Why Metal Gear Creators Were Almost Sued for Trademark Infringement

Video game enthusiasts have probably heard of Solid Snake and Big Boss, the legendary heroes of the Metal Gearseries. Gamers may not realize both characters are loosely based on Snake Plissken, the anti-hero from the movies Escape from New York and Escape from L.A. Kurt Russel plays Snake Plissken in both movies.

The similarities between Solid Snake, Big Boss and Snake Plissken are very easy to see, from the eyepatch to the mastery of guns and combat skills. Big Boss, the Metal Gear series protagonist, and eventually antagonist, is a cigar smoking former Green Beret who could find eight ways to kill people with a karate chop. It turns out Snake Plissken can do the same things. In fact, in Metal Gear Solid II: Sons of Liberty, Solid Snake uses the nickname “Pliskin” to hide his identity from the game’s protagonist.

It was not surprising when the creator of Escape from New York, John Carpenter, expressed a desire to launch a lawsuit against Hideo Kojima, the maker of the Metal Gear series. However, he decided against it, saying of Hideo Kojima, “he’s a nice guy, to me at least.”

Carpenter has sued over his franchise before, most recently filing a lawsuit against the creators of LockoutLockout was essentially Escape from New York in space. A French court agreed, and Carpenter won his lawsuit against the director.

Should Metal Gear Series Creator Hideo Kojima Be Sued?

Escape from New York and Escape from L.A. are classic movies of the 80s and 90s. It is not surprising the series has prompted video games with similar characters and features. However, most people who have played the Metal Gear series and watched the John Carpenter movies will be hard-pressed to confuse the two. Hideo Kojima being a “nice guy” probably saved him and the Metal Gear series from years of trademark infringement litigation.

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