Twenty years ago this month, Konami released Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, an expanded reissue of MGS2: Sons of Liberty. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to revisit one of the most important games of the 21st century, now is the perfect time. Over the weekend, modder oct0xor released The Substance of Subsistence, a mod that adds a third-person camera to Hideo Kojima’s masterpiece.
If it’s been a while since you played MGS2, you may have forgotten the game employed an overhead camera that was a holdover from Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake and Metal Gear Solid. It wasn’t until 2006’s Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, the expanded rerelease of Snake Eater, that Hideo Kojima and Konami implemented a proper third-person camera. That bit of history is also where the mod's name comes from, with The Substance of Subsistence referring to the expanded editions of each game.
Adding a new perspective to MGS2 was no easy task. "The code to have a normal third-person camera was never present in the game, and in order to implement it, I had to reverse engineer and rewrite many things in the game engine," oct0xor told PC Gamer. You can learn more about the work that was involved in a developer diary oct0xor shared a few months back.
You can find instructions on how to install the Substance of Subsistence on Github. The tricky part is finding a copy of the game for PC. Konami delisted Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3 from GOG and other digital storefronts over a “temporary” licensing issue in 2021. In July, the company said it was still working on resolving the dispute but did not provide a timeline for when the games would be available to purchase again.