San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

New Playstation Game Set in Costa Rica

One of the best-selling video game series places its newest game in Costa Rica. The Metal Gear series released its newest game, “Metal Gear Sold: Peace Walker,” for the handheld playstation portable, in Costa Rica this week.

The latest edition starts its plot in 1974 at the height of the Cold War.

The Metal Gear games follow a covert team of operatives trying to preserve peace around the world. The Peace Walker game takes note of Costa Rica’s lack of an army, and makes it the primary driving force behind the game’s plot. Set in an alternate history, the game features a mysterious militant group beginning a takeover of Costa Rica as the Cold War intensifies.

Konami, the series’ publisher, held a private launch party for the game in San José on June 2. At the event, Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima explained through a video message that the game’s theme always has emphasized an anti-war and anti-nuclear weapons stance. As a result, Costa Rica was essential to the game’s setting.

“I thought that if I established the story in this peaceful country, a nation that decided to not have an army, the topic of deterrence would have a much stronger meaning,” Kojima said.

The plot incorporates actual events from Costa Rica’s history, including the collaboration between the CIA and Costa Rican president José Figueres (who dissolved the Costa Rican army). Nicaragua’s Sandinista National Liberation Front and its overthrow of that country’s Somoza dictatorship also play a role in the story. Costa Rica’s University for Peace also factors into the plot (naturally).

Peace Walker has a delightfully over-the top trailer ( highlighting Kojima’s statement. An on-screen caption reads “1974, CaribbeanCoast, Limón,” as a gravelly voiced narrator announces: “In the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Latin America became pivotal in maintaining the power balance between East and West. Yet in the midst of this struggle one government remained without a military. Now to preserve peace in Costa Rica, a nation without a military, the people must turn to an army without a government.”

The critically acclaimed series has sold more than 25 million units. With its success,  perhaps Peace Walker will introduce Costa Rica and its history to a new audience – gamers.

Said Kojima: “To place the plot of the game within the context of this beautiful country, a place that restores the peace without needing weapons, implies that the possibility exists of maintaining peace without the need of deterrents.”

Peace Walker retails for $39.99 in the United States and ¢44,000 in Costa Rica.

–Matt Levin

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