Metal Gear Solid V is the most stereotypical video game out of the video games I have been blogging about. It is a typical war, action-adventure game in line with games like Call of Duty and Battlefield. It is also by far the most political game I have played. When playing The Last of Us or The Room 2, it was easy to focus on what the game play and game mechanics did. In Metal Gear Solid V, it is hard to not think about the military’s role in our society, and specifically America’s role in foreign issues.
One of the missions places Venom Snake, the main playable character, in an African village where there is an oil refinery. Venom Snake must destroy the oil refinery, because the company that owns it is refusing to acknowledge that it is ruining the clean water supply in the area. An environmental NGO has hired Venom Snake to do this mission. Though this mission seems like the morally right stance, it is also revealed that destroying this refinery will help another corporation greatly.
This moral dilemma seems to be apt to situations the U.S. military or even the United Nations peace keeping forces often function in. In stopping one evil, they give opportunities for other evils to arise. Yet, simultaneously, because it is a stereotypical video game, you cannot stop play and think about whether to do the mission or not. Yes, you could quit the game, but there is not an option of choosing an alternative mission or doing the mission in a different way. But then again, that is not the goal of the developers of this game. They want to create an immersive war video game. Though they may include political issues in the game, the point is not to address them, but to include them to make the game more realistic.
I want to continue to explore the politics that Metal Gear Solid V addresses as I continue to play. Perhaps they will address it openly and provide different choices for the player. But if they do not, I want to investigate further what it means to present these geopolitical issues within a video game that does not allow much thought about the issues.