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The Admin Speculates – Metal Gear Solid V – Part 1: Breaking Down the Smoke, Mirrors and Trailers

By now, most gamers have probably come across Metal Gear Solid 5‘s first trailer, in which Kojima verifies two things: that The Phantom Pain is indeed a Metal Gear game, and that it and Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes make up what is to be Metal Gear Solid 5… wait, what now? Two games… that are actually one… huh?

Anyway, that inconsistency aside, what can be said about this reveal is that it shows how ambitious Metal Gear Solid 5 is going to be.  Don’t believe me? I’m including the latest trailer, as well as a gameplay trailer which I’ll explain in a moment.

Here’s the new trailer:

And here’s six minutes of MGSV in action:

Obviously, I’m not going be able to break down all of the little details I’ve gathered from these trailers, as well as from footage of Ground Zeroes, in one article – that’d be obscenely time consuming to write and read.  This article is to be the first installment of my analysis, the focus of which is displayed clearly in the title.

Without further ado, let’s get into it.

The Development

Before I get too ahead of myself, let’s go over what we know about MGSV, as it stands.  Last August, Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes was announced, sporting Kojima Productions’ new Fox Engine and setting itself up to be the developer’s first true foray into open-world game design.   Ground Zeroes, director-producer-writer-lead designer Hideo Kojima claimed, would also serve as a new benchmark for storytelling on next-generation consoles, with the inclusion of “shorter cutscenes” and “taboo themes”.

All well and good, complete with the typical Kojima aloofness and ambition.  Then, at the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards, the Internet truly faced Rumor Mill when an odd little trailer for a game called The Phantom Pain, set for development by Swedish company Moby Dick Studios, was broadcast during the festivities.  Moby Dick Studios claimed in their mission statement that they sought to “deliver an uncompromising, exciting, and touching game experience to people all around the globe.”

Again, nothing overly suspicious until you look at the details.  For instance, why did the company’s website have a domain name that was only two weeks old? Why did the main character featured in the trailer look like Big Boss, eye-patch and all? Why did the graphics for The Phantom Pain resemble those of the Fox Engine? Why could you rearrange Moby Dick Studios’ founder’s first name – Joakim – to spell “Kojima”? Why did the word “Ogre” appear in Joakim Mogren’s last name, when said word was presumed to be the development code name for Metal Gear Solid 5?   What was the deal with the oddly-placed negative space in The Phantom Pain‘s title card? Why do you taunt us so?

The resulting speculation and search for proof of a connection to Metal Gear went on for a few weeks – and longer, for those of the more obsessive inclination – before people decided to go on with their lives and worry about other things, like their fear that the Devil May Cry franchise would be desecrated in January (a fear I largely disproved, but I digress).  Then, we got a tip in the form of an interview – a little bit of gameplay footage for The Phantom Pain shown on GameTrailers TV with commentary by Mogren (adorned in face-concealing bandages) and “famed” journalist Geoff Keighley.  Much as I hate to concede to that jackass, I’ll give the man credit – his decision to press Mogren for details regarding the presence of a Fox Engine logo on the footage was smart, although I’d have hoped he would get some answers before the segment abruptly cut off.

Anyway, this renewed our suspicions that The Phantom Pain was, at the very least, a new Metal Gear game, until our theories were finally put to the test this past Wednesday with the official announcement that – yes – The Phantom Pain is actually Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain… and apparently Ground Zeroes fits in somehow.

So, it’s the present day – what do we know for certain? Well, we’ll be getting two open-world, Fox Engine-utilizing Metal Gear Solid games for PS3 and Xbox 360, not quite the “two games are actually one” idea Kojima was attempting to drill into our minds.  Konami’s Director of Public Relations, Jay Boor, has confirmed that Ground Zeroes will act as a prequel or prologue to the main event, The Phantom Pain.  There’s an option open for the games to also appear on PC and next-generation consoles, but to my knowledge Konami and Kojima Productions are still mulling it over.

The Trailers

What, then, do these trailers have to say about the Metal Gear Solid V project? More than meets the eye, as they say.

Right off the bat, the first trailer throws us headfirst into the game’s drama, as we are shown a frantic, lens flare-sporting scene in which Big Boss and Kazuhira “Kaz” Miller are being cared for in an ER.  It’s unmistakably Big Boss on the main operating table, surrounded by doctors and nurses, as the distinctive eyepatch over his right eye and the Fox patch on his right shoulder are present and accounted for.  The scene’s grim – Big Boss flat-lines early on, forcing the medical staff to resuscitate him with a defibrillator.  They succeed, but the doctor declares the legendary soldier to be comatose because “it took too long.”  Miller, bloodied but still conscious, then asks about “him” – presumably another patient observing these events.

We are then given shots of what happened, or rather what is to happen, in Ground Zeroes.  Big Boss rides on a helicopter over an undisclosed ocean, the camera panning to show blood and regret spread across his face.  Images from the Ground Zeroes trailer flash across the screen – the scarred man with the top hat, the strike force who wore “XOF” patches that mirror Big Boss’, the helicopter with the “XOF” lettering that was erased.   These are inter-cut with images of a brutal assault on the ocean-based platform Mother Base, including Big Boss assisting in the injured Miller’s rescue, helicopters burning in the nearby water, friendly soldiers being gunned down by an unknown adversary, and – indeed – the complete devastation of Mother Base itself.

Then, shots from The Phantom Pain are shown, like a newly-amputated Big Boss struggling to crawl across the floor in a hospital room, search lights panning across nearby windows, and a bandaged man dragging “Jack” underneath a hospital bed to avoid execution by attacking soldiers, as well as other reality-defying scenes (That exploding hallway? And the Volgin-esque figure? Curiouser and curiouser).   The slow-motion car crash scene, in which items fly this way and that, also reappears here, with a continuation that sees Big Boss coming face-to-face with a red-haired child wearing a gas mask commanding a giant… flaming… whale to attack him.

Then the man on horseback appears.

Without getting too speculative, it certainly seems like Revolver Ocelot here.  Regardless, we get the first hint of The Phantom Pain‘s gameplay in the form of a set-piece battle in which Big Boss rides shotgun with “Ocelot” while wielding a shotgun (insert forced chuckle here), blasting away at a flaming horse-mounted pursuer.  Before too long, though, the ride is cut short by a blast of energy from a lighthouse (?), sending the dynamic duo down the side of a cliff.

We are then brought back to the first-person perspective of Big Boss, as he awakens from his coma, shocking a nearby nurse.  The trailer ends with a bald doctor, prominent in the previous trailer, informing our hero of some fairly shocking news: he’s been in a coma for nine years.  End of trailer.

Trailer number two serves merely to boost our knowledge about The Phantom Pain, as it focuses on the moments after Big Boss’ proper awakening.  The hospital in which he is being attended to is under attack, and a man named Ishmael wakes him on the floor, informing our trusty Boss that he’s an acquaintance before injecting him with Digoxin to help his muscles function and telling Big Boss that they need to escape.

A fine gesture in theory, this idea is hampered by the fact that Big Boss hasn’t moved in nearly a decade, as evidenced by a scene in which he stumbles about trying to put his weight on objects before deciding to shuffle belly-first.  This decision doesn’t hamper Ishmael’s plan, as the duo slowly make their way out of the hospital room, down a hallway (in which a Kojima Productions poster in present), and to the lift.

However, the two are stopped by the appearance of the gas-mask-wearing child, who summons a wave of fire that knocks them on their backsides.  As Big Boss attempts to recover, and Ishmael pats out flames on his body, what appears to be Colonel Volgin marches towards them before vanishing – another sign of psychic interference, perhaps.  Ishmael, regaining his vigor, decides to lead the quickly-recovering Big Boss back they way they came, as the trailer ends with them entering a smoke-clouded hallway.

To be continued in The Admin Speculates – Metal Gear Solid V – Part 2: Making Conclusions and Questioning Mysteries…

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One comment on “The Admin Speculates – Metal Gear Solid V – Part 1: Breaking Down the Smoke, Mirrors and Trailers

  1. […] obvious from these trailers (and the link to Part 1′s here, just in case you need a reminder) that Metal Gear Solid V does not intend to be your […]

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