A streamer called Boba was having a merry old time playing Metal Gear Solid a few days ago, when along came one of the game’s guards and shot Solid Snake—whose model recoiled backwards, and glitched into a sequence skip that will rewrite the rules for this time-honoured classic. Well OK, maybe not all the rules, but the minutes it can save you certainly have the speedrunners thrilled.
Essentially there is a staircase sequence in Metal Gear Solid where Snake has to fight his way upwards while being pursued by guards. On one part of the staircase is a door that, at this point, is locked. In Boba’s playthrough, she stops in front of the left side of this door to confront the guards chasing Snake. She aims the SOCOM pistol, a guard shoots at Snake… a loading screen plays, and she’s through the door.
It seems likely that what’s happening is that, when Snake is in the aiming pose and recoils from enemy fire, his hitbox moves backwards with the 3D model and, on this occasion, hits the loading boundary ‘behind’ the door.
The Metal Gear Solid speedrunner Hau5test successfully replicated the glitch after a few attempts, which can be seen below, meaning this skip and getting it perfect first time will become a key consideration in running the game.
Perhaps what’s most interesting about this skip is the potential for applications beyond this sequence: Metal Gear Solid is a game with a lot of locked doors and, if it works on one, there may be others where this can come into play. On one thing all runners agree: no-one’s ever seen this before.
On which note, I went to check out the dedicated MGS speedrunning community on Discord and it’s a great laugh: a flood of new members ‘here for the door’, unbounded excitement and theorycrafting, and people saying they simply can’t sleep thinking about the magnitude of this.
There’s something special about a game like Metal Gear Solid, 23 years old and a stone-cold classic, showing it can still surprise players: and how happy players are to be surprised by it. The MGS runners’ reactions to ‘the Boba skip’ reminds you what collaborative, fun spaces these are: and that, yes, love really can bloom on the battlefield.