Hideo Kojima nearly got sued for ripping off Escape from New York

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Except he didn’t because he actually didn’t really rip off anything. If you’ve watched Escape from New York recently (or just fondly remember it), it’s hard not to look at Metal Gear Solid’s Snake/Big Boss and not see the on-the-nose resemblance. The eye patch with the long flowing mullet, all brought together by a gruff voice that just oozes badass. And the fact that Escape from new York’s lead is also called…well…Snake.

It’s no secret that Kojima designed his own lead with strong references to Snake Plissken. He loves the film so much that an alias Solid Snake went by in Metal gear Solid II was actually and even more blatant reference, with the character going by the name “Iroquois Plissken” for most of the game. At a time the IP owners of Escape from New York, CanalPlus, actually wanted to take the game designer to court over it. Until John Carpenter himself told them not to.

“[CanalPlus] wanted to also go after the video game Metal Gear Solid, which is kind of a rip-off of Escape From New York, too, but I told them not to do that. I know the director of those games, and he’s a nice guy, or at least he’s nice to me.”

Carpenter’s admiration for Kojima aside (although it is quite hilarious to think that’s why he wasn’t sued), Metal Gear Solid really doesn’t bear much else in common with the film. It isn’t about an agent sent into a massive prison to rescue the President’s daughter (although Resident Evil 4 almost fits that mold). Aside from the neat throwback in Snake himself, there’s nothing else that the two have in common, which would’ve probably made the case weak to begin with.

Hideo Kojima previously explained why he chose Snake as a name, but it’s confusing and weird and not at all as endearing as just admitting it was a throwback to a piece of film he really liked. Although now I can’t really see anyone else but Snake Plissken taking down Metal Gears.

Last Updated: October 28, 2015

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