Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the latest installment in the Metal Gear series, the game that Kojima has already promised will be his last in the franchise. Of course, we’ve already heard him say that in the past. But there’s something about MGSV that seems full circle. The game arrives on Sept. 1 for PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, and PS3.
The Phantom Pain, which was split up into two parts — the first sliver of story told in a prologue called Ground Zeroes — is the culmination of Big Boss’ story. In case you don’t know, Big Boss is one of the two main protagonists of the entire series, the other being his cloned son, Solid Snake. We saw Solid’s ending in MGS4, of course.
Kojima has said that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the culmination of the saga he began 27 years ago. To him, this is the final Metal Gear Solid game. It closes the loop on the entire story and properly ends the series. Whether the Metal Gear franchise continues or not, Metal Gear Solid will be complete.
A big change to the status quo: Big Boss is voiced by Kiefer Sutherland after David Hayter was not asked to reprise the role. Why the sudden change? And why is Big Boss growing a devil horn out of his forehead and have a cybernetic arm?
Answers to this and more in our official Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain hub! But first, check out the official box art for the game when it arrives in September…
Kojima has said that one of the challenges of MGSV is telling the story in an open-world, non-linear video game. He describes the narrative of The Phantom Pain as unfolding episodically.
The Phantom Pain (1984) picks up 9 years after the events of Ground Zeroes (1975) with Big Boss waking up from a coma to exact revenge on the men that destroyed his mercenary group. The trailer presented at E3 2013 introduced Big Boss as “Punished Snake, “the leader of a brand new faction of mercenaries known as Diamond Dogs.” But at E3 2014, he was given the codename “Venom Snake.” Either way, he’s out to kill things.
The first part of Metal Gear Solid V, Ground Zeroes, has already arrived. You can find our Ground Zeroes review here. Serving as a prologue to the larger installment, Ground Zeroes tells the story of Big Boss’ final days in Militaires Sans Frontieres before he loses everything (including an arm) in an attack by a shadow organization known as XOF that destroyed Mother Base and almost killed Big Boss and Kaz after shooting down their chopper.
Not many more details are known so far. We’ve seen Big Boss come out of his coma and into this nightmarish scene at a hospital where we first meet some of those new paranormal enemies, who are massacring all of the other patients. Eventually, Big Boss escapes on horseback…
Some time later, Big Boss meets Ocelot, one of his closest friends and agents. They plan to rescue Kaz from the bad guys in Afghanistan, who have taken the revolutionary captive and tortured him for information. We know that Boss rescues Kaz because of a trailer from E3 2013, which ends with Big Boss helping a mutilated Kaz enter the new Mother Base.
This shit is dark.
Speaking to IGN, Hideo Kojima, the famous video game auteur, has called Metal Gear Solid V “the game I really wanted to make. Because of hardware limitations, I was not able to do that until now.”
After checking out the E3 2014 demo, we can honestly say this is the best-looking Metal Gear game we’ve ever seen. Running at 1080p, 60 fps on the PS4, Metal Gear Solid V is a real marvel. It could stand as Kojima’s crown achievement.
Here is the demo in all its glory (starts at about 40 minutes into the video):
When will we get to play the full-length part of Metal Gear Solid V?
Kojima teased that this installment could arrive sometime in Q4 2015. This was at TGS 2014, where the auteur showed off some brand new MGS5 gameplay that focused on Snake and Quiet, his mysterious new silent sniper ally with a bikini top, during a search-and-rescue in the jungle. You get a good glimpse at Snake’s post-Ground Zeroes sneaking suit and the ability to call your horse in any situation. Did we mention that horse poops on command? Here’s the trailer in all its glory:
Of note is that new balloon decoy that Snake can use to distract enemies/push them off ledges. Makes for some great comic relief in the midst of the tense moments throughout the game. Metal Gear Solid has always been a bit goofball military drama, hasn’t it? With more jokes than most other action-adventure game would care to admit, Metal Gear Solid V has tons of stuff you don’t quite see very often. Like all of this cardboard box action at Gamescom 2014:
Snake has tons of new gadgets in this game, such as the iDroid, the Decoy, and the Phantom Cigar, which allows you to speed up time while smoking a “special mix of herbs” and tobacco. I’m not even going to bother pointing out the obvious here.
Kojima previously said in a live stream that The Phantom Pain is 200x the size of Ground Zeroes. This might mean that the larger portion of MGSV will take place in several sandbox settings, although we’ve only really seen a desert setting in Afghanistan. This game is going to be huge, bigger than the controversial size of MGS4 — a game in which you had to download each chapter onto your hard drive before playing.
Besides the sandbox, two of the biggest changes you’ll notice in Ground Zeroes, and the MGSV world in general, are the minimal use of cutscenes, which mostly bookend missions instead of obstruct them, and the in-game codec calls. You no longer have to stop the game forever to tell Rose you still don’t remember what happened on April 30, 2007. Miller is the voice in your head again, and he’ll be responding to your environment and feed you intel as you sneak around enemy territory.
The Phantom Pain also boasts a unique multiplayer experience that takes the form of a tower defense game. Basically, you can build up your Mother Base and secure it against invaders — other players in the game. You’re never safe from invaders, and it’s up to you to keep your base safe/bring the pain to enemy bases. Oh, and you can also steal a bunch of stuff from other players. Here’s a cool trailer that illustrates how the mode works (starts at around 16:53):
But don’t worry, there’s also classic PvP for you deathmatch lovers. As part of the multiplayer component of the game, Kojima is releasing a new incarnation of Metal Gear Online.
MGO first debuted way back in 2005 with Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence. It has since been the multiplayer component of every major Metal Gear game.
How awesome is it that you’ll be able to play Snake and Ocelot in the new multiplayer experience? Just too cool. There are also gadgets, mechs, the Fulton Recovery System, camouflage, and selfies. Oh, and you can use your cute dog to distract enemies as well. Ridiculous!
Check out Metal Gear Online in this trailer:
It might be a little unorthodox to include cinematic trailers in this sort of hub, but if you only know the basics about Metal Gear Solid, then you know that cinematics are a big part of franchise tradition. So we want to show off some of those really cool trailers that have come out since the game was first teased in 2012.
First off, the very first Metal Gear Solid V trailer from the Spive TV Video Game Awards. Notice that the game was still a well-kept secret at this point, so it was teased as a completely different game by a brand new studio. Oh, how Hideo Kojima loves to play this games…
This trailer focused on the horror aspects of the game, which will undoubtedly be sprinkled throughout the more stealth-focused gameplay. Get ready for a lot of new paranormal activity.
The game was finally officially unveiled a few months later with a trailer at GDC 2013:
Kojima presented the game at E3 2013, and also showed off one of the coolest trailers you’ll ever see:
It’s dark, sad, and continues the theme of the horrors of war throughout what we’ve seen so far of the game. The P.O.W. camp and child soldiers are especially devastating, accompanied by Kazuhira Miller’s strained narration.
Finally, we got a last bit of cinematic Big Boss at E3 2014:
Coincidentally, we ranked all the Metal Gear games. We’re pretty sure every installment has been the game Kojima was born to make.
We also examined the original Metal Gear from 1987, the game that started it all, and discussed why this game is still so important today.
For all things Metal Gear Solid, visit our coverage hub.