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The microfilm containing records of the Philosophers' Legacy, in 1964.

The Philosophers' Legacy was a slush fund of one hundred billion dollars collected by the highest powers in China, the Soviet Union, and the United States around the time of World War II. During World War II, a secret pact was concluded between the Philosophers, that eventually resulted in the creation of the Legacy.

The Philosophers from the three countries pooled their assets in order to secure victory in the war by developing the technologies that would define warfare for decades to come; rocketry, nuclear weapons and superhuman soldiers (such as the Cobra Unit), with Volgin claiming the amount of money being pooled in to form what would become the Legacy was enough to fight World War II five times over.[1] Although it was intended that the funds for the Legacy be split up amongst America, the Soviet Union, and China after World War II, these funds were stolen and were then divided and hidden in secret bank accounts in Switzerland, Hong Kong, Australia and other such economic strongholds after the war. The records of the transactions were stored on a single microfilm; the only means to access the vast fortune. The usage of the Legacy was also the reason why both the Soviet Union and America managed to gain the best scientific minds from Germany after the war ended.[2]

One of the main reasons why the Cold War began was because all of the three nations wanted the Legacy for themselves. The Philosophers had been disbanded into three groups, holding the true power of the supernations, all fighting for the Legacy. They knew that who ever possessed the Legacy would win the Cold War and become the dominant superpower.

Boris Volgin was in charge of the Philosophers' money laundering activities, and in the confusion of the Second World War, obtained the microfilm for the benefit of the USSR. After Boris's death, the Legacy was illegally passed on to his son, Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin of GRU, who used the money to build his own personal fortress and fund the development of various advanced weapons (i.e. Hinds, WiGs, flying platforms, and heavily customized tanks), and later to fund the completion of the Shagohod, after he had stolen the prototype from the Sokolov Design Bureau. Regarding the latter, the legacy's wealth was massive enough that Soviet researcher Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov even speculated that Volgin, if he so desired, could start mass-production of the Shagohod as early as the day after the Shagohod prototype's completion via his use of the Legacy.[3] When it was finally discovered that Volgin was the one who possessed this apparently lost treasure, the Shagohod was already nearing completion, so the Chinese government quickly dispatched their own agent, EVA, to recover it, while the CIA quickly dispatched their own agents, The Boss and later Naked Snake, to recover it as well. Volgin kept its exact location, and even his even owning it, a secret from the Groznyj Grad personnel[4] until he revealed it while high from torturing Snake shortly after capturing him.[5]

Naked Snake retrieves the microfilm from The Boss.

During Operation Snake Eater, EVA was supposedly successful in recovering the Legacy, but, unbeknownst to her, the film she obtained was actually a fake. This failure in her mission caused EVA to lose her reputation and credibility. The real microfilm eventually made its way into America's hands, thanks to the actions of Snake, The Boss, and the Philosophers' triple spy Ocelot. However, the CIA were only able to recover half of the Legacy using the film, and it was assumed that the KGB possessed the other half. Some time later, Ocelot eventually located the remainder of the Legacy, though he kept it for himself.

Warning: The following information is from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." Its canonicity within the continuity is disputed, therefore reader discretion is advised.[?]

In 1970, Ocelot and Zero set up Gene's San Hieronymo Incident as a ploy to obtain the remainder of the Legacy. When Ocelot confronted the CIA Director, the latter told him about documents which revealed where portions of the Legacy were located.[6] Afterwards, Ocelot assassinated the CIA Director and obtained the other half of the Legacy, which was then used to fund the creation of the Patriots.

Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.

During the Peace Walker Incident in 1974, the Patriots told EVA that the Legacy had been put to "good use."[7]

Behind the scenes

Details on the Philosophers' Legacy microfilm.

The Philosophers' Legacy is a slush fund that first appeared in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Adjusted for inflation, 100 billion dollars in 1945 would be equal to 1.4 trillion dollars in today's money.[8]

The circumstances regarding EVA's recovery of the fake microfilm at the end of Metal Gear Solid 3 is never explicitly revealed. Later games, like Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, state that Snake handed this particular microfilm to the CIA, suggesting that EVA had obtained her copy elsewhere.

According to Hideo Kojima's commentary on Metal Gear Solid 3, the cutscenes that explained the Philosophers' Legacy were to have been accompanied by artwork of various paintings, gold, and silver that had been stolen by the Nazis, as well as various images of World War II, implying that the Legacy was comprised of historical treasures that the Allied Powers had recovered after the war. However, these were cut from the final version, and are instead replaced with images of various documents and blueprints. Similarly, one scene, specifically Aleksandr Leonovitch Granin's account, was also to have had a still image where Volgin was shown murdering his father, which was also cut from the final version.[9]

In the Metal Gear Solid 4 Database, it is stated that the director of the CIA had kept the Philosophers' Legacy for himself, and he had also lied to the U.S. Government about Operation Snake Eater being a failure in regards to the Legacy's recovery.[10]


  1. ^ Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Konami Coputer Entertainment Japan (2004).
    Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin: And [the Philosophers] amassed an enormous sum of money to fund these projects. Enough to fight the war five times over...
  2. ^ Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2004).
    Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin: After the war was won, the three countries were to divide the Philosophers' Legacy amongst themselves. This explains why the United States and the Soviet Union were able to steal away the best scientific minds in Germany as soon as the war ended.
  3. ^ Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2004).
    Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov: [Volgin's] funds [the Philosophers' Legacy] are nearly limitless. He could start mass production [of the Shagohod] tomorrow if he wanted.
  4. ^ Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2004).
    Tatyana: You can count on me. What about the Philosophers' Legacy? // Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov: I don't know anything about that. (Tatyana pulls out her tube of lipstick) What are you...! Are you trying to kill me? // Tatyana: What's the matter? // Sokolov: I know nothing. I swear it! No one but the colonel knows of the Legacy!
  5. ^ Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2004).
    Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin: No matter. The Philosophers' Legacy is safely in my possession, in the underground vault of Groznyj Grad. (EVA, The Boss, and Ocelot briefly give looks at each other)
  6. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Kojima Productions (2006).
    DCI: I'm aware of that. I'm heading for the shelter as soon as I can. But I can't leave these documents here. // Ocelot: Documents? Related to the Philosophers? // DCI: Yes. A list of members, along with data, locations of portions of the Legacy stashed around the world. So long as we have these - even if the United States does perish in an atomic storm - the Philosophers will be born again.
  7. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kojima Productions (2010).
    Briefing Files > Briefing Library > Data Files > Message from EVA > Session 1
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Metal Gear Solid 4 Database: Operation Snake Eater