Whether you’re new to the world of Metal Gear Solid or if you’re a series veteran, I think we can all agree that the story is one hell of a clusterfuck. With the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain looming over us like a colossal shadow, I’m sure newcomers and fans alike will be scrambling to catch up with the story before diving into the next chapter of Big Boss’s life.
Before jumping straight into The Phantom Pain, you’ll need to at least be familiar with the events of Snake Eater, Portable Ops, Peace Walker, and Ground Zeroes – all the entries that have focused on Naked Snake and his transformation into the legendary soldier, Big Boss. Considering the convoluted nature of the story in Metal Gear Solid, I’m well aware that there may be little details that I might miss in this lengthy story summary, or plot points that I may flub. If you spot any inaccuracies, do let me know in the comments and I’ll fix them post-haste.
Alright. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s start talking Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.
Infiltrating Camp Omega
A year after the events of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kaz and Big Boss receive a letter from the IAEA, requesting an inspection of Mother Base. However, the pair was already aware that the IAEA was under Cipher’s influence, and they suspected that the inspection was an attempt on Cipher’s part to find Metal Gear ZEKE and its nuclear warhead. While Kaz and Big Boss initially refused the inspection, Huey Emmerich secretly sent in a letter, stating that they’d changed their minds about the inspection.
As a result, MSF scrambled to prepare for the inspection, and they sent all civilians currently living at Mother Base back to their own countries. At the same time, Kaz also received intel that Paz was still alive and was being held captive at a prison facility called Camp Omega. It was imperative that they retrieve Paz as she was MSF’s only link to Cipher. They also got word that Cipher suspected Paz of being a double agent. Because of that, there was also a chance that Paz could still be an ally to them. However, they were forced to put off the rescue mission because of the upcoming inspection.
In the meantime, they’d also decided to send Chico to meet up with his sister Amanda in Havana, in an effort to keep his mind off Paz. Unfortunately, Chico never made it to Havana as he snuck off the ship and made his own way to the prison facility so he could try to rescue Paz on his own. Because he’s such a genius. He was captured, and forced to watch as Paz got abused and raped. Skull Face, the leader of XOF, eventually forced Chico to participate in the interrogation process by forcing him to have sex with her while he watched.
You’re probably wondering what XOF is. To put things simply, it’s a proxy organization formed by Cipher and the Patriots, and it was led by Skull Face during the mid 1970s to 80s. Sharp-eyed fans will notice that XOF is simply ‘FOX’ spelled backwards, and the XOF logo itself is the FOX logo reversed. Don’t take my word for it, but from all the Kojima-directed trailers we’ve seen so far, it seems like Skull Face is supposed to be the antithesis of Big Boss. So if we think of FOX as a representation of Big Boss’s origins, it’d kinda make sense that Skull Face’s origins would be the opposite of that, hence the name XOF.
Chico broke from the torture and he told Skull Face everything he knew about Mother Base, including information about Metal Gear ZEKE. After obtaining all the information he needed, Skull Face had Chico send out an SOS signal to let Big Boss know where they were being held captive. Skull Face also told Chico that he had killed Paz, but she didn’t suffer. Skull Face hands Chico a cassette tape, and we find out that it’s a recording of sounds from Paz’s and Chico’s torture. Though Kaz and Big Boss could tell it was likely a trap, they had little choice but to mount a rescue mission to get Paz and Chico out.
Skull Face also tries to get Paz to reveal Cipher’s location, as she was the only agent who had actually met him in person.
When Big Boss finds Chico locked up in a cage at Camp Omega, he notices that bolts have been hammered into his Achilles’ tendons. Chico tells Big Boss that Paz is dead and hands him the cassette tape from Skull Face. Big Boss listens to the tape, and uses the audio clues to track down Paz’s location in the camp. He eventually finds Paz, still alive, and he manages to bring both prisoners to an extraction zone where he calls in a chopper to bring them all out.
Attack on Mother Base
On their way back to Mother Base, Big Boss receives word that Mother Base is ready for the inspection and it would likely be over by the time Big Boss got back. He also discovers that Paz has a large scar on her stomach. He quickly deduces that Skull Face might have planted a bomb in her, and he gets the chopper medic to operate on her to get the bomb out without the use of anesthetic due to the sudden discovery. The chopper’s pilot soon announces that he’s lost all contact with Mother Base for no apparent reason at all.
When they get back to Mother Base, Big Boss finds that it’s under attack by XOF and his soldiers are ill-equipped to retaliate effectively. In the end, Mother Base is destroyed, and only Kaz and another MSF soldier are able to get onto the chopper with Big Boss. Overwhelmed with grief and anger, Kaz laments that “they played us like a damn fiddle!” Before they have time to mourn, Paz jolts awake and she looks panicked. Big Boss reassures her by telling her that they got the bomb out in time. However, she tells them that Skull Face had planted a second bomb inside her, and that it was too late to get it out. She jumps out of the chopper in an effort to save them, but the bomb explodes, injuring those still on the chopper.
Big Boss is rushed to a hospital, but he ends up in a coma and won’t wake up for another nine years.
And… that’s about it, really! These are pretty much all the important events that lead up to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. It wasn’t all that convoluted now, was it?
So What’s Next?
Well, from everything Konami and Kojima’s revealed about The Phantom Pain so far, it’s obvious that revenge is going to be Big Boss’s primary focus in the upcoming entry. With the destruction of MSF, Big Boss’s first order of business is to locate Kaz before they can start building up their private army from scratch once again.
What’s interesting is that Skull Face himself doesn’t seem to completely be on Cipher’s side either. We’ve seen in the E3 2015 trailer that Skull Face grew up in a village that was raided by foreign soldiers, and had his identity and language ripped from him as a result. He seems to have his own agenda and some score to settle with Cipher, which would explain the few scenes we’ve seen of him and Big Boss appearing to work closely together.
We also have characters like Quiet and Code Talker, both of whom we really don’t know too much about just yet. All we know is that Quiet is a sniper “deprived of her words”, and that Code Talker has been denied his own homeland. While The Phantom Pain will certainly have a large focus on the themes of identity, war, and the concept of a truly united nation, just as past Metal Gear games had, it also looks like language and the ability to speak will play a vital role in conveying these messages.
And that’s pretty much all we know so far. Hopefully, my summary of Big Boss’s life thus far has been sufficient and clear enough to give you at least a sense of what exactly is going on in the games, and get you prepared for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain when it’s out next Tuesday.
Are you hyped? I know I am.