Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Revealed

Well my theory about the “double bluff” was wrong.  Which means that just as everyone guessed a mere hours after it was first shown, The Phantom Pain is meant to combine with Ground Zeroes to become Metal Gear Solid 5.  Or rather, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

Overall I’m not disappointed, considering the trailer we got:


Here are some of the revelations:

  • Ground Zeroes is a prologue leading to the destruction of Mother Base and Big Boss falling into a coma for 9 years.
  • The Phantom Pain starts when Big Boss wakes up from that coma, apparently no longer able to trust his own sense of reality, while also being hunted by a powerful group of almost otherworldly enemies.
  • Diamond Dogs is the name of the new unit formed in his absence.  The members are apparently powerful allies who provide him with a robotic artificial hand.
  • The linear hospital portion is simply the tutorial, after which the game will become an open world.  If I understood correctly.
  • Kojima Productions has good taste in music.
  • David Hayter isn’t doing the voice of Big Boss.
  • Big Boss has a horn sticking out of his head for some reason.

First of all, a fond farewell to David Hayter.  You served us well for all these years and were critical to the series’ huge success.  Personally I think his performance was best back in the original MGS and that it’s been going downhill ever since, however, so it’s a good time to switch to somebody with a more natural tone of voice and wider range of emotion.

Secondly, the FOX Engine looks stunning, which I don’t say lightly.  It truly looks like the “next generation”, not a mere step forward.  Lots of exciting technology combined with ambitious game design and storytelling — this feels like the future of top-tier games.  I can feel that old fashioned hype coming back.  You know, the kind that made you actually want to jump in and start playing?

But let’s talk about the game itself and the “meta” layer.

Nothing up the sleeve?

Aside from typical questions about the plot of the game, we’re not left with much to wonder about.  They showed the Ground Zeroes compound in broad daylight, from a distance, and in clear weather, which kinda felt like spoilers.  But oh well, it’s still cool.

Maybe Kojima really thought the “surprise” of Phantom Pain and Ground Zeroes being MGS5 would be some kind of delightful marketing trick.  But nobody laughed when he walked up to the microphone with a mask on, or when he took it off.  The joke had worn off before it even started.  Everybody was interested in what he was going to show, but he severely underestimated how acclimated we are to such simple tricks.  I almost felt sorry for him.  Then again he didn’t realize some random jerkoff could hijack the whole Joakim Mogren meme and create a false Twitter account, which probably threw off the whole prank.

He blatantly lied to the press by saying he wasn’t involved at all with The Phantom Pain.  Just a regular lie.  Is that clever?  And now he just walks onto stage and essentially goes, “You were right.  I lied to everyone.”  Oh, good one.

So it’s a bit disappointing.  I wanted it to be the ultimate trolling experience, with speculation getting more and more intense all the way until the game was released.  I wanted the mystery to only be answered by playing the game itself, with everybody convinced it’s Metal Gear Solid 5.  Then I wanted it to be completely unrelated, and prove some kind of point about ignorance and hype.

Anyway, that’s about it for now.  Go read The Phantom Pain’s Phantom Appeal and imagine the possibilities, I guess.

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