Darkest Endings In The Series


  • Metal Gear Solid 2
    ends on a surprisingly positive note, with Raiden completing his mission and finding support from Solid Snake.
  • The non-canon Otacon Ending in
    Metal Gear Solid
    leaves Snake uncertain about his future, infected with FoxDie, and having lost loved ones.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
    features a powerful ending where Snake declares he is done being a Snake, and the world’s fate is forever changed.

The Metal Gear series is filled with tactical espionage action and convoluted characters. Most of the Metal Gear games feature lengthy cutscenes that allow players to better understand the characters involved, which helps to make the endings involved even darker than their conception realizes, all thanks to the mind of Hideo Kojima.


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With over 7 games in the mainline Metal Gear Solid series, it’s a good time to look at the games available and see which of them feature dark endings that make players stare blankly and with upset as the credits begin to roll, especially with the fates of characters, and even the free world, forever changed as a result of the dance between Snakes.

Updated on March 24, 2024, by Jake Fillery: While fans eagerly await to see the resurgence of MGS content with Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater, it’s a great time to look back at one of the reasons the series is so iconic. Not only do fans love the visionary creativity from Hideo Kojima, or the gameplay and characters, but it’s the rewarding endings that tie things in such a perfect bow. These endings are often dark in nature, and the best Metal Gear endings can provide players with emotional conclusions about their favorite characters, as well as a payoff and understanding of the subtext involved.

Raiden Walks His Own Path, And Solid Snake Continues His Mission

Metal Gear Solid 2

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

November 13, 2001


Somehow, Metal Gear gets a happy ending with Metal Gear Solid2. The game may have featured many twists and turns involving AI, a new evil Snake, and a looming shadow threat, but it ends with peace, with Solidus Snake successfully defeated. Raiden has completed his mission, and although he might question who or what he is, he has Solid Snake by his side to support him.

Snake encourages Raiden to carry on, and even though Raiden seems lost in the darkness, another figure among the bustling crowds, he sees Rose, and the two reunite after what feels like forever. The game ends on an inspiring note, but knowing Raiden becomes a cyborg leaves some darkness in the ending, especially when the threats he tried to contain, like the Patriots, Ocelot, Vamp, and more, are still out there.

Raiden Leaves Everyone Behind To Fight His Own War

Raiden with bloody sword.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

February 19, 2013

Raiden went through the wringer in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Whilst the game takes a detour from the series format, it’s equally as memorable, especially thanks to its villains, like Senator Armstrong, and some notably cheesy lines from Raiden himself. Raiden manages to stop the sinister plot from Armstrong, but not without his fair share of killing and breaking allegiances, leaving him alone. Whilst most might remember Raiden’s hacking and slashing throughout MGR: R, and fear “Jack the Ripper”, there’s still hope for the character, as Sunny still knows who Raiden is, and knows that despite who he has hurt, Raiden is a hero.

Raiden leaves everyone behind for his own war, which is rather tragic in a sense, as it shows he can’t live the peaceful life with his youth as Solid Snake wanted him, and that despite having Rose and John, Raiden is instead going to, most likely, become a newer-reformed version of Big Boss, with ideals on war and fighting for cause.

Meryl Dies, & Snake Must Live On Knowing He’s Infected With FoxDie

mgs1 otacon

Metal Gear Solid

October 20, 1998

Konami Computer Entertainment Japan


Although this is not the canon ending to Metal Gear Solid, it certainly is one that players can make depending on if they succumb to Ocelot’s torture. Meryl will die, and he has no choice but to leave the Shadow Moses facility before it is destroyed. Although there are some words of encouragement from Otacon, it still does not change the facts.


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Snake is infected with FoxDie, and he will have to live without knowing if he will be killed prematurely due to this infection, provided by the government that he worked for. Although Metal Gear Solid may have a hopeful ending, it still leaves room for some darkness, since Snake has lost his brother, a friend, and basically his job.

Snake Becomes Big Boss, Creating A Haven For Soldiers That Changes The World

Kaz And Snake (Big Boss) on top of a helipad looking at the ocean

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

June 8, 2010


Nuclear war is imminent in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and Snake is tasked with once again killing The Boss, whose AI has taken control of the Peace Walker unit. Luckily, there’s still a fragment of the real Boss inside this machine, and it drowns itself whilst singing to sever the connection that could plunge the world into a nuclear war. Snake surrenders his bandanna to the sea, and declares that he is done because the Boss betrayed him by giving up on being a soldier.

Snake isn’t done with the fight, but he’s done with being a Snake. Instead, Snake emerges as Big Boss, and thus, the fate of the world is forever changed due to what acts he commits in the name of peace and freedom. The true ending also features Big Boss now in Outer Heaven with a new mercenary business to challenge the world economy.

Big Boss Dies Giving Hope To His Son, Old Snake, Allowing Him To Live Out His Last Few Years

Solid Snake & Big Boss, Metal Gear Solid 4 Screenshot

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

June 12, 2008


The ending to Metal Gear Solid4 is bittersweet. The tale of Solid Snake, and the Snakes, comes to a close. However, players might not see it as a happy ending, considering Solid Snake is gagging on the barrel of a gun, destined to die because of the FoxDie virus inside him. Snake has no reason to live anymore, as the war is won, the violence is over.


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Yet, not all hope is gone, as Snake is reunited with his father, Big Boss, who brings in Solid Snake for a hug. The two share a final moment, as Big Boss is going to die due to the FoxDie virus. With Big Boss’ death, the cycle of war finally ends. However, perhaps even darker, the original ending involved Otacon and Snake being executed for war crimes.

Mother Base Is Destroyed By XOF, & Big Boss Is Put Into A Coma


Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes

March 18, 2014


Big Boss had kept fans waiting for years for a new Metal Gear Solid game, and Ground Zeroes seemed like a great demo to show the prologue for the main game and the stellar Fox Engine that remains one of the greatest gaming engines of all time. The story itself has Big Boss infiltrating an American black site to search for his allies, Paz and Chico. Through his stealth expertise, Snake manages to extract them, but things go south when he gets to Paz.

Whilst leaving on a helicopter, Paz is revealed to have C4 inside of her due to surgery, as part of Skull Face’s plan. Despite a bloody removal, they arrive at Mother Base to find it under siege by XOF. Losing their home, the team leaves, only for Paz to leap from the helicopter to kill herself and avoid others dying, as she has another bomb within her. Big Boss loses Mother Base, Paz, and even himself, as The Phantom Pain begins after a 9-year coma.

Venom Snake Is Revealed To Be Big Boss’ Phantom, & He Must Die Fighting Solid Snake So The Real Big Boss May Live On

Hidden Modern Mechanics- Metal Gear Solid 5

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

September 1, 2015

As another prequel set before Solid Snake’s time, Metal Gear Solid5 has the titular character of Big Boss in some strange circumstances. For one, he has shrapnel lodged into his head, and he has a metal arm. The mystery of this “Punished” Venom Snake was uncovered at the end of the game, and it turns out that this is not the real Big Boss, but a carefully orchestrated imitation. Big Boss leaves Venom Snake a recording, stating that they are both Big Boss.

It’s a pretty dark ending, as for the sake of his beliefs and his friendship with Big Boss, Venom Snake has to continue the lie, knowing that he is not in fact the real Big Boss, but just an idea, the physical image of what he thinks Big Boss would do. It’s even sadder realizing that this character’s fate is sealed, and he will be killed by Solid Snake.

Naked Snake Is Forced To Kill His Mentor To Avoid A Nuclear War

Snake and Boss facing each other in a field of white flowers.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

November 17, 2004


Few endings are as dark as Metal Gear Solid3. This game sets up the franchise, and it’s a beloved prequel. It’s not a surprise that this game is getting a remake, considering just how adored it is for its gameplay and story. The ending is truly a dark one, as not only is Naked Snake named Big Boss, and the prime subject for the Les Enfants Terribles program, but he learns the truth of his traitorous mentor, The Boss.

Snake learns that the Boss was no traitor, but a real American patriot, who pretended to betray her country to stop a global war. Her final mission would have her buried by the one man she trained, and it’s a teary ending, one that sets Big Boss down a dark path where redemption seems impossible.


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