To say that the Metal Gear series’ story is “complicated” would be charitable. Each installment raises new questions, and occasionally backpedals on answers you thought you knew. However, with Metal Gear Solid V on the horizon, the franchise has the opportunity to clear up any remaining confusion. While fans undoubtedly have theories about where the story of Big Boss will go – and how it connects to Solid Snake’s – these are the five big questions we’d like to see answered in The Phantom Pain.
Where is Roy Campbell?
Roy Campbell is a major part of Solid Snake’s chapters in the saga, but his role in the early parts of the timeline seems to be strangely abandoned. This is especially strange given the series’ tendency to constantly loop familiar and established characters into the events. Campbell’s absence may be tied to the ambiguous status of Portable Ops as a canon entry, but in that game, he was Naked Snake’s second-in-command. They even formed the Foxhound unit together. However, Campbell was replaced by Miller as Big Boss’ lieutenant, and we haven’t seen what he’s been up to since.
What’s up with the Les Enfants Terrible clones?
With each passing Metal Gear installment, this question gets harder to answer. Different titles and versions have provided conflicting information about when the cloning occurred, Big Boss’ age when the project was underway, and whether or not he was in a coma at the time. It might require a retcon (which the series has done before), but hopefully The Phantom Pain can provide a definitive timeline for when Solid, Liquid, and Solidus were created – and why Solidus was engineered to age faster. Signs point to these questions at least being addressed; when we asked Hideo Kojima about Big Boss’ coma(s) in an interview, he responded: “There’s only once he’s in a coma, and to explain that you need to play towards the end of The Phantom Pain. There it will come together. You’ll be like ‘Oh, that’s what happened!’”
Why does Big Boss return to Foxhound?
Big Boss has a long history with specialized military groups. He was an operative with the Fox unit. He created Foxhound, Militaires Sans Frontières, and (apparently) Diamond Dogs. At some point after the events of Metal Gear Solid V, Big Boss returns to command Foxhound – a tenure that ends when he guides Solid Snake through Outer Heaven in the original Metal Gear. What’s his motive for returning to his old unit after The Phantom Pain, and how does Solid Snake fit in? Even if we don’t see the moments play out directly, we need some sense of his trajectory between MGS V and Metal Gear.
How do Gray Fox and Big Boss reconnect?
If you assume the events of Portable Ops are generally correct, Gray Fox and Big Boss have already met. However, later games in the series reference the two soldiers (and Naomi Hunter) connecting in the African country of Mozambique in the ‘80s. The Phantom Pain is set in 1984, and we know that Africa is one of the areas Big Boss visits in the game – so we might get to see this scene play out. If nothing else, Gray Fox is definitely a fan-favorite character, and it seems unlikely that Hideo Kojima would pass up a golden opportunity to work him into the story.
How do the Patriots become so corrupt?
The founding member of the Patriots were all involved in Operation Snake Eater, but they didn’t seem like bad people at the time. Para-Medic liked to chat about movies. Sigint had weird dreams with poop tanks. Zero loved James Bond. They seemed like nice (but strange) people. However, later entries in the game tell us that the members of the Patriots became evil and power-hungry. We know how Sigint, Para-Medic, and Zero eventually die, but we don’t know much about their fall from grace. How did this likeable codec-support crew turn into the series’ supervillains?
Hopefully, The Phantom Pain is able to shed some light on these issues and give fans some extra clarity. What unresolved questions are you hoping to see answered in the next installment? Share them in the comments below.
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