Last week, Metal Gear Solid fans were treated to something of a tease; a Twitter account that purported to be from a fictional employee at Big Shell from Metal Gear Solid 2. In various ways it seemed to be teasing an impending announcement for what many assumed would be a Metal Gear Solid 2 remaster, or remake, or rerelease of some king. As it turns out, that whole Metal Gear Solid 2 remaster tease was just a hoax that got a bit out of hand, and didn’t even begin with the intention of being a hoax.
The fictional Tom Olsen Twitter account started posting photos and videos from his daily life at Big Shell, images that were higher resolution screenshots of Metal Gear Solid 2’s gameplay environments from a first-person perspective not possible in the game. The account picked up steam when it started teasing visits from President Johnson and big meetings on specific dates. Playing into classic Metal Gear themes, some of the tweets were a bit more…bizarre…and seemed to indicate something more going on than someone just roleplaying. And things really took on a life of their own when the official Metal Gear Twitter account quote tweeted one of the Tom Olsen tweets in character, reminding him that they had “visitors coming.”
Gaming media, ourselves included, started picking up on the story at this point. The Metal Gear Twitter’s involvement seemed to be a surefire confirmation that Tom Olsen was in some way official. And Metal Gear has had far, far crazier conspiracy-laden marketing plans. Remember the time Hideo Kojima became “Joakim Mogren” and made an entirely fictional developer marketing a fake game that turned out to be Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, the prequel chapter to Metal Gear Solid V? Compared to that, the Tom Olsen Twitter seemed to be an easy buy in.
Tom, we talked about this.
Please check your Codec each morning for meeting updates and evacuations in-case of PMC incursions.
And we have visitors coming next week, so finish cleaning the vents and make sure the flags are all hung properly, but do not touch the C4 this time. https://t.co/u9C6yrONil
— METAL GEAR OFFICIAL (@Metalgear) April 14, 2021
But alas, it is not to be. The Tom Olsen account is not an official Konami PR or marketing scheme. It’s the property of Metal Gear fan Nitroid. Ars Technica’s Kyle Orland did some digging and found the entire hoax to be thinly veiled. Nitroid had posted intentions to create a look at “the other side” of Metal Gear Solid 2, focusing on the perspectives of employees of Big Shell. In essence, Tom Olsen was simply a big unofficial fan fiction; a fun way of telling a different side of the Metal Gear Solid 2 story.
Lance McDonald, known for his technical datamining into various games, pointed out back on April 20th the fact that it was just a fan having fun, which caused Nitroid to delete his tweets about the Tom Olsen account to better hide its origins. McDonald managed to get the inside scoop from Nitroid about how he got the unique footage from the game. “He just uses the PS2 ‘Document of Metal Gear Solid‘ cutscene camera DVD running on PCSX2 emulator to make it look nicer,” McDonald said. “I don’t want to ruin his fun, but it’s been funny seeing news outlets covering Tom Olsen back when Nitroid’s tweets were all still live and they didn’t seem to notice.”
— Lance McDonald (@manfightdragon) April 20, 2021
According to McDonald, Nitroid thought it was funny to watch the rumor mill at work. Nitroid has made public comments on Twitter in the past about his lack of faith in journalism as reporters rush to run with these stories instead of doing additional digging and fact checking, though he certainly couldn’t have planned on the Metal Gear Twitter account’s involvement to really stir the pot. Nitroid did finally fess up to everything via The Kojima Frequency podcast, though it’s still unclear how or why the official Metal Gear Twitter account got involved, except that it is frequently retweeting and replying to various fan projects unrelated to internal plans.
Ars Technica’s Orland notes the irony in the spread of misinformation via an interconnected society that played out basically playing out the exact themes that Metal Gear Solid 2 narrative centered on. So while we may not be getting a Metal Gear Solid 2 remaster, the Tom Olsen hoax was a pretty effective reminder of the moral of its story.
Still, rumors abound that something Metal Gear related is in the works somewhere (besides the movie, starring Oscar Issac). Solid Snake voice actor David Hayter recently said that there’s a strong industry rumor of a Metal Gear Solid remake, though with the track record for previous MGS rumors, we’ll wait until this one has a bit more veracity before getting hyped.[Source: Ars Technica]
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