Metal Gear Solid games tell great stories but the series as a whole is so baffling that Kojima himself probably lost track years ago along with the rest of us.
Fortunately for you, we're here set the MGS chronology straight so that you know exactly where you are when you delve into Metal Gear Solid: Rising.
1964: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
FOX agent Naked Snake - father of Solid Snake - parachutes into the Soviet jungle under orders from Major Zero to recover a Russian weapons designer and sabotage the new Soviet Shagohod super-weapon.
Snake is foiled by his own mentor, The Boss, whose defection and theft of the Shagohod by main baddy Volgin is covered up by the detonation of a nuclear bomb, ending the Virtuous Mission in failure.
With the US blamed for the bombing and the world on the brink of nuclear war, the US cuts a deal to prove their innocence and sends Snake to kill The Boss and destroy the stolen Shagohod.
In the jungle he's assisted by ex-NSA agent and defector EVA, fights Spetsnaz agent Ocelot, and learns of the Philosophers and the Philosophers' Legacy - a $100 billion fund, illegally inherited by Volgin.
With the proto-Metal Gear Shagohod destroyed during a chase through a Soviet military base and Volgin and The Boss dead by his hand, Snake learns the truth about his mission.
EVA reveals she was a double-double agent - a US agent pretending to defect to Russia but actually defecting to China - and was trying to secure the Legacy for the Chinese.
The Boss, forever branded a traitor, was in fact loyal to the US and under orders to secure the Legacy then die at Snake's hands to prove the US' innocence.
With half the Legacy in American hands, Snake is named Big Boss but leaves the Oval Office a broken man, angry at his country and at the world.
1970: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
Six years after the events of Snake Eater and half the Philosophers' Legacy is still in play, leading the now renegade FOX unit to capture and torture Big Boss in hopes of uncovering its whereabouts.
In the cells of FOX's base - an abandoned Soviet missile silo in Colombia - Big Boss meets Green Beret Roy Campbell and promptly escapes from the facility.
When Big Boss makes contact with his comrades from Operation: Snake Eater missions he discovers he has taken the blame for FOX going rogue and so Big Boss forms a new group named FOXHOUND to hunt the FOX rebels. His group includes Zero, Para-Medic, Ocelot, Eva, and Jaeger.
Having ousted Zero as FOX's commanding officer a few years after Snake Eater, super-soldier Gene was the first soldier to undergo genetic alteration by the Philosophers in an attempt to create the perfect warrior.
Big Boss brings FOX down and defeats Gene, who accepts Big Boss as the true successor to The Boss and hands him FOX's soldiers, funds, and his plans to build a military nation-state named Army's Heaven.
Behind the scenes the entire FOX rebellion was orchestrated by Ocelot and FOX's former CO, Zero, to drive the CIA's director out of hiding and grab the entire Philosophers' Legacy.
Tired of the inadequacy and internal politicking of the existing secret Philosophers government, Ocelot kills the head of the CIA, seizes control of the Legacy and forms a new group of American Philosophers with Zero, Big Boss, and the former FOX members from Snake Eater under a new name.