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Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain Trailer Analysis

/ Apr 3rd, 2013 No Comments

Metal Gear Solid 5
Metal Gear Solid 5

Miller, Big Boss and possibly Frank Jaeger.

In a surprise move, Hideo Kojima revealed through a new trailer released at GDC on Mar 27 that not only is The Phantom Pain a Metal Gear Solid game, but that it and Ground Zeroes both comprise Metal Gear Solid 5. Kojima specifically said that Ground Zeroes comprises the prologue of the game, and The Phantom Pain is everything after Big Boss is hospitalized. He seemed to indicate that the two games were one-and-the-same, but a Konami representative later said they are not, so the issue remains somewhat unclear.

Nevertheless, Hideo Kojima really delivered a couple of brilliantly intriguing trailers that offer a lot of hints and raises a lot of questions that deserve mention. With all of the playful obfuscation about this project and the comments Kojima has made to the press, he seems to really be excited about Metal Gear Solid 5 and putting out his A-game, and the trailer really shows this. Following is some analysis of the two trailers by a long-time fan, so expect some spoilers for previous games.

The Bandaged Patient

The trailer begins with us seeing Miller and Big Boss receiving emergency care from the point-of-view of an unknown character also appearing to receive such care, as indicated by Miller. This character is likely the same bandaged patient seen escaping from the hospital with Big Boss. He identifies himself as Ishmael, but his demeanor seems to indicate that this is not his real name. He also mentions that he has been watching over Big Boss for nine years–the length of the coma–as well. Whoever this character is, Kojima wants to keep us in the dark. One of the most common theories is that it is a young Frank Jaeger, known to most American fans as Cyborg Ninja and Null. Considering that he is apparently voiced by Kiefer Sutherland, he is almost certainly important, which would be consistent with Frank. Knowing Kojima and taking into account his recent comments about “misleading” trailers, he might just want people to assume the patient is Frank. One possibility that remains open is that we will see a brand new character.

We’re Putting a Team Together

Metal Gear Solid 5

A Portrait of the Mantis as a Young Boy.

Another reason people think the mysterious patient is Frank Jaeger is the setting of the game. Since Big Boss’s story is rapidly catching up to the established chronology, he has to meet up with the future members of Foxhound. The kid with the gas mask is probably a young Psycho Mantis, especially since he exhibits similar powers in the ability to float and move through solid objects. The man in the duster looks to be Ocelot. No one in the trailer looks to be a possible Vulcan Raven or Sniper Wolf, and Decoy Octopus could theoretically be anyone.

The Four Horsemen

Metal Gear Solid 5

An older/younger Ocelot?

Speaking of the Foxhound team, since every Metal Gear Solid game has a theme to the quirky miniboss squad, there is strong evidence that the theme for this game will be the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. We have already seen two of the four horsemen just in this trailer, and the Black Rider has kind of a mystical quality to his depiction. He also wears one of Big Boss’s old sneaking suits from Peace Walker in the one shot and Colonel Volgin’s outfit in the gameplay trailer. On a very close look, he appears to have small horns as well. Since those horns match up with the horn Big Boss appears to have in the last shot of him on the motorcycle, this brings up all sorts of questions about the Black Rider. As mentioned, the White Rider is almost certainly Ocelot considering he is wearing the same or at least very similar clothes to his Metal Gear Solid 1 appearance. Thematically, such an allusion could work quite well as a theme of oncoming doom relates well to the players’ knowledge that Big Boss ends up becoming a villain.

From Hero to Major Zero

Metal Gear Solid 5

Dermatologically Dangerous.

The mysterious scarred man with the hat is never seen from a good angle. He’s probably a character we already know. The scarred man may be working for Major Zero. Metal Gear Solid 4 already revealed that Major Zero and Big Boss’s friendship became strained and antagonistic. The idea of FOX fighting XOF seems like it might reflect the conflict between the two that gamers are told of in the later games. Nothing is known about Diamond Dogs yet, but the group probably has some connection to Major Zero as well, as the group takes its name from a David Bowie album, and Major Zero’s original designation—Major Tom—came from a David Bowie song.

Send in the Clones?

The hospital has a British flag on the wall. Considering the timeline and the fact that Liquid was raised in England, this might be significant. The similarities between the Black Rider and Big Boss, as well as the hospital itself, might indicate some clone shenanigans are taking place.

One-Armed and Dangerous

One of the biggest questions the trailer raises is Big Boss’s clearly missing arm. Since there has never been an indication in the chronologically later games that he lost one, this will certainly take some explaining. Since players never actually see his bare arm in those later appearances, the possibility that he had a sophisticated prosthetic all along is not out of the question. He seems to lose the arm during the attack on Mother Base, but the exact event is still unknown.

This latest reveal trailer for Metal Gear Solid 5 does an excellent job of giving people enough information to make some broad guesses at the game’s content and drive interest without apparently spoiling anything. In addition to showing off the Fox Engine‘s astounding ability to render body and facial movements realistically. If Metal Gear Solid 5 is even half as good as the trailers, fans will be more than happy.

Ethan Smith

Ethan Smith

A perpetual over-thinker, Ethan Smith spends all of his free time playing video games like an English professor reads books, writing a secret novel, and trying to actually finish a game of Medieval II: Total War.
Ethan Smith

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