We left off in part 1 with Big Boss, Kaz and a mysterious third person in hospital after a disastrous attack on Mother Base at the hands of a military unit called XOF being led by Skull Face and likely under the orders of Major Zero himself. We know that Big Boss then falls into a coma and does not wake up until 1984, nine years later. From this point on it becomes very difficult to say for sure what is going on, at least compared to the Ground Zeroes portion of the game. There are a range of theories floating around on the internet ranging from the ‘plausible’ to ‘that might be crazy enough to work’. I’ll deal with the ones that I believe could happen and might just ignore, or lightly touch on, those crazy ones for the time being.
But back to Big Boss, he finally comes out of his coma to the surprise of a nearby nurse and the first question is, where is he? Well he’s clearly in some kind of hospital although it is uncertain if it’s the same hospital he was first brought into, there is an Union Jack flag hanging on a nearby wall which I assume is a clue, not that the hospital is in the UK but that it is in an area under British rule. Perhaps it’s nothing more than a decoration belonging to a member of staff or a patient however. It’s worth noting that we see an ambulance with right hand drive, this should rule out some countries.
The next thing to note is that the doctor that comes into the room and informs Big Boss that he has been in a coma for 9 years has a thick Eastern European accent and looks pretty similar to Doctor Madnar who appeared in MG2 and was mentioned in MGS4 (he helped Raiden out after his first fight with Vamp in 4). So, there is a chance Doctor Madnar will make a return. The next thing we are drawn to is the matter of Big Boss no longer having a left arm which gives us at least one reason behind the title “The Phantom Pain”, phantom pain refers to the pain reportedly felt by those who have lost limbs on the, now absent, limb. Big Boss ain’t the only one who’ll be missing limbs though, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Fun Fact #1: Kojima wants the Big Boss story to be told in intervals of 10 years. Snake Eater-1964, Peace Walker-1974, The Phantom Pain-1984.
The missing arm is only the half of it though, Big Boss is pretty well bandaged up, however, we can clearly see a bulge underneath the bandage on his forehead and I’m sure most of you are aware that Big Boss now sports a weird horn thing, which is reported to be made from debris and bone, although it looks like a black crystal to me. The most interesting thing here, and this is entering into crazy theory territory, is that when Big Boss is first admitted into the hospital and flat lines, we can clearly see that he has nothing sticking out of his head. (Also note that his left arm is blocked from view but nobody seems to be paying attention to it). Skip to 00:59.
And then when he wakes up 9 years later…
You can clearly see the bulge from the horn thing, meaning Big Boss somehow got this…thing…during his 9 year coma, which is very odd. Too odd for some people who speculate that this proves the existence of a ‘decoy’ Big Boss. There are a couple of other things that back up this decoy theory that I’ll get to, but let’s stick with what Kojima wants us to know for now.
Our next important fact, and this could possibly be the most pivotal plot point in the game, is a strange man named Ishmael. Where do we start with Ishmael? Well the first thing to note is that his face is completely wrapped up in bandages, why? Is he injured? Would we recognise this person without the bandages? Has this man undergone facial reconstructive surgery in order to imitate Big Boss and take on the role of “Punished Snake”? (Whoops, accidentally let one of those wild, yet somewhat plausible, theories slip through). Another Ishmael theory focuses on the possibility that Ishmael is a figment of Big Boss’s mind and he is seeing him as a result of suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). And yet another theory pins Ishmael as being Grey Fox.
Fun Fact #2: The name Ishmael refers to a character in Moby Dick, as does the appearance of the giant whale, it seems the game will share themes with Moby Dick and who can forget the whole ‘Moby Dick Studios’ thing. Kojima has also stated the game will share themes from George Orwell’s 1984, the same year the game takes place.
The imagination theory is actually not that bad and is backed up by both Big Boss and Ishmael both sounding like they are being voiced by Keifer Sutherland. I’d like to point out that I still have large doubts of Sutherland being the voice of Big Boss and that if there is a ‘decoy’ Big Boss, the new voice would make more sense but I still don’t see him voicing THE Big Boss. Anyway, back to Ishmael being imaginary, the hospital soon comes under attack by both actual soldiers (XOF again?) and “Those who don’t exist”. Those who don’t exist seem to be hallucinations brought on by the presence of what must certainly be a very young Psycho Mantis, the idea here being if Big Boss can see all these things from his past (Volgin etc) then what’s to say that Ishmael is real? This can be counter argued with the fact that all hallucinations are clearly hallucinations (they’re all on fire) whereas Ishmael is as real as Big Boss himself.
Not a half bad theory, the Grey Fox theory however feels more like a stretch but as you’ll see in this video, it certainly feels like this theory’s creator is close to something.
Now I’m not saying I buy any of these theories, and in fact some of the Grey Fox theory has since been debunked, all I’m saying is that these are some well thought-out theories that it can’t hurt to look at, they might point us in the right direction to the truth.
Anyway, Ishmael helps Big Boss escape the hospital in an ambulance (Ishmael drives) but they are soon overturned by something, possibly Psycho Mantis, note we don’t see Ishmael again after this point. It seems Mantis goes all out with the hallucinations including whales and unicorns, and our old friend Ocelot shows up to help Big Boss out of a sticky situation. After this point it becomes hard to tell what order things occur in and how much time has passed. But since the fall of MSF it seems that Big Boss and Miller (what has he been up to these past 9 years?) either create, or join, a new PMC called Diamond Dogs complete with sweet leather jackets. Oh and Big Boss now sports a robotic arm which seems to be a more advanced version of the one Zadornov used in Peace Walker. Speaking of Zadornov, Skull Face appears to be wearing the exact same suit Zadornov wore in Peace Walker, is this a hint? Anyway…
Fun Fact #3: Chico has not been shown since the attack on Mother Base, he would be in his early 20s at the time it takes place.
Sometime after this it seems things will take a turn for the worse once again with Big Boss, who I’ll now refer to as Snake (Punished Snake), somehow getting his face covered in scars (some people might say facial reconstruction scars) and his second in command, Kaz, getting himself kidnapped. So, with the help of Ocelot, Snake heads out to Afghanistan to rescue Kaz and he is successful, however, the Kaz he brings back is not the same Kaz that was taken. Kaz is now missing an arm and a leg, whether through torture or battle is unknown, and it becomes apparent that the experience has changed him, made him much darker. It seems both Kaz and Snake will be fueled by revenge with Kaz wanting to “take back everything they took from us” and Snake seemingly lacking any morals, “I’m already a demon”.
In Peace Walker Kaz was a pretty laid back guy, ambitious, but he seemed pretty easy going so you know it’s serious when you see him overseeing the torture of his own men. We see this when Huey (Otacon’s father and owner of a pair of robot legs) is tied down and getting worked over by Ocelot while Kaz watches. It’s a pretty interesting scene that not only shows off a darker Kaz (Ocelot always loved torture, nothing new there) but it also hints at the possibility that someone within their own ranks is a traitor and they are trying to weed them out.
Fun Fact #4: In Peace Walker, you can hear a recording between Big Boss and Huey about Huey’s electronic cigarettes. Huey offers one to Big Boss however Big Boss refuses stating that he’ll stick to cigars and doesn’t like imitations. In the E3 trailer as the realistic passage of time is being demonstrated, Big Boss is smoking what appears to be an electronic cigar. This has added even more weight to the possibility that ‘Punished Snake’ is a fake.
Speaking of going dark, is there anything darker than killing children? MGS V will feature child soldiers, what role they’ll play is still unknown, will we recruit them? Will we kill them? Well we do see one scene in the trailer that certainly implies that Snake opens fire on a group of children but this could be down to the magic of editing rather than something that actually happens in the game, although it would fit in nicely with Kojima’s fears that the game could be too taboo. Keep an eye out for Drebin, he was a child soldier in Africa so there is certainly potential for him to make an appearance.
Fun Fact #5: Raiden was also a child soldier but not until the late 80s and as such, shouldn’t appear in MGS V.
The red band trailer also tells us that Cipher is planning to create a weapon in Africa that can surpass Metal Gear and we also see Snake piloting a new bipedal mech with some pretty basic firepower capabilities, this certainly looks like something that you could control during a mission however, so keep an eye out for more info on that. As far as plot goes, that’s about as much as I can speculate on but we aren’t finished yet, the red band trailer introduced us to some new, interesting characters.
The first is a sniper called Quiet, apparently she never speaks which is probably why Ocelot orders his man to stop torturing her as he knows they won’t get anything out of her that way. Interestingly Kojima has stated that Quiet is the main heroine in the game, whether or not she is on Snake’s side should say a lot about Snake himself. Quiet seems to have a supernatural ability in that she can, what appears to be, control the colouring of her skin. Useful for a sniper who wants to stay hidden. Some have stated that this woman is actually a young Sniper Wolf and while I won’t rule it out, as Wolf did meet Big Boss at some stage in her youth, it just doesn’t seem like her. Wolf was pretty yappy and I don’t think she was that old in MGS1.
Then we have Eli “A youth who curses his fate” and I will be very surprised if this isn’t a 12 year old Liquid Snake. The way he sits, the open top showing off a bare chest, the blonde hair, the fact that Big Boss and Liquid did meet a some point where, according to Liquid, he told him he was the inferior twin. Not to mention the bible reference of Eliab (Eli is short for this) and David (Solid’s real name) being brothers with a cursed bloodline. Finally the necklace he is wearing looks like it’s decorated with, what some have said, are jackal teeth. “In the middle east we don’t hunt foxes, we hunt jackels”~Liquid MGS1. Eli is Liquid, put money on it…is what I would say if this wasn’t Kojima but even so, it’s a pretty safe bet.
This next guy is interesting, Code Talker is his name, “A Wise Man denied his Homeland”. I’ve taken that quote exactly as it’s given and I find it interesting that some of these words are capitalised, “Homeland” I can understand because countries are given capital letters but “Wise Man”? That’s very interesting considering the Wisemen’s committee is a known group in the MG universe, a very important group at that. They were The Philosophers, we are told that they are all dead but could this old man be the last surviving member? Even more interesting is that The Boss’s father was a Philosopher, wouldn’t it be neat if this man was The Boss’s father?
The red band trailer also officially introduced “Those who don’t exist” which included those that we already talked about from the hospital scene but it also seems to include some zombie-like soldiers that we briefly see convulsing in the desert and jumping high into the sky, are we to assume these are hallucinations brought on by Psycho Mantis (who we know won’t be dying in this game) or by Snake’s PTSD? Can’t say for sure but they look like some mean customers.
How will all these characters fit into the plot? I don’t know but you can be sure that Skull Face is your enemy and may even be the final boss encounter.
I hope you found this somewhat useful and if I left something out or if you have your own theories then be sure to let me know down below.