|This article is about virtual reality. You may be looking for augmented reality or the video game Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions.|
- "War as a video game -- what better way to raise the ultimate soldier?"
- ―Iroquois Pliskin
Virtual reality (VR) is a term that applies to computer-simulated environments that can simulate physical presence in places in the real world, as well as in imaginary worlds.
A virtual reality program designed by the U.S. Army Force XXI program was developed to help train rookie operators and keep veterans sharp in the ways of combat, stealth, etc. The missions took place in a VR environment, so not only did it guarantee safety, but the programs could be edited to produce almost any situation possible. As a result, the missions could range from simple combat training, to fighting a flying saucer, and more advanced combat simulations. Most commonly, the virtual environment appeared as a generic grid-like platform, but real life environments could also be uploaded.
The missions are generally divided into three modes: sneaking mode, weapons mode and alternative mode. Sneaking mode consists of simple sneaking missions, where the user is forbidden to use weapons and as such had to sneak past any simulated guards. In weapons mode, as its name suggests, the user can use weapons, but gains bonus points for unused bullets or for not "killing" the enemies. Finally, alternative mode contains an array of missions with different objectives so that the user can practice specific skills, such as bomb disposal or minding.
Besides VR training for direct combat, there were also VR training programs relating to areas within combat indirectly, such as piloting weapons.
However, there are some negative side-effects to VR training, such as leaving the user with a diminished sense of reality, as commented upon by Solid Snake regarding Raiden's comments about not being able to distinguish reality from fiction before the latter admitted that he was actually referring to field training from his days as a child soldier. The other negatives is that VR training, in some cases is not enough as when Armstech tested Metal Gear REX they needed real life launch data to have the project fully finished REX. Individuals, such as Snake, view VR training as ineffective which is more or less true as since it is not real life training it will remove the fear, as on the battlefield fear can make a soldier more careful.
Besides combat training, virtual reality was also developed for research purposes as well as for actual combat during the late 1990s and early 2000s. The former allowed for mechanized weapons projects, nuclear detonation projects (which also require sub-critical tests to acquire data for simulation) and other development projects to be completed at only one actual stage of the project rather than several.
- Main article: Shadow Moses Incident
Before the Shadow Moses Incident, most of the members of the Next-Generation Special Forces were trained using VR training, but had little or no actual field experience. Solid Snake also utilized VR training on the Discovery prior to being deployed to Shadow Moses Island to quell the terrorist revolt/nuclear threat located there.
The Metal Gear REX development team, prior to the 2005 takeover, utilized virtual reality to go through various prototype stages for REX and then correct several flaws in the design, of which the necessary supercomputers for the VR development program were located in the chief engineer, Dr. Hal Emmerich's main office. This by extension resulted in its development consuming far less resources than it would have otherwise.
Because the cockpit for REX was entirely self-contained and indestructible, the pilot would utilize an environment similar to VR training to pilot REX, and get images via a radome, although it will be shut down if the radome is irreparably damaged, thus forcing the pilot to open up the cockpit and thus be vulnerable, a flaw that was deliberately engineered by Dr. Emmerich, as a means to ensure it had a weakness/"character flaw," and thus be "complete."
When the Metal Gear RAY prototype was being developed, pilots were required to have undergone VR training before piloting the mech. The Gurlukovich Mercenaries, learning of this development, had Revolver Ocelot undergo the proper VR training before their attempted theft of RAY, until Ocelot betrayed them during the attempted theft.
At some point between 2005 and 2009, Hal Emmerich underwent VR training with piloting the KA-62 civilian model, which by consequence allowed him to pilot the KA-60 Kasatka during the Big Shell Incident due to the two helicopters having similar controls.
Raiden underwent extensive VR training before infiltrating the Big Shell, having completed three hundred missions, including some relating to the Shadow Moses Incident and the Tanker Incident. However, he was unable to cover bomb disposal VR training prior to being dispatched to the Big Shell. According to Raiden when he encountered Pliskin, the VR training during that time allowed for pain sensation as well as a sense of reality and urgency, and was more efficient than field exercises.
VR training was succeeded by the SOP System by 2014. As the system allowed soldiers to gain the skills and senses of battlefield hardened veterans, without any combat experience or training at all, this proved much more efficient and time-saving, factors obviously important to the commercial PMCs. Otacon, however, created the Virtual Range based on the same concept, to allow Snake to practice his skills and test weapons he had acquired.
Although not VR training in the strictest sense, various PMCs often utilized first person shooter games distributed freely as a means of recruitment, according to Paradise Lost Army leader Big Mama.
- See also: Raid at World Marshal, Ambush in Africa, Abkhazian Coup, Investigation in Guadalajara, Raid in Denver, and Operation Tecumseh
|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.[?]|
After SOP fell, VR training resumed. During the events of 2018, after Raiden, now a Maverick agent, sustained serious injuries from an ambush from the PMC Desperado. Wilhelm "Doktor" Voight, a German cybernetics surgeon hired by Maverick to operate on Raiden, developed a VR training module to aid Raiden in getting used to the new abilities of his rebuilt body. A series of training modules were developed as Raiden gained the appropriate abilities. According to Raiden and Courtney Collins, VR training could be jacked up to cyborgs instantaneously, and it had become realistic to the point that it even was able to have participants feel a sword cut. Aside from cyborgs, VR could also be jacked up to unmanned gears, although unlike cyborgs, they could be accelerated due to their completely machine-based nature. Prior to being dispatched to Abkhazia by Mistral, the IF prototype LQ-84i was subjected to VR training, including a recreation of Desperado's earlier assassination of N'mani in Africa.
In addition, a major part of Desperado and their ally, World Marshal's plot concerns the use of a VR version of the "Sears Program," the brutal training regimen that Raiden was subjected to as a child, to train disembodied brains harvested from homeless children for use as cyborg soldiers. Metal Gear EXCELSUS, like REX before it, also utilized VR environments and holograms as the pilot's means to viewing the outside world.
In addition, several laptop computer terminals belonging to Desperado also contained some VR missions, which Raiden managed to procure during his missions. Then-freelance swordsman Samuel Rodrigues and the LQ-84i also encountered these terminals during his raid at World Marshal's HQ in Denver in 2016 and during the UG's AWOL status in Abkhazia, respectively.
After several brains were rescued from Mexico and Denver, they were placed into a VR module that was modified from a training program for AI weapons. Because of this, although relatively peaceful, the human programs were slightly unrealistic, and it was also getting expensive to keep them there as well as mass-produce cyborg bodies for the former children.
|Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.|
Behind the scenes
The Metal Gear Solid: Official Mission Handbook states that the VR training took place in Fort Knox.
In the non-canon game Metal Gear: Ghost Babel (localized in the international releases as Metal Gear Solid), there are a set of VR missions, called VR Special Stages, that the player can accomplish after beating the game. After completing all of them, No. 4, the person responsible for guiding the player throughout the stages, will congratulate the player for completing them, and refer to him/her as "Jack", implying that the player character was Raiden, that No. 4 worked for the Patriots, and that the VR missions were actually a means to train Raiden to become better than Solid Snake as an insurance policy in case the latter turned against him.
In Metal Gear Solid Mobile, VR played a key role in the plot, as Solid Snake was revealed late in the game to have been unwittingly subjected to VR testing after being abducted by a clandestine group (strongly implied to be the Patriots). In addition, the character Victoria Reed was a VR facsimile used by the Commander of a terrorist group to manipulate Solid Snake into allowing the terrorist group access to the facility to steal its Metal Gear, with Otacon realizing that Victoria Reed's name had been an obvious hint at her true purpose. After Snake, with some help from the real Otacon, proceeded to exceed the parameters of the VR simulation, the Patriots proceeded to wipe his memory and release him, while hinting that they plan on subjecting a more impressionable man named Jack to a similar procedure. After beating the game, the player can unlock an item during a repeat playthrough called the VR Goggles, which allows the player to see the "facility" in its true form as a massive VR environment.
- "VR GOGGLES
When equipped, enables users to view the simulation in its true VR form."
- ―VR Goggles description in Metal Gear Solid Mobile
The demo for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has Raiden going through areas that also seem to apparate, possibly implying that the levels were either VR Missions or even the Virtual Range. This was later confirmed in a video release of the gameplay tutorial. In the E3 and PAX demos, the VR training largely utilized a holographic representation of Abkhazia. It was changed in the released demo for Metal Gear Rising to a yellow VR environment with flat gridded textures, resembling the text textures used to ensure correct alignment in game development. The VR enviroment in the demo does not actually appear in the final game, and features a hidden Cardboard Box on a high walkway.
In a PlayStation Blog, it was revealed that the player can unlock additional VR missions from computers found throughout the game. It also revealed that completing each of the VR missions will result in some special rewards, although it elaborated no further on the subject.
VR mission terminals belonging to Desperado can be found throughout the game. Each unlocks one of twenty additional VR training missions; these resemble the Alfheim Portals of Bayonetta, another game by PlatinumGames Inc., each one a test of the player's skills under certain fixed conditions, including the difficulty level which is set according to the challenge rather than according to player preference. Raiden only has access to an unmodified HF Blade and his default FC and health during these challenges, along with any items which are found within the VR environment. The list of conditions:
- Kill all enemies.
- Ninja Kill all enemies (being detected counts as failure).
- Kill all enemies with Zandatsu (the spine-rip attack).
- Kill all enemies with a specific subweapon.
- Reach the goal.
- Reach the goal without being detected.
Completing these time-ranked challenges gradually unlocks three stat-changing Custom Bodies for Raiden, while placing first in all of them unlocks the HF Long Sword weapon.
In Metal Gear Rising, unlocking, completing, and beating the high score of all VR missions in the game will reward the player with the achievements/trophies "Analysis Complete," "VR Master," and "Virtually a God," respectively. Besides the regular VR missions, there are also 30 DLC VR missions, although they are only available for the PlayStation 3 version, presumably due to the Xbox 360 version's cancellation in Japan, although this is only the case with North America. They were distributed worldwide according to both Rising producer Yuji Koreikado and PlayStation Blog editor and Konami's Social Media Manager Dalton Link. They also implied that there were more DLC VR missions in development than just thirty. The DLC VR mission types include Raiden using a gatling gun to take down cardboard cutouts of cyborgs, a fleet of sliders and a RAY cardboard cutout, Raiden having to ninja kill soldiers from a large height, Raiden fighting several cyborgs and Raptors, as well as a Dwarf Gekko knocking out several cyborgs, traversing a VR environment with mines and Strykers on patrol in a similar manner to Frogger, and collecting several holochips while being pursued by a Gekko in a similar manner to Super Mario Bros.
- Metal Gear Solid: Integral
- Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions
- Metal Gear: Ghost Babel
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance
- Metal Gear Solid Mobile
- Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
- ^ Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2001).
Raiden: I’m not sure. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between reality and a game... // Solid Snake: Diminished sense of reality, huh? VR training will do that. // Raiden: No, it was field-training, when I was a kid.
- ^ Metal Gear Solid, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (1998).
This is explained in a Codec conversation should the player challenge VR missions before starting the main game.
- ^ Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2001).
Raiden, in a Codec call, mentions this to the Colonel when the latter attempts to explain Solid Snake's relation to both incidents. He also commented that Snake wasn't actually responsible for causing the latter incident, before being dismissed by the Colonel.
- ^ Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (script), Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2001).
Iroquois Pliskin: So this is your first? // Raiden: I’ve had extensive training -- the kind that’s indistinguishable from the real thing. // Pliskin: Like what? // VR training visuals (from previous title): edit together game screens from Snake’s VR missions. // Raiden: Sneaking mission 60, Weapons 80, Advanced -- // Pliskin: (disappointed) VR, huh? // Raiden: (indignant) But realistic in every way. // Pliskin: A virtual grunt of the digital age. That’s just great. // Raiden: That’s far more effective that live exercises. // Pliskin: You don’t get injured in VR, do you? Every year a few soldiers die in field exercises. // Edit in a game screen of Snake being shot by enemy soldiers during VR training. // Raiden: (defending himself) There’s a pain sensation in VR, and even a sense of reality and urgency. The only difference is that it isn’t actually happening. // Pliskin: That’s the way they want you to think, to remove you from the fear that goes with battle situations. War as a videogame -- what better way to raise the ultimate soldier.
- ^ Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Kojima Productions (2008).
Snake: It even beats that VR Training that was all the rage a few years back.
- ^ Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Kojima Productions (2008).
Big Mama: Nowadays, anyone with a computer can get combat training. The FPS games these children love are distributed for free by these companies. Of course, it's all just virtual training. It's so easy for them to get absorbed by these war games. And before they know it, they're in the PMCs holding real guns. These kids end up fighting in proxy wars that have nothing to do with their own lives. They think it's cool to fight like this. They think that combat is life. They don't need a reason to fight. After all, for them it's only a game.
- ^ Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance demo, Kojima Productions (2012).
Boris: Raiden, it's Boris. You hear me all right? [Hmmph.] Then let's begin. Herr Doktor custom-designed this VR training to test all your new abilities. You should get comfortable in your new body before we send you out into the field, yes?
- ^ http://blog.us.playstation.com/2012/12/12/another-slice-of-metal-gear-rising-revengeance/