Metal Gear Solid - Vamp
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Credit: Konami

The queer characters of Metal Gear Solid

Contributed by
Jun 20, 2019

LGBTQ+ gamers haven't had much representation overall in the video game world, but a pioneer in that regard is Hideo Kojima. Kojima often catches flak because people on Twitter are afraid of a woman like Quiet owning her sexuality (and even having a backstory to explain her scantily clad attire), but he included a multitude of queer characters throughout the Metal Gear Solid series in several important roles across different installments — not just one.

These characters aren't just in the background or portrayed as weird curiosities, either. These LGBTQ+ individuals are an integral part of the series' story and are some of the most interesting characters in gaming history. None of them are shy about expressing who they are, nor are they othered or treated differently throughout the story because of the way they identify — they just are. In this day and age, that's a more comforting thought than ever.

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Vamp

Vamp's seeming immortality is a significant obstacle in Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4. Despite the fact that he drinks blood and has a Romanian accent, his codename isn't because of his vampiric qualities. Instead, he's called Vamp because he's bisexual — as confirmed in-game via Codec conversation. 

Kojima didn't reduce Vamp's sexuality to a random throwaway fact. He's revealed to have been in a relationship with fellow Dead Cell member and Fortune's father, Scott Dolph. In 2001, when Metal Gear Solid 2 was released, homosexuality was still relatively taboo in the video gaming world. In contrast to the attitude of the majority of the game designers of the time, Vamp's sexuality was overt and unabashed.

In a time when homosexual men were typically shown as effeminate comedy relief in video games, if they were shown at all, Kojima made Vamp strong, muscular, and powerful. In fact, Vamp's abilities were so great that he was the only one of the Dead Cells members to make it out alive at the end of Metal Gear Solid 2.

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Kazuhira Miller

Besides a questionably canon extra op in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, not much is said about Kaz's sexuality. However, you don't have to read too far between the lines to realize that he's got the hots for Big Boss. He is noted as a womanizer in Peace Walker, but we never see him with anyone in particular or romancing the opposite sex.

On the other hand, Kaz has an absolute and unabiding admiration for Big Boss. Several scenes in The Phantom Pain make this adoration seem incredibly intimate, veering towards romantic. Kaz might enjoy a night out with the ladies, but we've got the feeling that he'd like to be coming home to Big Boss.

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Dr. Strangelove

Strangelove is one of the more sexually complex characters in the Metal Gear series. She's an artificial intelligence scientist introduced in Peace Walker who carries the moniker "Strangelove" because of harassment faced at the hands of her peers.

During World War Two, Strangelove kept a photo of The Boss on her desk while working at Advanced Research Projects Agency. Because she was engrossed in her work and showed no interest in men, her peers took the photo to mean that she was in love with The Boss. They gave her the "Strangelove" nickname as a way to make fun of her perceived homosexuality. However, she owned the nickname as a badge of honor, asserting that being "strange" simply means that you have your own unique point of view.

In addition to being sexually fluid, Strangelove also prefers to present herself as androgynous. While she isn't implied to be transgender, she's obviously someone who doesn't feel attached to being either male or female.

Eventually, Strangelove ends up with Huey Emmerich, the biggest piece of garbage in the Metal Gear series, and gives birth to Hal "Otacon" Emmerich. Unfortunately, her fate is a sad one, but she remains an influential queer character whose actions echo throughout the Metal Gear story.

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