Metal Gear Solid's main character, Solid Snake, has the gravel voice and mullet of Snake Plissken from the Escape from New York and Escape from L.A. films. But even with creator Hideo Kojima's film-loving sensibilities, and contrary to some previous comments, his name had more to do with the reputation of his animal namesake than the Kurt Russell character.
"The reason I used Snake as code name in [Metal Gear] was snake was the most appropriate symbol of living thing that hides his presence," Kojima said on Twitter (via Polygon). "The reason why I didn't use any specific snake names like cobra, anaconda or viper was because the protagonist is the player. The reason I use Solid was to give opposite impression of soft image."
He said he developed Liquid Snake to be a counterpoint to Solid, as clones can make for a strong enemy that can match the hero. The third snake, Solidus, was chosen as a reference to the physics term that "indicates the border between liquid and solid." He chose to break the sequence of natural states at that point. "Obviously the next would be 'gas' but Gas Snake would be like a human made of gas, and that's not a nice name," he said.
Kojima has referenced Escape from New York as an inspiration in interviews, and film director John Carpenter even claims he gave his blessing when Kojima wrote to him. But, he has said as far back as 2012 that Snake was not based on the character.
The next Metal Gear game, Metal Gear Solid 5, stars yet another Snake: Big Boss, otherwise known as Naked Snake.