional characters that appeared throughout the Metal Gear series in more than one canonical installment. The series' canon comprises (not including re-releases and remakes) Metal Gear (MG) and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (MG2) for the MSX2, Metal Gear Solid (MGS) for the PlayStation, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (MGS2) and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (MGS3) for the PlayStation 2, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (MPO) for the PSP Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (MGS4) for the PlayStation 3 and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (MPW) for the PSP.
Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake center around the rivalry between protagonist Solid Snake and his commanding officer-turned-nemesis Big Boss. This rivalry served as the basis of the Les Enfants Terribles storyline introduced in Metal Gear Solid, where Solid Snake is revealed to be a clone/son of Big Boss, along with his two brothers: Liquid Snake and Solidus Snake. In Metal Gear Solid 2, Raiden is initially introduced with the codename "Snake" before being given the codename "Raiden". In Metal Gear Solid 3, it is revealed that Big Boss's former codename was "Naked Snake".
Solid Snake ("born" in 1972 by the project "Les Enfants Terribles") (voiced by Akio Ōtsuka in Japanese and David Hayter in English) is the series' protagonist and the player's character in Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2 and Metal Gear Solid. In Metal Gear Solid 2, he is playable only in the main game's prologue sequence, Portable Ops is a prequel set before his birth. In Guns of the Patriots due to his aging process being quickened and gaining the appearance of an old man he is given the nickname Old Snake and is the playable character once more. The reason of the rapid aging process was not part of any external source, it was merely the way he was designed as a clone. At the end of Metal Gear Solid he reveals his real name is David.
Big Boss (voiced as a young man by Akio Ōtsuka in Japanese and David Hayter in English, and as an elder man by Chikao Ohtsuka in Japanese and Richard Doyle in English), also known as the greatest soldier that ever lived. He only gains the title "Big Boss" after defeating the legendary war hero "The Boss" in the penultimate battle of Metal Gear Solid 3 and is presented with this title by the President. Big Boss is introduced as Solid Snake's commanding officer in Metal Gear, but reveals himself to be the enemy leader at the end of the game. He fights Snake a second time in Metal Gear 2, apparently killed. In Metal Gear Solid, his remains are part of a terrorist group's ransom demand. He appears as the protagonist of Metal Gear Solid 3, Portable Ops, and Peace Walker under the identity of Naked Snake. In Metal Gear Solid 3 he is referred to as Jack by the Boss and Major Zero on numerous occasions. When Ocelot asks for his real name, he tells him "John." Jack is the diminutive form of the name John in English. Big Boss makes his final appearance in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.
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