Metal Gear Solid V — E3 2014 Trailer Analysis

Note that this was written before the MGSV Preview event with the gaming press which unloaded some new info. A followup will address this new information before gameplay and character analysis are complete.

It’s difficult to say but amongst all the bodies here I didn’t see anything resembling military gear, such as jackets or weapons or any kind of armor. This leads me to believe this is a village, or at least some kind of neutral location. The burns also make it difficult to discern the ethnicity of the people there but I think this takes place in Africa. My only real hunch there is that Snake’s camo seems to be jungle fatigues rather than desert camo like he had in the 2013 trailer.

This may or may not be significant but I believe that for the purpose of the trailer this scene was staged in front of the funeral pyre we see Snake standing in front of a moment earlier. I’ve pointed out before that you can’t always believe what you see in trailers because it’s all derived from a work in progress. It may just be that was a prop they had finished that gave Kojima the backdrop he wanted to use the bloody Big Boss for. It’s possible this is actually how it appears in-game and it’s part of some kind of hallucination, or a vision of the future. Or this may not even make it to the final game — who knows?

This is a minor thing but these scene here really reminds me of Act 2 of MGS4. It took place in South America and it featured you sneaking through an ongoing battle and some areas of the level had you infiltrating a power station. Originally the game was billed as a battlefield simulator where playing sides against one another was much more important, rather than simply having some NPCs that will ignore you as long as you don’t shoot their friends. Given that MGSV has us going to Afghan during the height of the Soviet Afghan war, which arguably was the birth of a lot of the ‘war on terror’ related issues the world faces, as well as Africa which has been a continent of turmoil for decades now, this seems more possible. Also going back to Ocelot’s line — “The whole world wants you dead.” With any luck there will be sides to be pitted against one another for our benefit.

In Metal Gear Solid V Snake returns with the arm of the villain of the previous game grafted to his body.
In Metal Gear Solid 2, Ocelot returns with the arm of the villain of the previous game grafted to his body.

Amongst the Cyphers and offshore plants this might have gotten lost in the buzz — this bit is subtle but clever and I’m not sure if there’s more to it than there really is. It’s possible that Ocelot lifted the whole idea of “Liquid Ocelot” from his time with Diamond Dogs and this move was just one of several of him trying to live up to his idol and be worthy of the name Snake. This won’t really become pertinent until a later article, but try to keep in mind the purpose of this move originally. It was meant to preserve Snake’s antagonist through the series despite death. I don’t think this gesture is coincidental, but it’s possible that this is just one of many villain-memes we see Snake adopt with or without rhyme and reason to drive the point home that we are going to be doing bad things.

Skull Face shot taken via swapping Snake’s model with SF’s in the PC version of Ground Zeroes.

While most people were lampooning the emotional moment where Snake spreads the ashes of his fallen comrade onto his face, I was glad to see others were able to see the Skull Face comparison right away. Not only that but it seems that Snake and Skull Face are the men who embody what Outer Heaven is supposed to be so much so the logo is created in their likeness.

BOSS: Having personal feelings about your comrades is one the worst sins you can commit.

When it comes to villains, one of the things that makes them compelling is what makes them tick. The fact that Big Boss in a way takes the visage of Skull Face, even briefly, while mourning the loss of a comrade, makes me wonder if perhaps committing this ‘sin’ is what drives Skull Face to commit the kind of atrocities he does. This is perhaps one of the most blatant examples of Snake adopting villain memes as we see a nod to the villain of the current game.

1. a poisonous substance secreted by animals such as snakes, spiders, and scorpions and typically injected into prey or aggressors by biting or stinging.

Note that this is different from something being poisonous, which is a defense mechanism and makes a predator sick if it tries to eat or bother a creature with poison. This is a minor detail but worth noting because it adds more flavor to the ‘revenge story’ recipe we’ve seen brewing.

At last we get to what will probably be the meat of this article. No matter how little it makes sense, you simply cannot have a Metal Gear game without having a Metal Gear and Phantom Pain does not disappoint. Everyone has been frantically trying to discern whether this is ZEKE or REX due to the similarities between the two. Personally, I’ve dubbed the mech ‘Metal Gear Pequod.’

The Pequod is a fictitious 19th-century Nantucket whaling ship that appears in the 1851 novel Moby-Dick by American author Herman Melville. The Pequod and her crew, commanded by Captain Ahab, are central to the story, which, after the initial chapters, takes place almost entirely aboard the ship during a long three-year whaling expedition in the Atlantic, Indian and South Pacific oceans. Most of the characters in the novel are part of the Pequod’s crew, including the narrator Ishmael.

First of all, let’s compare and contrast REX and Pequod as I think that’s what a lot of people thought when they first saw it. First of all, Pequod appears to have either an AI pod or a spherical radome whereas REX has a flat radome. Pequod is also in general a much slimmer craft, REX has back struts on the legs presumably to aid for a nuclear launch whereas Pequod seems to have the same legs as Emmerich is sporting. It’s possible that Huey is being held against his will like his children will be, forced to develop this model of Metal Gear although whether it’s a proxy of CIPHER, Diamond Dogs or XOF remains to be seen.

Next, let’s talk about ZEKE. It might also be worth getting back into where the hell I pulled the name Pequod from, other than the obvious Moby Dick reference.

Don’t forget Snake taking Zadornov’s arm, either as a MGS2 callout or a grim warning to Skull Face.
She was apparelled like any barbaric Ethiopian emperor, his neck heavy with pendants of polished ivory. She was a thing of trophies. A cannibal of a craft, tricking herself forth in the chased bones of her enemies. A noble craft, but somehow a most melancholy! All noble things are touched with that.

The interesting fusion between REX and ZEKE, the latter of which arguably embodies the qualities of Pequod more, is what let me to christening it as such. It’s very much possible that the Metal Gear we see in the trailer is ZEKE fished up from the ocean and given some improvements, with the right gear you can make it look pretty close to REX. This raises some questions about what Skull Face, and for that matter Kaz and the survivors of MSF were up to during the years Big Boss was asleep. If that’s ZEKE, then it means that it’s under Skull Face’s control so he snatched it before Zero was able to get his proxies to do so. If that’s another Metal Gear then someone else has it, or perhaps it’s still sitting at the bottom of the ocean waiting for the Diamond Dogs to reclaim it.

Next: MGSV Preview followup, then gameplay previews and character analysis.