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The S3 Plan (the Selection for Societal Sanity; initially believed to have stood for the Solid Snake Simulation due to misinformation) was a program run by the Patriots in order to manipulate world events and the decisions of individuals, as well as essentially mold these individuals. The S3 Plan was tested during the Big Shell Incident, on Raiden, unknowingly an agent of the Patriots.

The Big Shell Incident was, in fact, a recreation of the Shadow Moses Incident four years prior, in which Solid Snake had become a legend, being the "Big Boss" of his age. The Patriots had designed the Big Shell Incident into a recreation of Shadow Moses as they considered it the ultimate exercise for the S3 Plan. Revolver Ocelot had been misled by the Patriots into believing S3 stood for "Solid Snake Simulation" and was a system capable of equipping every soldier with combat abilities equal to those of Solid Snake.


There were many similarities between the two events, both planned and coincidental:


  • Both incidents occurred at isolated facilities in the middle of the ocean.
  • In both incidents, there was a threat of the bases being destroyed (ultimately, Shadow Moses was not destroyed while the Big Shell was).
  • In both incidents, Raiden/Snake required card keys to open higher level doors, in order to progress in their respective missions.


  • In both incidents, the operative made his way into the facility by swimming (Solid Snake / Iroquois Pliskin even did it twice).
  • In both incidents there was a need to use a Nikita to destroy a high voltage circuit panel to reach a new location.
  • Raiden was selected for the Plan due to his relationship with Solidus Snake, mirroring that between Solid Snake and Big Boss, with both operatives possessing similar motivations for stopping the terrorist leader.

Mission support

  • In both incidents, one major character (Meryl/Snake) viewed Snake as an idol, and Snake indirectly gave lectures to them about how to live on and why to live on respectively.
  • Snake/Raiden needing the help of a scientist named Emmerich that worked at the facility, with Emma filling in for Otacon. They each worked on some crucial parts of a Metal Gear and were the keys in destroying them.
  • Otacon wanting to rescue his stepsister Emma instead of Roy Campbell wanting to rescue his niece/daughter Meryl Silverburgh.
  • Snake was referred as the country's dirty secret as product of Les Enfants Terribles, while Raiden referred himself as a dirty reminder of a terrible mistake for being in Small Boy Unit. Both bore a past of being a sort of ultimate soldier.
  • In both incidents, someone that Otacon loved was killed.
  • Mei Ling/Rosemary as data analyst for saving data of Snake/Raiden.
  • One of mission supports, Naomi Hunter/Rosemary was a spy monitoring Snake/Raiden. They revealed their identities were faked.
  • Richard Ames was involved in both incidents (though he wasn't seen at Shadow Moses).
  • In both incidents, a member of the support team who had been impersonated by the enemy. Although Meryl's identity was revealed fairly early on whereas Olga's identity wasn't revealed until the mission was nearly over.
  • In both incidents, a second force was deployed as a diversion (the U.S. Air Force and SEAL Team 10) so that the operative could infiltrate the enemy facility more easily.
  • In both incidents, a member of the support team was blackmailed with the threat of someone close to them being killed. As a result, they were forced to betray their friends (Roy Campbell and Olga Gurlukovich, respectively).
  • A commanding officer referred as "Colonel" issued objectives to Snake/Raiden in both incidents, Snake was under Roy Campbell while Raiden was under a facsimile of Campbell. Both colonels knew about the whole picture of incidents, lied about them for successfully carrying out the mission and eventually resulted in disgust of Snake/Raiden.
  • Solid Snake was involved in both incidents (although his involvement in the Big Shell Incident was reportedly not planned by the Patriots. His appearance was directly planned by Liquid Snake so he could catalyze Liquid taking over Ocelot's body).
  • A Snake being part of the support under a false identity. Liquid as McDonell Miller and Snake as Iroquois Pliskin. The protagonists were afterwards unwillingly used by them (Solid Snake unknowingly activating Metal Gear REX for Liquid while Raiden being used as captive to help Snake sneak into Arsenal Gear)
  • A member of supporting team was held hostage (Meryl/Rosemary) to force Snake/Raiden to defeat the final enemy, Liquid/Solidus.


  • A "Snake" being in charge of the terrorists, and another Snake related to FOXHOUND being sent in to stop them (though the second Snake was quickly renamed Raiden, and he was revealed to be unrelated to FOXHOUND, due to being manipulated by Patriots' AI).
  • A "president" being held hostage.
  • The Sons of Liberty terrorists stood in for the Sons of Big Boss, with Dead Cell representing FOXHOUND, and the Gurlukovich Mercenaries representing the Genome Soldiers.
  • The terrorist leader was a product of the Les Enfants Terribles project.
  • Revolver Ocelot was involved in both incidents.
  • Gurlukovich Mercenaries were involved in both incidents.
  • Johnny Sasaki was involved in both situations (although this might have been the one similarity that was purely coincidental).
  • The terrorist leaders of both incidents tried to revive Big Boss's dream of Outer Heaven.
  • The Harrier battle standing in for the Hind battle.
  • Solidus shooting down the two SEAL Sikorsky Sea Hawks in a similar fashion to Liquid Snake shooting down the F-16 Fighting Falcons.
  • The (fake) ransom for $30 billion stands in for the ransom for $1 billion, Big Boss's body and the FOXDIE vaccine at Shadow Moses.
  • In both incidents, there was a third party who had an agent in the enemy base with Ocelot as the agent at Shadow Moses, and Fatman and Ocelot again during the Big Shell Incident.
  • Liquid Snake was involved in "both" incidents and piloted a Metal Gear in some way.
  • Solidus was involved in both incidents, the former from behind the scenes.
  • Near the end of both incidents, the terrorist leader knocked out the operative. When the operative woke up, the terrorist leader released and fought them equally.
  • Snake and Raiden were taken into an interrogation room to be probed in each incident.

Cyborg Ninja

  • The appearance of Cyborg Ninja, who had similar capabilities in some aspects including superior jumping and parrying bullets. They used high-frequency blades as well.
  • A mysterious Codec call from someone named "Deepthroat", though in Big Shell the contact would quickly changed their name to Mr. X, also this contact initially imitated the speech of the other contact in Shadow Moses, but gradually deviated from it. And like before, they warned about Claymore mines.
  • Revolver Ocelot's right arm was severed by the Cyborg Ninja in Shadow Moses and an attempt to do the same was made by the Cyborg Ninja in the Big Shell.
  • The bodies in the corridor before Raiden first saw Vamp were similar to the ones killed by the Cyborg Ninja just before Snake fought him.
  • In both incidents, the Cyborg Ninja saved the operative from being killed by Metal Gears. This action ultimately led to the Cyborg Ninja being killed by the terrorist leader.
  • In both incidents, prior to being killed by the terrorist leader, the Cyborg Ninja personally addressed the operative with their final words.


  • Emma's computer virus mimicking the effects of FOXDIE.
  • The deaths of Richard Ames and James Johnson standing in for the deaths of Donald Anderson and Kenneth Baker, respectively. In both cases, one was a president and the other a member of the Patriots. Ames and Baker died from an apparent heart attack, while the real Anderson and Johnson were "accidentally" killed by Revolver Ocelot. Only Ames and Baker both died besides Snake/Raiden
  • Decoy Octopus (disguised as Anderson) died from an heart attack caused by FOXDIE besides Snake, similar to James Johnson dying besides Raiden.
  • In both incidents, a virus had two purposes: FOXDIE was to kill the Sons of Big Boss, those in the know about the REX project (i.e., Kenneth Baker and Donald Anderson), and (albeit unplanned) Solid Snake and at the same time ensure that REX and the Genome bodies could be recovered without risk of damage; while Emma's worm cluster was to stop Arsenal Gear and simulate FOXDIE's effects, as well as erase any leads to the Patriots.
    • The real Donald Anderson never came contact with FOXDIE before he died, but a blood transfusion from his body to Decoy Octopus's caused FOXDIE to target the latter's body and therefore killed the latter.
  • Revolver Ocelot calls Snake/Raiden "carrier-boy", referring to the virus in their possession.

Metal Gear

  • A new type of Metal Gear and a threat of a nuclear strike.
  • In both incidents, there was more to the locations than met the eye as Shadow Moses was to test Metal Gear REX while the Big Shell was to cover up the construction for Arsenal Gear and for the S3 Plan itself.
  • Near the end of both incidents, the operative needed to fight Metal Gear(s) with a Stinger missile launcher.


  • Naomi Hunter sought vengeance on Solid Snake due to Snake killed Big Boss, her father figure in Zanzibar land, while Fortune sought vengeance on Solid Snake during the Big Shell incident, which Snake was framed as the killer of Scott Dolph, her father.

Final stages of the S3 Plan

After Arsenal Gear crashed into Manhattan, another AI contacted Raiden through his Codec and explained that Ocelot had been incorrect, and that S3 actually stood for Selection for Societal Sanity. By manipulating the information that surrounded the incident, the Patriots had proved that they could manipulate world events as well as mold individuals as they see fit. Using the data they collected from this exercise, their AIs would be improved even more.

Though GW was presumed destroyed by Emma's worm cluster, the Patriots succeeded in obtaining the necessary data that it had accumulated.[1] The worm, however, did delete any information about the Wisemen's Committee, the 12 people that supposedly headed the Patriots.


As a direct result of the S3 Plan, the Patriots' AIs began preparations to control people on the civilian level. They also created the Sons of the Patriots system through AT Corp and the war economy, thus perfecting what they saw as absolute control over warfare during their dominion, up until their demise via infection by FOXALIVE.

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.[?]

Raiden would briefly allude to the S3 Plan's connection to his mission to Courtney Collins, when he said, in reply to her commenting that his shooting down a Harrier with missiles must have been a "crazy op," that Courtney "didn't know the half of it."

Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.

Behind the scenes

If the player kills Solid Snake after reuniting with him in the Arsenal Gear portion of the Plant Chapter, sometimes Solidus will be heard laughing during the Game Over sequence.

In the ending for the non-canon game Metal Gear Solid Mobile, it is heavily implied that they chose Raiden for the S3 Plan largely because their attempt at using Solid Snake as a guinea pig for the project caused a crash in the simulation due to unforseen circumstances.

According to Project Itoh's novelization for Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, a prototype version of the system that would form the S3 Plan, and later the SOP System, was essentially responsible for Ocelot's transformation into Liquid Ocelot.

The true events of the Peace Walker Incident in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, as told by Paz Ortega Andrade, bear several similarities to the head AI's exposition to the true nature of the S3 Plan.

A Codec conversation with Courtney in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has Raiden mention that he and other recruits for FOXHOUND trained in Fort Polk in a mockup of an Afghan village, hinting that there were other candidates besides Raiden to undergo the S3 Plan, although Raiden was ultimately chosen for the Big Shell Incident.


Notes and references

  1. ^ Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2001).
    Colonel: (sneering) Ha, ha, ha ...exactly right. So you see, you’re a perfect representative of the masses we need to protect. This is why we chose you. You accepted the fiction we’ve provided, obeyed our orders and did everything you were told to. The exercise is a resounding success. // Colonel (Emma): Didn’t I tell you that GW was still incomplete? But not anymore, thanks to you. // Colonel: Your persona, experiences, triumphs and defeats are nothing but by-products. The real objective was ensuring that we could generate and manipulate them. It’s taken a lot of time and money, but it was well worth it considering the results. // Raiden: ... // Colonel: I think that’s enough talk. It’s time for the final exercise.