“Why I’m a Kiefer and Not a Hayter” by Paolo Padayhag


Is Metal Gear Solid V secretly Hideo Kojima’s attempt to break away from the Metal Gear series?  With so many major changes to the formula, Paolo Padayhag believes it might be the case.


The following is a guest article by Paolo Padayhag.  Feel free to contact him with the information at the bottom of the article, if you have questions and comments.  If you’d like to contribute something to META GEAR, email metagearsolid@gmail.com



Playing a Metal Gear  game is an  experience that  is pretty much like  the  first  time you had  sex:  it subverts expectations. No  matter how you imagine it’s  going to  turn  out, the  reality will either be awesome or a massive let down.

The  reason I’m  writing this  is because I believe Metal Gear  Solid V  is not  a Metal Gear  game, or at least, not  the  kind  we  expect it to  be.  In  fact, I don’t consider The  Phantom Pain  a Metal Gear  game at  all. I see  it as  a completely different game that  just  so  happened to  be  infused with Metal Gear DNA. It’s  kind  of  like  how Dark  Souls was treated as  a spiritual successor to  Demon Souls.  Of  course, I won’t blame you for  thinking this  theory is ridiculous.  I can’t help but  feel  that  after years of  being known only as  the  guy  who made Metal Gear, it’s  not  hard  to  imagine that  Hideo Kojima finally decided to  say, ‘Screw it’  and  went off  to  make a new game without telling us its not actually Metal Gear.  And no,  I’m  not  talking about that  game.

How else  can  you possibly explain. . .


1) The  Main Title

It’s  no  secret that  Kojima has  tried  time and  again to  pass off  the  reigns of  the  series to  someone else. Having spent half  a century on  earth, being the  creator of  Metal Gear  and  nothing else  probably wasn’t the  kind  of  legacy he  wanted to  leave behind. Sure, he  had  produced a lot  of  games since then but  none of  them match the  scale and  dedication he  put  into  Metal Gear. In  a time where video game companies want to  branch out  and  tell  exciting stories through new IPs,  Kojima has  cornered himself in  the  worst way imaginable.

Behind him  is an  extremely dedicated fan  base that  absolutely refuses to  follow anyone other than him. Ahead of  him  lies  an  uncertain future and  the  lingering fear  that  he  may be  the  only one who can  get  his  ship  across. With time bearing down on  him, Kojima reveals the  sword that  could untie this  Gordian Knot. If he  must continue to  make Metal Gear  games, then he  will  tell  the  stories he  wants to  tell.  Paradoxes will  not  deter him. If he  must ruin  his  legacy in  order to  venture into uncharted territory, so  be  it.

Why do  I believe this? Sometimes you have to  look past  the  creator and  simply look at  the  title:


Notice how the  words ‘The Phantom Pain’ are  presented? It looks absolutely nothing like  Metal Gear. Had  Moby Dick  Studios been a real  company, I wouldn’t be  surprised if I was looking at  a new IP.

This  marketing stunt may have incurred the  wrath of  confused  gamers everywhere but  I believe Kojima had  a goal. Metal Gear  Solid V was hidden in  the  title  not  because it was disguised as  a different game. Rather, the  Phantom Pain  is using Metal Gear  as  a medium to  tell  its  own story.

How this  logo was designed is another thing to  consider. Since the  series is riddled with continuity errors, I’m  surprised how most people seem to  ignore the  logos were designed. We know Kojima is meticulous when it comes to  details, so  I don’t see  why most of  the  games have different logos. If you were so  eager to  establish a seamless continuity, shouldn’t the  logos deserve the  same treatment? It’s  the  first  thing you see  when you buy a game! It’s  on  the  damn cover!

In  other words, branding is important. The  only games that  have any  resemblance to  one another are Sons of  Liberty, Snake Eater, Peace Walker and, at  one point, Ground Zeroes. Every other game in  the  series all  had  unique logos. What makes even less  sense is that  Ground Zeroes doesn’t even share the  same logo with The  Phantom Pain, despite it being the  first  half  of  Metal Gear  Solid V. Given that  The  Phantom Pain  was presented as  a different game at  the  time of  its  announcement, I don’t blame Kojima for  adopting two completely different designs. However, by  E3  2014, he  decided to  stick with it:


Another interesting point is why the  title  ‘The Phantom Pain’ was chosen in  the  first  place. Phantom Pain  refers to  a medical condition that  basically amounts to  that  feeling people have whenever they lose  a part  of  their  body. They think it’s  still  there, even if it’s  no  longer a part  of  them. Big  Boss and Kaz  are  just  some of  the  characters who suffer from this  condition in  the  game. Furthermore, Kojima stated that  the  title  refers not  only to  physical loss  but  emotional and  psychological loss  as  well.

Furthermore, instead of  an  Arabic numeral that  is normally used in  the  series, The  Phantom Pain uses the  Roman numeral for  5.  This  could stand for  a lot  of  things, some of  which you may already know after  reading Alan Moore’s V for  Vendetta. But  for  me, the  reasoning behind this  is far  simpler: The  Phantom Pain  wants to  stand out. It’s  different and  it’s  telling me  it’s  not  like  the  Metal Gear games I’ve  played. It wants me  to  treat  it as  its  own game.

Clearly, a lot  of  thought has  put  into  the  title. But  I don’t think it’s  merely used to  refer  to  the  medical condition alone. I think Kojima also  intended to  convey the  message that  we  are  no  longer playing a Metal Gear  game. We only think it’s  Metal Gear  because everything about it feels like  a Metal Gear game, from the  gameplay to  the  returning characters. It’s  practically screaming ‘Snaaaaaaaaaaake’ in your face.

But  this  is merely an  illusion. The  title  says it all.  ‘The Phantom Pain’ appears alone as  itself. It is only after  a few seconds that  we  finally see  the  words ’Metal Gear Solid V’.


As  an  added touch, it slowly disappears, reminding us  that  this  indeed is just  an  illusion. It’s  our  own Phantom Pain, if you will.


It’s  genius really.


2) The  Gameplay

I was pleasantly surprised to  come across this  article written by  Ren  Fujin. His  review for  Ground Zeroes was focused on  gameplay, dissecting every single feature it had  to  offer. Alternatively, my  editor, Mr. Wolfe, had  his  own thoughts. He  analyzed the  gameplay not  in  the  context of  its evolution from prior  games but  in  the  context of  Ground Zeroes as  a complete experience.

I too  have my  own thoughts with regards to  gameplay. But  instead of  gameplay mechanics, I want to focus on  what the  gameplay means for  the  character of  Big  Boss.

There were a lot  of  gameplay features revealed at  E3  2014. Some of  them were absent in  Ground Zeroes but  will  be  present in  The  Phantom Pain. As  I read  stories of  people who were amazed by the  sight of  seeing a sheep disappearing into  the  sky,  I was reminded of  a review I read  a few years ago  about Snake Eater. In  the  article, the  author talked about how the  gameplay was a dramatic shift from the  one we  were used to  in  Metal Gear  Solid and  Sons of  Liberty. The  core mechanics may have stayed the  same but  the  overall feel  is quite different.


With the  inclusion of  the  CAMOUFLAGE, CURE and  FOOD menus, Snake Eater  was the  first Metal  Gear  to  include new gameplay mechanics. The  setting of  the  story as  well  as  the  developer’s experience with the  PS2  gave Snake Eater  a distinct flavour. Hence, Snake Eater  was a unique entry in  the  series and  future games either simplified the  gameplay or scrapped them all  together. Guns of  the  Patriots adopted some of  these mechanics while reinventing others. However, the  way they were implemented in  the  game certainly gives us  some insight into  the  character of  Solid Snake, who until  that  point was never given a reason to  use  them.

In  other words, Metal Gear, Metal Gear  2,  Metal Gear  Solid, Sons of  Liberty and  Guns of  the Patriots have portrayed Solid Snake as  a covert operative, an  infiltrator along the  lines of  Sam Fisher. His  most defining characteristic is that  he  often works alone. Even when he  was a part  of Philantrophy (where he  worked with Otacon) or worked alongside Rat  Patrol Team 01  (where he worked with Meryl), he  still  worked alone.

Big  Boss, on  the  other hand, was less  of  an  agent and  more of  a hunter, and  the  gameplay of  Snake Eater  reflected this.  Of  course, the  game was quick to  point out  that  Naked Snake (and  by  extention the  player) was mostly suited to  urban warfare and  infiltration. However, as  soon as  the  cutscene was over, it became clear  to  us  that  this  Snake knew how to  surive in  a jungle. While you never had to  worry about Solid Snake going hungry, Big  Boss had  to  hunt for  meals every now and  then to sustain himself.

Peace Walker showed  us  another side  of  Big  Boss that  we  would never have associated with Solid Snake. While you could play  it alone, Peace Walker was designed to  be  played by  several people. This  was a particular point of  interest in  the  gameplay trailers, which featured four  players working together.


This  tells  us  that  Big  Boss worked well  in  a team. In  the  past, players were used to  dealing with seemingly impossible odds, working with limited equipment and  without backup. Peace Walker took a different route where you can  complete missions with your friends.

Big  Boss also  happened to  be  very  charismatic. A feature in  the  game allows you to  use  the  soldiers you captured to  craft  items and  weapons for  you to  take  into  battle. Soon after, the  player would discover soldiers lining up  in  order  to  join  Big  Boss’ cause.

Introducing these elements in  Snake Eater  and  Peace Walker may be  seen as  a natural evolution for the  series at  first  glace. But  ultimately they would shape the  kind  of  man Naked Snake would soon become.


3) The  Story

Metal Gear  has  long been associated (and  ridiculed) for  its  overly-complicated storylines. While the series is well  known for  its  mythology, only dedicated fans will  be  able  to  discern the  convoluted

plot  threads that  composes it.  What most people don’t know is that  while the  series has  had  a lot  of sequels since its  inception in  1987, the  games were meant to  stand alone.

At  the  time, no  one expected Metal Gear  to  be  a hit. Metal Gear  2 (which was released three years after)  owes its  entire existence to  a member of  Snake’s Revenge’s development team being on  the same train  as  Kojima. 1998 saw  the  debut of  Metal Gear  Solid, which was essentially a spiritual remake of  Metal Gear  2  for  the  Playstation. Sons of  Liberty, on  the  other hand, was essentially Metal Gear  Solid on  steroids. Snake Eater, for  its  part,  was set  prior  to  these games and  the  events that  took place hardly affected the  storyline.

In  other words, the  games are  set  in  the  same universe but  their  individual storylines can  stand alone. Whenever Kojima sits  down to  write a story for  Metal Gear, he  does so  without foreseeing the repercussions it might have on  a sequel if it were made. He  also  admitted that  in writing the  narrative for  Metal Gear  Solid V,  he  knew he  would have to  retcon a lot  of  things if he  wanted the  entire series to  have a cohesive storyline. This  brilliant article by  SolidKenny basically summed it up  when he  mentioned that  Kojima cared more about ‘thematic canon’ than ‘factual canon’.

So  what does this  tell  us  about The  Phantom Pain? As  it currently stands between Ground Zeroes and  Metal Gear, it is now left  with a few decades at  best  to  fill  in  the  remaining gaps in  the  story. It was basically Metal Gear  Solid: Rising before it was cancelled.

However, I must point out  that  the  story all  began with Snake Eater. As  I have mentioned earlier, it does nothing to  directly affect the  events that  occured in  past  games. In  other words, Snake Eater  was pretty much a fresh start  for  the  series, providing a blank canvas for  Kojima to  create a completely new story. Although it wasn’t apparent to  Kojima then, the  existence of  Portable Ops had  proven that  unless the  story was willing to  create more inconsistencies, filling  in  the  blanks was pretty much the  only course you could take.

In  fact, the  existence of  Portable Ops  necessitated the  creation of  Peace Walker, which is similar to  how Snake’s Revenge led  to  the  development of  Metal Gear  2. Both instances have shown that  unless a Metal Gear  game was made under the  direct supervision of  Kojima, the  universe will continue to  screw him  over until  he  makes a true sequel. In  other words, he  was willing to  butcher the storyline if it meant he  was holding the  knife.

Peace Walker further alludes to  this  by  having us  ask  ‘What happens next?’ instead of  ‘What happened next?This  small change would be  the  catalyst for  an  alternate reality that  would dramatically affect the  entire series.

I mean, how else  can  you possibly explain the  existence of  A.I.  weapons in  middle of  1974? These machines could seriously give REX  and  RAY  a run  for  their  money. The  only way to  justify their existence is if REX  and  RAY  were completely redesigned to  be  superior, character flaws be  damned. And while we’re on  the  subject, if the  US  government had  this  kind  of  money back in  1974, which they used to  fund the  development of  four  different Metal Gear-type machines, alongside the deployment of  a seemingly infinite number of  tanks and  helicopters as  well  as  recruiting hundreds if not  thousands of  soldiers, why the  hell  were they left  with a shoestring budget for  REX  and  RAY? Was it all  spent on  Arsenal Gear?

My  point here is that  the  story of  The  Phantom Pain  can  only move forward with what had  already been established in  Peace Walker, not  backward. Say  what you will  about Portable Ops, but  at  least RAXA seemed like  a natural progression from the  Shagohod before they came up  with TX-55.



4) The  Voice

Metal Gear  fans around the  world were shocked when it was announced that  David Hayter, the iconic voice of  Solid Snake, would not  reprise the  role  for  Metal Gear  Solid V. This  was after  months of  speculation, with Hayter as  clueless as  us  with regards to  his  uncertain fate.


When it was finally revealed that  Kiefer Sutherland would take  on  the  reigns of  gaming’s quintessential covert operative, reception was decidedly mixed. Some were intrigued by  the  idea  of having an  experienced actor give his  own interpretation of  the  legendary mercenary, having turned in  a critically-acclaimed performance for  his  portrayal of  Jack  Bauer in  24.  Others were not  so forgiving, believing that  no  one could possibly fill  in  the  shoes left  by  Hayter’s distinct voice acting. While Kojima was more than willing to  provide an  explanation for  this  decision, the  fans, in  their frighteningly-religious dedication to  the  series, had  their  own ideas, with some believing that  this  was all  part  of  some insane conspiracy theory.

Whatever the  case, I want to  focus on  something else. I believe that  it’s  not  necessarily Hayter’s unceremonious replacement or Kiefer’s selection that  actually matters. In  fact, an  argument can  be made that  anyone could have taken assumed the  voice of  Snake so  as  long as  Hayter himself was replaced. I believe that  the  reason for  this  has  less  to  do  with Big  Boss’ portrayal and  more about the  status of  Hayter as  a cultural icon. Ever  since his  introduction in  1998, Solid Snake has  become one of  the  most recognizable faces in  gaming, standing alongside key  figures such as  Lara  Croft and  Mario. That esteemed reputation has  long been associated with Hayter, whose portrayal of  the world-weary hero with a voice that  could part  a woman’s legs  was overwhelmingly well-received.

But  there in  lies  the  problem. Kojima knew that  by  having Hayter reprise the  role  of  Snake, he  would have to  work with Hayter’s portrayal of  the  character, who has  achieved a cultural status not  unlike Kevin Conroy’s iconic take  on  Batman. Because we  have long associated the  character of  Snake with Hayter, we  would hold the  preconceived notion that  we  were just  playing another Metal Gear  game.

Furthermore, Hayter’s interpretation of  Snake warrants a closer look. Solid Snake is portrayed as  a man of  action not  unlike James Bond (who is one of  the  characters he’s based on).  While they have distinct methods in  completing their  missions, they still  share similar traits. Both are  highly-skilled operatives with a penchant for  hitting on  women. They are  often tasked with stopping dangerous terrorist cells  and  are  both used as  expendable pawns by  their  own government. They both have a dedicated support teams and  prefer to  work alone.

If we  are  to  accept Hayter’s portrayal of  the  eponymous spec ops  agent, we  are  left  with a man who is hardened veteran who barely talks, a loner who does not  take  orders willingly. Hayter’s Snake is living under the  delusion that  he  is not  the  killer  his  enemies make him  out  to  be.  If we  are  to  take everything at  face value, it’s  fair  to  conclude that  he  can  also  effectively portray Big  Boss. This  wasn’t a problem in  Snake Eater, as  Naked Snake was made to  look like  Solid Snake in  every way.

However, by  the  end  of  the  game, Naked Snake would embark on  a different path. Unlike the  man who would soon inherit his  codename, Big  Boss is a captivating figure, surrounding himself with trusted allies  like  Kaz  and  Ocelot. At  one point in  the  E3  2013 trailer, he  willingly admitted that  he was already a demon. It’s  also  worth noting that  he  refuses to  be  compared to James Bond.

Peace Walker further alludes to  this  by  having Naked Snake evolve into  a charismatic leader in  charge of  his  own mercenary group. Solid Snake may have been a clone but  nothing in  his characterization suggests that  he  would follow in  his  father’s footsteps. To  take  a cue  from Bioshock, Solid Snake was the  kind  of  man, willing or not, who obeyed orders while Big  Boss was ultimately portrated as  a legend who made his  own choices.


By  having Big  Boss symbolically shed his  skin,  Kojima made it clear  that  Naked Snake had  undergone a spiritual transformation. Throwing the  bandanna away serves not  only to  show that  Big  Boss had finally stepped out  of  the  Boss’ shadow but  is also  a way of  showing that  the  Snake we  have come to  know is gone. Having Hayter return would only serve to  undo the  dramatic recreation of  Big  Boss and  there Kojima is justified for  having replaced him.

The  casting of  Kiefer, on  the  other hand, is a similar matter. Having him  ensures that  this  new interpretation will  be  a fresh start  for  the  character as  well  as  the  series. A less-experienced voice actor would have been crushed by  such a burden. By  having Jack  Bauer himself assume the  mantle of  Big  Boss, public backlash would be  minimal, with some embracing the  idea  of  a new direction for the  series.


5) The  Themes

Pay  close attention to  the  themes Kojima used. For  Metal Gear  Solid, it was GENE. For  Sons of Liberty, it was MEME. For  Snake Eater, it was SCENE. These compose the  thematic structure of the  trilogy Kojima had  envisioned. Besides being phonetically similar, they represent the  idea  that who we  are  and  what we  become are  strongly affected by  internal and  external forces. Guns of  the Patriots seals this  notion with SENSE, or the  idea  that  some things cannot be  passed on.

However, by  the  time Peace Walker was released, the  theme was no  longer about stimuli. With PEACE, it became clear  to  me  that  Kojima was no  longer focusing on  ‘thematic canon’. Instead of having the  theme control the  story, Peace Walker was the  first  game in  the  series to  be  ’character- driven’. In  other words, the  story that  began with Snake Eater  served as  the  foundation to  tell  the tragedy of  Big  Boss.

During the  events of  Operation: Snake Eater, the  United States and  the  Soviet Union were in  the middle of  the  Cold  War. In  between those two superpowers were two people. One was a decorated war  hero and  the  other was her  beloved disciple.


Standing on  opposite sides, one was destined to  fall  at  the  hands of  the  other. By  having Naked Snake take  the  life  of  The  Boss, Snake Eater  did  the  one thing that  Sons of  Liberty never could: to make us  care.

The  relationship between Naked Snake and  The  Boss is what defined the  Snake Eater  experience. We felt  the  pain of  our  mentor’s betrayal. The  game (through EVA) even asks  the  player if he  or she is capable of  killing the  Boss. In  fact, the  game won’t end  unless you pull  the  trigger.


That was depressing. Holy shit.

By  the  time we  got  to  Peace Walker, Big  Boss had  already forsaken his  country and  left  everything behind him. In  that  time, he  would form Militaires Sans Frontières, Outer Heaven’s predecessor. At this point, Big  Boss struggled to  find  a purpose. For  a man who has  known nothing but  conflict, he sought to  justify his  existence in  the  only way he  knew how: to  be  a mercenary. By  establishing MSF, he  believed he  was carrying out  The  Boss’ legacy. The  theme of  PEACE strongly resonates within Peace Walker not  only by  shoehorning the  word ‘peace’ at  every possible moment but  also  by  having Big  Boss come into  terms with his  destiny. In  effect, he  had  started on  the  path that  would ultimately turn  him  into  the  monster we  have come to  know.

So  what does this  tell  us  about The  Phantom Pain? According to  Kojima, the  themes are  RACE and REVENGE. Like  Peace Walker before it,  it also  focuses on  the  growth of  Big  Boss as  a character. However, this  time the  transformation is far  more dramatic. And much like  his  protagonist, I believe Kojima too  has  admitted that  he  is already a demon. He  wishes to  exact his  vengeance for  being unable to  forsake his  own destiny as  the  architect of  the  series. By  leaving the  past  behind him, Kojima was free  to  take  any  path he  desired.

Unlike the  man who so  closely associated himself with Solid Snake, Kojima was determined to venture into  new horizons. If he  must tackle sensitive issues in  the  process of  murdering the  canon, then so  be  it.


6) The  Prologue

Ground Zeroes is an  interesting title.


It’s  definitely a part  of  Metal Gear  Solid V. Furthermore, it takes place after  the  events of  Peace Walker. But  a closer look at  the  story will  tell  you that  save for  a few returning characters and  setting up  the  events for  The  Phantom Pain, Ground Zeroes is mostly an  isolated incident. In  fact, you can argue that  its  existence is largely irrelevant to  the  series’ mythology.  Apart from Paz’s gruesome torture, who would even remember what happened here? Would you be  surprised if there was a short summary included in  The  Phantom Pain  detailing the  events that  occured in  Ground Zeroes? Even when Metal Gear  Solid included summaries for  Metal Gear  and  Metal Gear  2,  there was no reason for  you to  read  any  of  them since they didn’t directly affect the  story apart  from providing footnotes.

Without mincing words, it is indeed an  overly-hyped demo and  a glorified marketing disaster. Hayter himself was not  so  forgiving:


Ground Zeroes is without a doubt a commercially successful clusterfuck of  epic proportions.

Let’s take  a step back and  consider this  for  a moment. For  some reason, the  folks at  Konami had  no problem with going through with this  insane idea. While the  rest  of  the  world was in  absolute awe of the  Fox  Engine, a bunch of  marketing executives were probably wondering how the  fuck they were going to  sell  a game that  hardly had  any  gameplay in  it.

It’s  important to  point out  that  Kojima doesn’t seem like  the  kind  of  person who’d risk  putting a game out  because of  a deadline. The  Phantom Pain  is currently in  a state of  perpetual development. Apparently, Kojima was in  the  midst of  polishing the  game, which may or may not  have something to do  with Grand Theft Auto V. After all,  this  is Kojima’s latest masterpiece (which may or may not  be  his last  game). He  wants to  go  out  with a bang. The  decision to  release Ground Zeroes early does not only contradict this  statement but  it also  doesn’t make any  sense.

What makes this  decision even more perplexing has  a lot  to  do  with the  story. Most people weren’t impressed with the  game’s execution of  a sensitive subject matter. Personally, I believe the  story simply suffered because Ground Zeroes was released separately. Had  it been integrated into  The Phantom Pain  as  originally planned, we  probably would have been shocked for  different reasons.


Can  you imagine experiencing something like  this  that  early in  the  game? Since we  spent so  much time focusing on  that  particular part,  we  ended up  criticizing it without context. We have no  idea how The  Phantom Pain  would have approached the  aftermath of  Ground Zeroes and  so  it really is nothing more than pure shock value. This  was a mistake we  would never have imagined Kojima was capable of  committing.

Or was this  the  intention all  along? If Kojima had  the  balls  to  mastermind a marketing strategy that necessitated the  creation of  a fake studio for  the  sole  purpose of  advertising the  Fox  Engine, then he was pretty much capable of  anything.

Deadlines were probably not  an  issue for  him. When the  development of  the  PS3  was taking too long, he  went ahead and  made Snake Eater  for  the  PS2. In  that  instance, however, it was a complete game, not  the  blatant cash-grab that  Ground Zeroes appears to  be.  This  tells  us  that  Kojima had  no qualms about making a new game even if the  platform wasn’t ready yet.

This  is,  without a doubt, the  second most pretentious advertisement ever  made for  a video game. To put  this  into  context, the  marketing campaign for  Silent Hills  was pure genius. Konami’s other iconic franchise had  basically been left  for  dead after  the  original team left  the  series. Now, with the  Fox Engine and  Guillermo Del  Toro, even the  most jaded Silent Hill  fan  was paying attention. My  point here is this:  if Kojima can  raise  Silent Hill  back from the  edge of  the  grave, then he  should have been capable of  doing something similar for  Ground Zeroes.

In  other words, Ground Zeroes was not  an  accident, at  least  for  me.

So  what is the  true  reason for  releasing the  game early? The  answer lies  somewhere between necessity and  pure luck. Perhaps under pressure from shareholders, Kojima realized that  in  order  to save the  ‘body’, he  needed to  cut  off  the  ‘arm’. He  had  no  intention of  being left  behind when the rest  of  the  industry continued to  churn out  triple  AAA games like  clockwork. This  would explain why Ground Zeroes looked like  it had  a lot  more features built  into  it but  were removed at  the  last minute. Kojima was preparing to  blow the  competition away with The  Phantom Pain  and  he  decided that  by  folding now he  could win  the  pot  later.

The  decision to  split  Metal Gear  Solid V,  therefore, brought upon a silver  lining. It would allow Kojima to  get  some feedback from players which he  could use  to  improve the  experience of  The Phantom Pain. In  other words, Ground Zeroes wasn’t just  a glorified demo but  the  most ambitious beta test  ever  made. This  would also  insure that  Metal Gear  Solid V would stay  fresh for  a couple more months and  would allow the  anticipation for  The  Phantom Pain  to  grow.

But  there is a third, more subtle reason for  all  of  this. Kojima was quietly stepping away from Metal Gear. The  appeal of  the  series is built  on  nostalgia and  themes. With the  advent of  Peace Walker, a new timeline emerged. In  essence, The  Phantom Pain  would be  Kojima’s Dark  Souls. This  is why he sees a lot  of  himself in  Big  Boss. The  allegory is there.

One way to  prove this  point is to  look how the  subtitles have been presented thus  far. After  months of  speculation as  to  whether Ground Zeroes and  The  Phantom Pain  were the  same game, Kojima lifted the  veil  and  revealed that  they were two halves of  the  same story. While both games are  under the  banner of  Metal Gear  Solid V,  providing two different names for  both of  them forced us  to  treat them as  separate games. Hell, Punished Snake somehow managed to  turn  into  Venom Snake.

When Ground Zeroes was set  to  be  released, we  called it ‘Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes’ or simply ‘Ground Zeroes’. When it was greeted with a lot  of  negative reception, all  fingers were pointed at  Ground Zeroes but  not  Metal Gear  Solid V. In  effect, Kojima had  successfuly diverted the attention away from The  Phantom Pain, which is the  true  Metal Gear  Solid V  experience. This  move is the  final  step in  Kojima’s transformation.  If successful, he  will  not  only reinvent the  series but  also himself in  the  process.

For  better or worse, Ground Zeroes has  served its  intended purpose, whatever that  purpose may be. The  anticipation for  The  Phantom Pain  is at  a fever-pitch. Only time could tell  if Kojima would be able to  accomplish the  monumental task  of  delivering on  all  ends.


7) The  Player


By  far  the  greatest indication of  this  theory’s probability are  the  players themselves. While it’s  not unheard for  fans to  create their  own theories regarding their  favourite games, Metal Gear  is arguably filled  to  the  brim  with the  most ridiculous ones.

The  most insane theory that  I came upon was how Quiet was the  result of  a mentally-damaged

Chico going under the  knife:


While there have been a lot  of  questionable  (read: stupid) plot  twists in  the  past, what makes this theory so  absurd is the  fact  it could possibly be  true. But  the  fact  that  Chico suddenly got  breasts isn’t  even the  most interesting part.

The  fact  that  a series as  renowned as  Metal Gear  would evoke this  kind  of  dedication is a testament to  Kojima’s brilliance. Ever  since Sons of  Liberty, fans have every right  to  be  anxious. They have come to  expect that  things aren’t always as  they seem. Kojima had  always been one step ahead of everyone. It’s  no  surprise that  they are  trying to  catch up.

Take me  for  example. I believe Peace Walker was Kojima’s first  step outside of  his  comfort zone. In effect, a lot  of  the  details in  the  story contradict the  events that  happened in  the  established history. On  top  of  that, some of  the  characters that  were included had  no  bearing on  the  plot  at  all.

The  best  example of  this  argument is Cécile Cosima Caminades.


Apart from helping Big  Boss look for  a fucking bird,  she  played no  integral role  in  the  story apart  from staying in  the  kitchen and  being a victim of  sexual harassment, which is probably the  most sexist sentence I have ever  written. Her  inclusion in  the  game doesn’t make any  sense apart  from pure fan service.

It is important to  point out  that  there are  four  main female characters in  Peace Walker, but  three of them plays a crucial part  in  the  story. Dr. Strangelove was there because of  her  role  in  the development of  the  Mammal Pod  as  well  as  her  relationship with The  Boss. Amanda was there because she  was a member (and  eventually the  leader) of  the  Sandinista National Liberation Front. Paz  was there because she  was the  one who set  the  events of  Peace Walker into  motion. Cecile, on the  other hand, was just  kind  of  there. By  the  time we  got  to  Ground Zeroes, her  role  in  the  series became indefinite due  to  some throwaway line  about evacuating Mother Base.

Because of  this,  I seriously wonder why Kojima would want to  invest in  the  introduction of  a character who would ultimately serve no  purpose in  future titles. With Guns of  the  Patriots, Kojima managed to  shoehorn every single character he  had  created at  that  point into  the  story. Some of them even belong in  different games. Hell, even the  joke  character from Metal Gear  Solid somehow manages to  get  the  girl. In  other words, whenever Kojima introduces a character, he  or she  has  an important part  to  play  in  the  story. In  some cases, he  would even reinvent them.

The  point I’m  trying to  make here is that  most of  the  characters introduced in  Peace Walker have little  to  no  bearing in  future titles.

Unless they made make a surprise appearance in  The  Phantom Pain. The  Boss’ voice actress very much implied that  she  may have a role  in  the  game. Some of  you are  probably wondering what happened to  Para-Medic and  SIGINT after  Big  Boss’ inauguration. I would love to  see  Amanda back too, since it doesn’t make sense for  her  to  leave her  brother behind. An  appearance from Dr. Strangelove would be  welcome as  well. And it probably wouldn’t hurt  to  see  EVA’s boobs in  glorious HD.

All  kidding aside, these are  all  just  theories at  this  point. They could be  true. I could be  wrong. Which makes the  guessing all  the  more exciting. Once we  are  ready to  accept that  this  is that  start  of  a brand new era  in  Metal Gear, it’s  easier to  accept that  almost anything could happen. For  all we know, Portable Ops  was canon after  all  and  that  Gene is probably Skull  Face. With all  the  Monster Hunter references, I wouldn’t be  surprised if Chico turned into  Grey Fox. Hell, Amanda could even be  Meryl’s mother. The  possibilities are  endless. And here I am  still  hoping that  New Coke theory actually has  some merit  in  it.





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