The fact that Snake in Metal Gear Solid is based of Snake Plissken from Escape From New York isn't exactly a close guarded secret. It's a little trivia factoid that will from time to time come up on pub quizzes and the like. But people have always wondered, how was this legally allowed to slide?
Well, Escape from New York director John Carpenter has explained the reasoning. This comes after him successfully suing the Luc Besson produced film Lockout in French court for being to similar to his own movie. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, after that successful case, the option to take on Hideo Kojima over the likeness came up as well. Carpenter decided against it.
[CanalPlus] wanted to also go after the video game Metal Gear Solid, which is kind of a rip-off of Escape From New York too, but I told them not to do that. I know the director of those games, and he's a nice guy, or at least he's nice to me.
Carpenter is a big fan of games, even actively chasing a Dead Space movie at one point. It's good to see he's been lenient over Solid Snake. That character has changed a ton since his inception, now taking on his own persona very different to Snake Plissken, in my book anyways.