Close Up: The Art of Metal Gear Solid 2 Book

Just like its predecessor, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty received its own art book filled with sketches and drawings by Yoji Shinkawa, the game’s art director. The book, titled ‘The Art of Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty – Yoji Shinkawa Official Illustration Book Part 2’, was released in Japan in April of 2002, a few months after the launch of the game.

The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Cover The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Title-Page


The 160-page book is made up of five parts:

  • Official Illustrations Part 1
  • Concept Illustrations Part 1
  • Official Illustrations Part 2
  • Concept Illustrations Part 2
  • Talk Collaboration – Yoji Shinkawa & Takato Yamamoto

Official Illustrations

Artworks used for promotional purposes, like boxarts, posters, magazine covers, etc. These are the more familiar ones. Its content ranges from colored arts of the various characters, to full page posters, and there’s even a fold-out artwork of Olga. It also contains some artwork made for Metal Gear Solid Ghost Babel, the spin off for Game Boy Color that was released a few years earlier.

The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Official-Illustrations The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Vamp The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Snake The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Snake-Aiming The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Revolver-Ocelot The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Raiden-Dog-Tags The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Raiden-and-Snake The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Otacon-Sprites The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Dead-Cell The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Olga-Fold-Out

Concept Illustrations

Artworks used during development, like sketches, character designs, etc. Here we can find drawings of the game’s characters, environments and mechanical designs. Printed on darker, less smooth paper. The part with concept illustration is often one of the most fascinating segments of these books as it also shows sketches of scrapped characters or early designs for characters that ended up looking very differently. For example, some art shows sketches of Vamp before this character was changed from female to male, and designs for unused characters like ‘Doc’, ‘Max’ and ‘Chinaman’, a boss who was ultimately cut from the game.

The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Solidus-Snake The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Solid-Snake The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Snake-Sketch The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Snake-Rescues-Raiden The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Rose-Sketches The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-RAY The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Raiden-Sketches The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Raiden-Concept-Sketches The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Ocelot The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Naked-Raiden The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Naked-Olga The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Max The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Gurlukovich The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Female-Vamp The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Doc The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Chinaman The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Big-Shell The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Arsenal-Gear

Talk Collaboration

An interview-like conversation between Yoji Shinkawa and Takato Yamamoto (an illustrator who worked on novels, magazine covers and ads, and has had several exhibitions). The text is in both Japanese and English, which is nice for non-Japanese speakers, since it provides some pretty interesting insight into how Shinkawa works. A cool looking illustration of Raiden, made by Yamamoto, can be found here as well, and some black and white photos of both artists, as well as a brief description of Shinkawa’s career.

The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Yoji-Shinkawa The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Yoji-Shinkawa-and-Takato-Yamamoto The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Yoji-Shinkawa-and-Takato-Yamamoto-Interview-2 The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Shinkawa The-Art-of-Metal-Gear-Solid-2-Raiden-Yamamoto-Art

As always this book is a joy for Metal Gear fanatics. Not only is it filled with gorgeous Shinkawa art, it also sheds some light on the creative process behind the famous game and its characters, and how they ended up looking like they did. However, since the book released well over a decade ago, it’s not that easy to find for a reasonable price. Still, it’s a great item for any Metal Gear collector, and fan of Shinkawa’s artwork.

The Art of Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty – Yoji Shinkawa Official Illustration Book Part 2
Published in Japan on April 15th 2002 by the KONAMI Corporation


  • Lamp123

    Did they give a reason why China Man was cut from the game? Time restrictions?

    If i recall From the MGS2 making of documentary, China Man:
    1. Was based off Jet Li
    2. Was a Dead Cell Member. His boss fight takes place where you fight Vamp.
    3. Had heath regenerative abilities and can walk on water (passed onto vamp)
    4. If he went underwater, his dragon tattoo would come to life and attack raiden in boss fight lol. He can also send sharks to attack you as well.

    • Hm, it’s hard to find anything on the reason he was cut, it’s probably just because of time constraints.

  • So Shinkawa designed some locations for MGS2? That is cool.


    This one looks great, but honestly I can’t see that he is Raiden. More like a woman, but… Still, so good.

    • Very impressive! They also made something like that for the Metal Gear 25th Anniversary party:

      • ADAMJENSEN13

        Its a… food?! Cake? or what is this? If this is a cake I would never eat it 🙂 because it looks so awesome of course 🙂

        • Yes, it’s edible. The box it comes in is also shaped like a PS3. You can check out more pics at the link below the image. 🙂

          • ADAMJENSEN13

            Thanks for the link! 🙂

            That looks really amazing! The box and food of course! Sooooo detailed!

    • gRammarnazi

      Meanwhile children starve in Africa.

      • BurntFM

        You’re right. Children in Africa could have eaten Norman Reedus

      • Leguywhodrownedquiet

        Wtf are you doing here?

        • gRammarnazi

          It’s a joke.

          • Leguywhodrownedquiet

            A stupid one
            1965 called and they want their joke back
            Wait was that even a fucking joke?

    • Full Options

      Yeah, this one is really amazing. The 5 little pieces of algae on the rice, lol !


    Thanks for all those photos and this article.

    Max character looks kinda like Mei Ling. Is it Her with different name or different character that was cutted from the game?

    Olga the best!

    • It’s a different character but she was meant to be ‘the’ Mei Ling of MGS2:

      Max (Maxine Work) (controlled by the Patriots)
      Provides support for sensor equipment, the radar and saving. Appears only via Codec. Quotes Shakespeare. Serves the role of Mei Ling from MGS1. Her real name is Maxine but goes by ‘Max’. Actually an AI construct. Uses tricks and traps with save data.


      • ADAMJENSEN13

        I see. Thanks for info.

  • Leguywhodrownedquiet
  • Plissken

    These art books are great. I wish Shinkawa would have drawn more images from MG and MG2:Solid Snake. I like that the MG2 re-release avatars and intro have his work

  • Venom_Sina

    Great article as always.Thanks,Boss.
    MGS2 had a lot of cut content,like tearing the American flag in the final moments,Chinaman,Max etc.I wonder how the game would be with those scenes/characters included.I love MGS2 and it’s great,but there’s always a feeling that I can’t let go of.How the game would be with that scene,or that character?I have this feeling for Resident Evil 4’s prototype versions,too.
    We are getting close to the release date of The Art of MGSV.I wonder about Konami’s approach.Will we see some cut material in the book?Probably not,since it can be useful for yet another game.

    • There’s also one scene that was cut last minute because 9/11 happened, showing Arsenal Gear crashing into Manhattan.

      Yeah looking forward to The Art of MGSV.

      • Venom_Sina

        Yeah,exactly.That flag tearing part was cut,too because of the 9/11 attacks.
        I don’t think I can get my hands on the art book for MGSV,so I will wait for our Close Up.
        Thanks again.

        • For some reason says it will arrive between December 9 and 10, which is a bit strange since the book is supposed to come out in November. But hopefully the arrival date will still change.

    • Plissken

      Didn’t one of the early RE4 prototypes become Devil May Cry?

      • Venom_Sina

        Yeah,the very first one.The other ones just got cancelled,unfortunately.

  • Danny Patten

    Some people are just too talented for this world…

    • Leguywhodrownedquiet

      But I don’t agree with what you said

  • Full Options

    Wow … That’s an extremely nice piece of art you got there. You had it already or you ordered it recently ?

    Definitely worth it (thanks), it is like we embrace so closer Sons of Liberty’s spirit. It also intrinsically / naturally underlines Koji-Pro’s designers aptitude to keep Yoji’s essential details in their models and environments..

    For example the ascending colon takes so more sense, I mean the in-game model is of course heavily optimized, but here we see that it was shaped really intelligently, so artistically close to Yoji’s drafts, but so lightweight at the same time..
    I am a huge fan of Arsenal’s inner design style. They managed to shape it with so little amount of polys but it still trick the eye so we think there are tons.

    The same goes for characters, eg. Solidus and its armor, man so charismatic here. Yoji has an unmatched drawing style but he is also so good at giving so impressive poses to its characters hereby showing also their real minds.

    The platform is lovely. Between art and technical plans…
    We are so lucky that Boss managed to ex-filtrate Yoji from this mess.

    Very inspiring material !

    • Someone was selling MGS stuff on some forum, got this one and the MGS1 art book together for €100, really good price.

      • Full Options

        Again, really nice catch, Dude ! And thanks again for sharing, no better thing to start the day. 😀

  • Gatsu

    Such a sexy art book and those drawings are insanely cool . Thanks for sharing this Nyx :D.

  • So.. guys… I watched The Neon Demon movie.

    Oh god fucking damn it Nicolas Winding Refn…

    • BurntFM

      Gosh. I wanted to see this movie but it was in theaters for a very short time in my city and I didn’t get to see it since the last show was the day before I got back from vacation. Now I have to wait, I loved Drive and Only God Forgives

  • Salad Snack

    just upgraded my PS3 😀

    • Full Options

      What a gorgeous slim !

  • R-Wolf


By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.