Dissecting the Metal Gear Solid 5 GDC Trailer

Warning: This post contains significant spoilers for virtually every game in the Metal Gear Solid series.

Are you pumped for Metal Gear Solid 5? I’m pumped. Some others aren’t so thrilled to see yet another Metal Gear Solid game, though. Sure, the MGS games may be extremely cutscene heavy, but they are endlessly entertaining and provide for some great speculation. Case in point: the GDC trailer for Phantom Pain. If you’re not familiar with the series, it’ll seem like a pastiche of vaguely familiar characters and scenes. But to those embedded in Metal Gear lore, there are plenty of call-outs to previous games in the franchise. So here’s what this trailer tells us, filtered through the eye of somebody who knows Metal Gear Solid.

Mother Base, Snake’s home during the events of Peace Walker.


MGS5 takes place both immediately after Peace Walker and nine years later. After the events of Peace Walker, Mother Base is destroyed and both Kazuhira Miller and Snake (Big Boss, not Solid Snake) are injured. The likely culprit is Cipher, a shadow government that later becomes the Patriots from Metal Gear Solid 2 and 4. More specifically, the XOF unit of Cipher. Given that Cipher harvested Snake’s material during another coma before Peace Walker, they have reason to eliminate him as a rogue pawn on the board. Miller survives his injuries, but Big Boss enters into a coma after nearly dying. He awakens nine years later in a hospital.

The timeline of events from that point on are a bit sketchy. What is clear is that a bandaged patient assists Snake in an escape from the hospital as a pyrokinetic begins to burn it to the ground. He is also in a plane crash, meets a few mysterious-looking people, is aided by an older Revolver Ocelot, and builds yet another base in somewhere called “Diamond Dogs.”

Snake at the end of the trailer, with Zadornov’s distinctive prosthetic on his left arm.


Naked Snake (AKA Big Boss) is once again the protagonist. He is voiced by Richard Doyle (his voice actor in MGS4) rather than series favorite David Hayter. It appears that during the assault on Mother Base – the same assault that forces him into a coma – he loses part of his left arm, which is replaced by the prosthetic worn by the KGB operative Zadornov (seen in Peace Walker). As Phantom Pain is set during the years that Snake was wandering around participating in local conflicts (mostly in Africa), it is entirely plausible that he will meet characters that appear in future (previous?) games, such as Sniper Wolf or Psycho Mantis. That’s mostly speculation, though.

Revolver Ocelot, recurring character and revolver enthusiast.

As far as known minor characters go, there are two that leap to the forefront. Master Miller is one – he is shown being carted off during the assault on Mother Base and in the coma sequence – and Ocelot is the other. While Miller doesn’t do much except be dead weight and talk while Snake is dying, Ocelot actively helps snake to escape via horseback.

An unknown masked woman in what looks like a chemical-warfare suit.

They aren’t the only secondary characters though. There is only one clear antagonist – the bald, heavily-burned man – and a number of distinct, but not necessarily evil, soldiers. The masked woman and pyrokinetic man are two biggies, but perhaps the most interesting character is the bandage-wrapped hospital patient, Ishmael, that attempts to help Snake leave. Given the rather rapid nature of the cuts, it’s a bit difficult to tell what’s going on with him. It is known that he is voiced by Kiefer Sutherland, though.

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1 Comment on Dissecting the Metal Gear Solid 5 GDC Trailer


On March 27, 2013 at 5:54 pm

This was obvious.

But I’m psyched for this.