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MGS V ; The Phantom of MGS 2 ( A Different Perspective)

Chakra_Khan

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Jul 24, 2014
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I had all this in my mind around October of '15, fresh off the release date of TPP (and back when I frequented the mgs related threads like a madman). I'd also continued to analyse and embellish the ideas I had rolling around in my skull in the wake of this game here and there throughout the craziness that was 2016. I'm finally getting around to this now because a.) I finally got my hands on a compooter and b.) I'd like to finally externalize this before anymore time goes by.

I realize the feelings that TPP left most of us with, and they were quite bittersweet.......actually just bitter and cold. In the aftermath, we all expressed our disappointment with this behemoth and the potential that it held. I hold this game in the same regard as The Dark Knight Rises: all the elements were present, its just the execution that didn't pan out so well (in my opinion). But in lieu of that, I wanted to submit this.......let's call it a psuedo-analysis of sorts, to the scrutiny of the community because despite all the reviews and critiques and analysis' of this game (and I've seen A LOT of em) , not a SINGLE one fully embellishes the idea that The Phantom Pain is an inversion of The Sons of Liberty. I'm not just referring to the "twist" when I say this either. I mean to say that the overall sequence of events, the plot, the structure, etc. betwixt the two games are mirror images of one another.

Before I begin, I'd like to preface with links to a few sources that aided in my thinking process regarding Kojima's work on the metal gear series.

http://www.deltaheadtranslation.com/index/

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-2YuPGYabw

I'm quite sure most of the metal gear community is familiar with the aforementioned, but for anyone who isn't, I would recommend at least reading the delta head translation links as they provide clarity on how Kojima re-uses elements from games prior.

"Charade's usually are humorous" - Ocelot, MGS 2

SUBVERTING THE SUBVERSION OF EXPECTATION

First I'd like to start with an image:



It is the cover art of David Bowie's 1977 LP "Heroes", which was done by Japanese photographer Masayoshi Sukita. The inspiration of which came from the paintings of the painter Erich Heckel. I'd like to follow up this image with another:



This is the cover of Bowie's 2013 LP "The Next Day". The following is a snippet of information regarding the cover art from the album's wikipedia page:

" The cover art for the album is an adapted version of Bowie's 1977 album, "Heroes", with a white square with the album's title obscuring Bowie's face.[29] Designed by Jonathan Barnbrook, who also designed packaging for Heathen and Reality, the obscuring of the photograph connotes "forgetting or obliterating the past".[30][31] The original cover image was shot by Masayoshi Sukita.[32] Barnbrook explained the cover, saying: "If you are going to subvert an album by David Bowie there are many to choose from but this is one of his most revered, it had to be an image that would really jar if it were subverted in some way and we thought "Heroes" worked best on all counts."[33] A viral marketing campaign was launched to promote the album on 15 February 2013. The campaign grew out of the concept behind the album cover, taking seemingly ordinary images and subverting them through the addition of a white square.[34] ".

If David Bowie's "Heroes" is Metal Gear Solid 2, then I would infer that "The Next Day" is Metal Gear Solid V.

As I continued to marinate on the game after completion, I kept pondering why Kojima was using an artist as prolific and off kilter as Bowie as a motif of sorts with something like Metal Gear of all things. It was then almost immediately that the image of "The Next Day" came into my mind and that's when my perspective on the game was augmented. Initially, my thinking was that Kojima was using this idea a mantra of sorts through the development of V, but this is a fallacy as the phantom pain marketing campaign debuted in December of 2012 whereas the marketing campaign for the Bowie record began in February of 2013 as mentioned above. Regardless, I fervently believe that Kojima had to have been inspired by this in some capacity or another. Lets also keep in mind that George Weidman's highly lauded Critical Closeup of MGS 2 launched on youtube June 4 of 2013. I'm on the fence about coincidences, but something was definitely in the air during this year.

Let us now look at the narrative and aesthetic association between the 2 games and defer from taking things at face value, pun intended, as we also examine how the forms are inverted and fragmented among multiple characters/scenarios.

The Prologue (Ground Zeroes and the Tanker Chapter)



- Snake infiltrates an american facility with an agenda hidden from the public under the cover of a dark and stormy night accentuated through the lense of an atmospheric, blue camera filter.

- Instead of descending to the sneak point via bungee cord, he ascends via rock face. This association between between the infiltration's of SS and BB are affirmed when the camera zooms in on BB's visage which pays homage to SS's in MGS 1's menu screen (the Deja Vu mission makes this painfully obvious and perhaps takes those associations even further within the mission itself) whilst also alluding to SS's infiltration in the very first Metal Gear.

- Unbeknownst to Snake, the facility is also infiltrated by a third party: a militant force led by a man with a cowboy fetish and an air of flamboyant theatricality. In GZ, they've infiltrated the location well before Snake has, as the game actually opens up on them.

- Snake ultimately accomplishes his objective(s) but it turns out to be a ruse orchestrated by the villain in order to flush the protagonist out in the open. Only the villain isn't even present when the shit hits the fan ( Skullface/Ocelot).

- In the end, the villain destroys the evidence (notice the first "big shell" (peace walker's mother base) is actually brought down by C4 this time.), seemingly kills snake (leaving him to the bosom of the ocean) and makes off with the superweapon (Zeke/Ray). The latter portion being implied off screen instead of playing out before the players eyes.

- After the damage is done, the prologue is capped off by a conversation between the villain and a conspirator who know more than the player does: Ocelot and Solidus/ Skullface and Paz.

Main Game (The Phantom Pain and the Plant Chapter)



- We start the game off a few years later (with an opening quote no less) as "Snake" with a clearly mistaken sense of identity.

-The opening funnels players through a linear sequence which essentially teaches them how the game is played. As SuperBunnyHop once pointed out, this is strange to think about when you consider that the prologue (gz/tanker) already introduced us to the dynamics and features the game had to offer (albeit a few new ones here and there).

- Much like the opening of the plant chapter, the player wouldn't have survived the path to the elevator had they not been following in the footsteps of the real Snake. Unfortunately, in TPP, the elevator is destroyed entirely.

- When we meet the real Snake, he is a masked man who goes by a pseudonym (Pliskin/Ishmael) and has a particular skillset in combat and avoiding detection. He gives us a pistol for protection and offers advice on how to survive in the field. As opposed to learning his real identity midway through the game (mgs2), we are revealed the truth at the very end (mgsv).

- A Side Note: Interestingly, notice how, at the end of the opening sequence of V, a tanker makes a brief appearance and, what do you know, it is occupied by a Snake and an Ocelot; the former of which has a fake arm grafted on and a personality disorder. See the inversion of 2's narrative? I feel that this is a sly nod between the two games on Kojima's part and perhaps alludes to the transition from one chapter to the next. From the ship, to the plant.

- Aside from the two main open world locations (which I'd say hearken back to mgs4(middle east) and mgs 3(jungle setting)), the meat of the story takes place on an orange hued rig in the middle of the ocean, that was originally intended for research but is now occupied by a mercenary force led by a one eyed man and a cowboy. However, this plant which the actors occupy is nothing more than a fabrication; an elaborate stage.

Let's look at the "players on the stage" in each game and see how the cast compares/contrasts with one another:

- Aside from the optional bulky armor (and being a one eyed copy of Big Boss), there are other aesthetic clues on Venom's person which allude to Solidus (I'm aware this seems like a stretch, but humor me)
  1. A primary and seconday weapon carried on the hip (katana/wakasashi)
  2. A third weapon slot ( Solidus' MP90)
  3. A back mounted weapon (missle firing tentacles)

- There is a support team consisting of two people who are playing fake roles to ensure the player reaches their goal.
  • Kaz/Campbell (notice Kaz's colonel like aesthetic)
  • Ocelot/Rosemary (notice Ocelot's desire to bone?)

- The role of the love interest who may or may not exist (Rosemary) is divided between Paz and Quiet:
  • Paz in the sense that she doesn't exist (A.I. Rosemary)
  • Quiet in the sense that she does exist only instead of being there at the end of the game, she is nowhere to be found

- Comparatively, Paz and Emma Emmerich both serve to make the player's character feel guilty over not being able to save them. Notice the stomach wound the two share.

- While in stark contrast to Rosemary, Paz's uterus carried death instead of life.

- Quite may also share attributes similar to Fortune (as the vengeance seeking, scantilly clad female soldier who cannot die) and Vamp (as the scantily clad, superhuman who's powers are dependent on water(as folks once theorized of Vamp before mgs4))

- There is a scientist, an Emmerich (Huey/Hal), who unleashes a virus (biological V/ digital 2) on the mercenary group wreaking all kinds of havoc. He eventually escapes the rig (boat V/chopper 2) but not unscathed due to the loss of his lover (and child in V).

- Strangelove fills the role of Olga, a white haired woman forced, against her will, to do the bidding of an evil organization because they abducted her child.

- The antagonist, Skullface, is a ruthlessly idealistic copy of a villain(Solidus/Big Boss/Venom's phantom) who's gone rogue from the organization which made him and has the sympathetic goal of ridding the world of their absolute control but is ultimately thwarted by the player:
  • V. Skullface vs Venom
  • 2. Raiden vs Solidus

- Speaking of Raiden vs Solidus, Eli's role mirrors that of Raiden's as the blonde haired, blue eyed leader of a group of child soldiers from Africa. Being "made" in the likeness of Snake, both Eli (The White Mamba) and Jack (The White Devil) "fight to sever the ties that bound them to him", to appropriately quote Solidus. However, Eli fully accepts and relishes his role as the copy of a killer whereas Raiden reluctantly fulfills his role in order to reclaim his identity (similar to Venom's arc). This association is strongly hinted at upon the players first confrontation with Eli: a bladed, one on one duel amid the wreckage of a ship run aground (Federal Hall/Masa Village). In this way, one might argue that the gene vs meme plot point is dynamically inverted:
  • 2. Raiden (Meme) vs Solidus (Gene)
  • V. Eli (Gene) vs Venom (Meme)

- Eli or Liquid Snake's arc comes to an end with a moment of foreshadowing, as he, with the aid of a supernatural force, makes off with the super weapon(Sahelanthropus/Metal Gear Ray) towards the game's end(V above the water, 2 below the water), leaving a loose end or cliffhanger. This is why I don't have a problem with Chapter 3 being a no show.

- The Skulls obviously fill the role of the Arsenal Tengu's. The advanced suits, the automatic weapons, and the swords are all there except the Skulls in V are bullet sponges as opposed to the Tengu's in 2, who are easily killable mooks.

(I don't have much regarding the machines in the game (V) but here are my thoughts):

- Battle Gear is created as a deterrent against the Walker Gears but is ultimately cast aside as Arsenal Gear, similarly, was.....or will be(y'know cuz the timeline. metal gear historicity is fecked man)

- the Walker Gears, in that instance, may very well be a precursor to the mass produced metal gears that were the result of leaked black market plans, a la ocelot, in 2.

- This may be a plot hole considering the debriefing in the truth tapes (wherein Ocelot informs us that Anderson is basically overseeing the A.I. network), BUT, if I'm not mistaken, AL, TJ, JD, and GW were all pooled into the main A.I. (The Boss) pod that shows up in TPP. If that's the case, then that means that the A.I. has been on motherbase, analyzing the data of the situation its been in, the players involved, the outcomes and refuse from the exercise and then will eventually use such as the blueprint for what will ultimately become the S3 plan in SOL maaaany years later.

Let's examine the "stage" itself



The above imagine is called a Cartogram, and this particular one was made to express Tor usage worldwide. The reason I'm using this image isn't solely to pander to Metal Gears prophetic theme of information control nor is it because of my love for the geometric perfection that is the hexagon. It is also because it connotes to my feelings regarding the series using the hexagon as a motif; ESPECIALLY in TPP and SOL.


The Stage in Sons of Liberty

The Stage in The Phantom Pain

The parallel form of the big shell stands in stark contrast to the crooked, yet symmetrical geometry of the seychelles waters' mother base in '84. Notice the uniform, almost atomic structure like pattern the two share, yet in contrast, the seychelles base looks more akin to a virus or, more appropriately, a parasite. The fake stage in V is, itself, corrupted. Figuratively speaking, the Big Shell is a cartogram of sorts. A cartogram of self deception. As is motherbase. Only, within the gameplay driven narrative of TPP we enforce the deception by building the "stage" ourselves. How does the stage get built? Kaz answers this beautifully in one of the cassette tapes: "....So our only option is to fight, and grow, and fight, and grow."

Simulation and Simulacra

To come full circle, Kojima uses a licensed piece of music in the form of Midge Ure's 1982 version of the Bowie classic "The Man Who Sold the World" in the opening moments of the phantom pain. This is, in part, an allusion to the illusion of the entirety of the game's plot. The song is the phantom of the original. Mgs V is the phantom of Mgs 2; a meme of a meme, a twist of a twist, a contradiction of a contradiction. It is the inverted mirror image of the game which, 14 years prior, consistently denied player catharsis. V does not deny us catharsis. No, it kills it, using words.



Both games conclude similarly; with the real Snake revealing to us the ultimate truth about the narrative and what it all meant. Kojima himself stated once, that he wants each of his games to carry with it a message about the world, and to convey (in his own way) that to the player while making them a part of it. In keeping with the thesis of this shitty analysis, it is at this point which I humbly infer that my conclusion of this games "attempted" message differs from most others. To clarify, I've seen that most people feel that the message directed to the players is one of meta-clairvoyance and positivity(similar to MGS 2); that Kojima was playfully thanking the fanbase for being a part of the series' wayward and storied history all this time. I defer, by saying there is a layer of sinister manipulation illicit'ed through the cassette tapes of TPP, and this leads me to my point: Snake, the real one, isn't even present for the players ultimate revelation.

If we can accept that, in mgs 2, Snake is an analog for Kojima telling us to be our own man and that we're, to quote Big Boss in 4, "free to be outside", then we can infer that ,in mgs v, Kojima (Snake) indirectly tells us we're free to be him (Snake) and thus takes the keys (to metal gear) and rides off into the sunset; closing the loop on the saga by leaving it on the same note he intended to way back in 2001: by leaving us trapped within it. The loop, in this instance, conjures the image of an ourobouros; a serpent eating its own tail.


This was the backdrop used for the pause screen when we did naked cartwheels in Arsenal

The image is used to resemble infinity, or, an endeavor without end. Much like outer heaven. In a sense, we never left Arsenal Gear. In this story, Ahab(Kojima/BigBoss) switched with Ishmael(Venom/Player), and left him in the belly of the beast; forever cursed to be ingested, digested, defecated out, and re-ingested in an endless cycle of fighting, and growing, and fighting, and growing. I'll elaborate on this idea further with two very telling clues:

Firstly, Consider the tantalizing reveal trailers for both games.


mgs 2 reveal trailer and final game


The GDC '13 reveal trailer and final game

Back during the development of mgs 2, Kojima kept his elaborate ruse hidden by doctoring in Snake for scenes where Raiden(the analog for the player) would normally be, such as the infamous cyborg ninja encounter in the images above. Kojima inverted the form this time around by hiding Venom(the analog for the player) in plain site at the end of the GDC 2013 trailer. The beginning and the ending of the game were already revealed to us. Now with regard to the ending of the game:

Consider Eva and Big Boss.




The notion of Kojima's intent is also implied by the similarity of the departure of the characters, Eva and Big Boss, at the end of each game (V and 3). Snake is wearing a similar riding getup to that of Eva. The leather the jacket, the goggles, the Triumph motorcycle.....it's all there. Even Snakes riding pants have the same tan hue that Eva's jumpsuit has. Both characters fuck us over (in Eva's case quite literally), debrief us with an audio recording, and ride off with the goods. Implying that Kojima mindfucked us by NOT mindfucking us and taking off with his own "Philosopher's Legacy": the legacy of the narrative of the entire saga.

Among the all the vitriol and dissatisfaction exuded from these forums in the wake of the backlash regarding the final package ( I was there), there was one commenter who's disgust with the game was such that he was expressed something that caught my eye: that the story was so inconsequential, that it tarnished his ability to enjoy the series as a whole. Though I have my issues with the game myself, and though most of us could scoff at the way the game ultimately handled the theme of vengeance, I can't help but wonder if this was the goal. That this was the Phantom Pain: Kojima's vengeance on the fanbase for not heeding his warning about the dangers of meme's the first time. We asked for answers, and we got them. We asked for less cutscenes, and we got the tapes. We asked for better gameplay, and we got it. We were left wanting in a "world without borders".

Many argued that the theme's of this game were either minimal at best or non existent at all. I would argue that the theme's of the entire saga: genes, memes, scenes, sense, race, and revenge, are all there. Yes, all of them. Except for..........



Boom.

Thus, the inversion of MGS 2's message subsequently renders the narrative and form of MGS V obsolete. In this backwards world, medicine ( the Medic) turns into poison (Venom).

Reflection

That about wraps her up. There are a lot more examples of association between the games out there I'm sure. As for the characters left out, I honestly had no ideas concerning the roles of Volgin (how we go from lighting to fire is just tacky) The third boy (why is he the third Kojima?)and Codetalker( though if I had any thoughts on him it'd be that his real name is George and his Wolbachia does the trick of both healing the infected whilst rendering them infertile(Venom/Solidus+Exxons/Introns). Thus it is George's Wolbachia or GW that fixes the virus problem in V.)

I've wanted to post this for a loooooooooong time now. And wouldn't you know it, it's my first thread. Thank you for taking the time to read it if you have. I hope it gave you some food for thought. It definitely made me harbor jaded feelings toward The Force Awakens that's for sure. Please, please, please, leave your thoughts and ideas. Very much would love to hear them.

Toodles.

BONUS

Do you know how many months went by between the release of The Phantom Pain and David Bowie's death?

 

KittenMaster

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I love MGS theories, and I've always had a suspicion that many characters and elements in MGSV were some kind of imitation of something else (especially imitations of plot arcs that many were expecting to see), but I never thought about it being an imitation of MGS2 as a whole (just, well, the end).
 

DigitalRicket

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Nice job OP on the write up. I've seen many people but together their thoughts on what Phantom Pain was all about but you seemed to connect a few things that I felt were never addressed, such as the ouroboros and the "stage" where the games take place on and represent.

A few thoughts of my own...

I believe that Kojima himself has gone on record to say a few things about how the emptiness that was felt at the end of the game was intentional, however, the very real ousting of himself by Konami couldn't have played better against the backdrop of the game's story. I feel the game and the legend surrounding its development and cut ending are definitely important to how the game is viewed, not in a critical sense, but in a more artistic and academic sense. It's almost like seeing a picture drawn through negative space. The cut pieces are important to the whole and only make write ups like your own that much more valuable when looking back on the Metal Gear series.
 

Panajev2001a

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Great analysis, my only disagreement is with the game leaving people cold and bitter... as the PSN achievements reminder e-mail made me discover... it is my most played game since PSN started... a gem of a game :).
 

Crazy Diamond

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Great OP! Wonderful write-up ...glad you decided to post. The Bowie connection is particularly cool. I'll be honest. I took a lot of what MGSV did for granted, mostly due to the lack of more series-traditional storytelling methods. But the connection between EVA and Big Boss really won me over and provided a new outlook on the game that I hadn't previously considered. After completing Mission 46, I stared at my screen, thinking with an overwhelming emptiness, "Wow, so that's how the series is gonna go out. Really?" But in the time between then and now, I've become very fond of TPP. I don't know what Kojima's intention was in regard to the ending, but the fact that years removed, we can still debate and share what we feel he was trying to get across with such uncertainty ...is worth as much to me as a third map and final showdown with Sahelanthropus.
 

Renekton

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Reposting an old question:

https://youtu.be/iZoniS3zkRY?t=5m20s

So one plot element in MGSV is about languages. Both Code Talker and Skull Face had grievances against English and considered it a tool of subjugation. Code Talker resented his native Navajo being relegated to spy code use, while Skull Face experienced languages as cultural cleanser and lost his roots. With some irony about English being a 'parasite', Skull Face wanted to use the vocal cord parasite to destroy the English language and restore cultures.

Do you guys think Kojima has a point about the English language?
 

SomTervo

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Good one, OP.

Been saying for yonks that MGSV is basically a remake of MGS2 but with aspects either inverted or pushed past the limit.

Man, now I wanna reinstall MGSV.

Reposting an old question:

https://youtu.be/iZoniS3zkRY?t=5m20s

So one plot element in MGSV is about languages. Both Code Talker and Skull Face had grievances against English and considered it a tool of subjugation. Code Talker resented his native Navajo being relegated to spy code use, while Skull Face experienced languages as cultural cleanser and lost his roots. With some irony about English being a 'parasite', Skull Face wanted to use the vocal cord parasite to destroy the English language and restore cultures.

Do you guys think Kojima has a point about the English language?

Having studied the propagation of English and language use across the planet, no it's not very on-point. The primary sphere of English propagation is business – English mainly being used as a lingua franca to conduct international business. For instance, you'll find conferences in Asia attended by thousands of people and the conference will be held in English so that delegates from 30+ countries don't need interpreters, etc. Then you'll see high-profile business meetings between organisations from non-English speaking countries, conducted in English. Indeed, countless (usually corporate) businesses in non-English speaking countries operate entirely in English, while at home (in their culture) the staff speak their native language.

There are definitely examples of cultural appropriation (and probably suppression by language, e.g. Christian missions?) but I don't think there's any evidence English's spread is suppressing any cultures on a wider scale.

Still, the idea of language as a virus (a code/information base that "infects") is pretty on-point and this theme of Kojima's work on MGSV is still awesome.
 

Number_6

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Need to come back and read whole OP, but I have to get to work.

I will say that I don't consider the twist to be a contradiction of the MGS2 message. That is, where Raiden represents the player and is essentially told to just make his own choices and live his life, and Venom is the player is Big Boss and we're all Big Boss, yay.

On the contrary, I see Venom as the consequence of missing the Raiden lesson. He lost his entire life, his identity, and now he is a willing puppet, an obedient dog, sent to die in his master's place. Ouch.
 

aravuus

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Ohh, this looks interesting. Subbing for later, don't think I'll have the time to read something like this at work lol.
 

Number_6

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Okay, read it. For most of the character comparisons, you sort of lost me. Are they parallel, are they perpendicular? Are they both? Both stages had actors, sure, but things seemed muddled if you're trying to argue inversion or subversion or ____version as a whole. Of course, this is Metal Gear Solid, so bravo to you.

When you got to the ending parts, the message, however, you got me. I can totally see it, great work! Now I want to play again
 

Chakra_Khan

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Okay, read it. For most of the character comparisons, you sort of lost me. Are they parallel, are they perpendicular? Are they both? Both stages had actors, sure, but things seemed muddled if you're trying to argue inversion or subversion or ____version as a whole. Of course, this is Metal Gear Solid, so bravo to you.

When you got to the ending parts, the message, however, you got me. I can totally see it, great work! Now I want to play again

Hey thanks for reading it at least. Yeah, I spent hours just getting this thing down and honestly, I didn't wanna take too much of anyone's time so I made it as brief as possible. I could've elaborated on some ideas more clearly but I simply didn't have the time. In terms of the character comparisons though, in my notes I'd said Let's take a look at the characters as there roles are fragmented between them or something along those lines. If you read James Howell's analysis of mgs 4, you'll notice he uses the word recombinate forms on multiple occasions. Kojima employs a multiplicity of sorts when it comes to the roles each of his characters play in the saga. Again, like you said, this IS Metal Gear Solid, and there were so many thematic eggs in one basket with this game and so much canonical baggage that something had to give.
 

Bolivar687

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Amazing OP, some of the connections are probably coincidences but I think anyone who's played the game knows a lot here is spot on as far as Kojima's intentions.

The only thing I regret about the game is that it didn't set up the origin of the series more, it was instead a self contained revenge story about a proxy war between XOF and Outer Heaven - just another chapter in the Peace Walker saga and not an integral part of the drama of Metal Gear Solid. I thought the themes on language were thought provoking and the cutscenes with little dialogue complemented this vision nicely.
 

eyeball_kid

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The use of hexagonal structures in both games point to depictions of chemical structures. A possible allusion to the DNA that bonds the clones to Big Boss and to each other.


Regarding Bowie, I think Kojima was simply inspired by an artist that continued to be so fearless and creative late in his life. Bowie was also someone that constantly invented new identities, such as Ziggy Stardust and The Thin White Duke. It certainly mirrors the idea of Venom playing the part of Big Boss. One difference is that Bowie eventually cast off the Ziggy persona because he and Ziggy started to become the same person. But even though Venom lost all sense of himself as he took on the role of Big Boss, once he knew the truth he still continued to play the role.

But there's few specific elements in the song Diamond Dogs that seem to relate:

"This ain't rock'n'roll, this is genocide" -- The tapes the people were forced to listen to weren't rock n' roll songs like Snake listens to, but literal genocide in the making.

"Hunt you to the ground they will, mannequins with kill appeal" -- Quiet was Kojima's mannequin who Snake fell for, but she was also sent to kill him.

"You'll catch your death in the fog" -- Such as the fog that rolled in whenever the Skulls showed up.

The worst part is that they used that terrible cover version of Diamond Dogs instead of the original. I guess you can say that was part of the metaphor for fake Big Boss, but it's still a shit version.
 

RAIDEN1

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I wouldn't say Metal Gear 5 was the Dark Knight calibre of this series, at least in that film it was a lot more ENGAGING...and not as barren...and actually had a plot...I might be sounding dismissive of it all, and I have been a MGS fan since seeing it in the gaming magazines but this latest entry left a lot to be desired...
 

JPLC

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Bravo, bravo, bravo.

I have always been of the mind that MGS as a whole functions primarily as a meta work, and this piece is good fuel for that.

Also, it reminds me that, in my opinion, the MGS series ended a long time ago with MGS2. I don't mean that flippantly; that was the last one Kojima wanted to make, and he's been on record saying such (though I'm not going to dig up anything right now). All the other entries are epilogue, a path he had to walk since Konami wouldn't let him make anything else (at least not with anywhere close to near the same level of freedom).

At 2's end, he wanted to give his audience the Freedom to Decide. We all chose poorly, though, and thus the Old Snake was forced to continue his wetwork, eventually leaving naught but a Phantom of what was.

In other words, post-MGS2 is utterly laced with Kojima's cynicism, both at himself and his fans. But there's also some admiration there, as life isn't so simple as pure love or hate. Some might call that petty, but I think it's absolutely fascinating, and no one else in video games of his level of fame has had such a body of work that's so ripe for all of these meta readings.
 

Chakra_Khan

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Jul 24, 2014
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The use of hexagonal structures in both games point to depictions of chemical structures. A possible allusion to the DNA that bonds the clones to Big Boss and to each other.



Regarding Bowie, I think Kojima was simply inspired by an artist that continued to be so fearless and creative late in his life. Bowie was also someone that constantly invented new identities, such as Ziggy Stardust and The Thin White Duke. It certainly mirrors the idea of Venom playing the part of Big Boss. One difference is that Bowie eventually cast off the Ziggy persona because he and Ziggy started to become the same person. But even though Venom lost all sense of himself as he took on the role of Big Boss, once he knew the truth he still continued to play the role.

But there's few specific elements in the song Diamond Dogs that seem to relate:

"This ain't rock'n'roll, this is genocide" -- The tapes the people were forced to listen to weren't rock n' roll songs like Snake listens to, but literal genocide in the making.

"Hunt you to the ground they will, mannequins with kill appeal" -- Quiet was Kojima's mannequin who Snake fell for, but she was also sent to kill him.

"You'll catch your death in the fog" -- Such as the fog that rolled in whenever the Skulls showed up.

The worst part is that they used that terrible cover version of Diamond Dogs instead of the original. I guess you can say that was part of the metaphor for fake Big Boss, but it's still a shit version.

Yes to all this. I'd say he used Midge Ure's version because it fit the 80's craze they were going for. I say craze cuz for the past 4 years there was a huge 80's boom. Now were slipping into the 90's and metal gear solid ('99) is finally getting its big screen adaptation. By Kong: Skull Island's director no less.
 

chandoog

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Good read.

Currently playing Phantom Pain on my Pro for the first time (originally played and finished on a PS3). Holy shit .. the game is so good. Also, a few years removed from the original fallout, I like the game's minimal style of story telling. The game conveys so much without dialogue, just the character motions, movements etc tell their story.

also.
FUCK EMMERICH.
 

xPixels

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Jun 13, 2014
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I had all this in my mind around..snip

Excellent, excellent reading of these two games. I want to come back to this later, but for now, a few questions that I hope you'll respond to/use to expand your reading.

You suggest that MSGV creates a loop, and you provide the image of ouroboros from MGS2's pause screen. This is a solid (snerk) connection on a narrative and thematic level, but I think it glosses over some of the medial elements at work here. Specifically, why is it we first encounter the loop on a pause screen, a screen that freezes and hinders the progress of gameplay that I'm assuming puts the loop into motion? What does this mean for the technology that players are using to drive this narrative?

Secondly, there's another important piece of media in MGSV that is build on the structure of loops: cassette tapes. Yet, as we discover by playing these tapes, they eventually wear away and break down, which is contrary to your reading of the "endless" cycle. How does your reading address the eventual decay of the loop?

I'm also curious why you pair venom and solidus as opposed to venom and raiden. Both venom and raiden effectively "learn the language" of the battle field by playing simulations (raiden by playing like snake, and venom by learning actual bits of language after capturing bases), and they are forever trapped in the language of simulation (especially Raiden, who has this adorably plucky "I'm free to live my life!" and then we turn off the console, effectively terminating any freedom Raiden might have). Might pairing raiden and venom open more possibilities here?

Anyway, great stuff--feel free to drop a pm if you want to chat about this more.
 

meerak

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Jul 28, 2015
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That was fucking awesome.

Thank you for continuing to make forums a worthwhile visit.

I can't agree on all counts and details, but the spirit of what you're putting down is something I really felt playing the game.
 

eso76

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Good read, missed this thread back then so glad it got bumped.

A lot of connections make sense and I think you're spot on, others are a bit of a stretch I think but you're definitely onto something.

Frustrating that Kojima never comments on these theories and no one asks him during interviews
 

Chakra_Khan

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Jul 24, 2014
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Excellent, excellent reading of these two games. I want to come back to this later, but for now, a few questions that I hope you'll respond to/use to expand your reading.

You suggest that MSGV creates a loop, and you provide the image of ouroboros from MGS2's pause screen. This is a solid (snerk) connection on a narrative and thematic level, but I think it glosses over some of the medial elements at work here. Specifically, why is it we first encounter the loop on a pause screen, a screen that freezes and hinders the progress of gameplay that I'm assuming puts the loop into motion? What does this mean for the technology that players are using to drive this narrative?

Secondly, there's another important piece of media in MGSV that is build on the structure of loops: cassette tapes. Yet, as we discover by playing these tapes, they eventually wear away and break down, which is contrary to your reading of the "endless" cycle. How does your reading address the eventual decay of the loop?

I'm also curious why you pair venom and solidus as opposed to venom and raiden. Both venom and raiden effectively "learn the language" of the battle field by playing simulations (raiden by playing like snake, and venom by learning actual bits of language after capturing bases), and they are forever trapped in the language of simulation (especially Raiden, who has this adorably plucky "I'm free to live my life!" and then we turn off the console, effectively terminating any freedom Raiden might have). Might pairing raiden and venom open more possibilities here?

Anyway, great stuff--feel free to drop a pm if you want to chat about this more.


Way back in October of 2015 when I was first thinking about all this, the idea of the ouroboros came to mind because it uses a Snake as its symbol. That was the significance it held for me. I only used the pause screen image from SOL because I felt it colored my point a bit better. That pause screen image probably held a different meaning for that game back then.

As for the decay of the loop, my mind isn't even there. I think that's irrelevant to the what the game is trying to say. We can keep going back and playing these games as long as we want because they are digital creations.

As for pairing Venom and Solidus, let me re-iterate the role of the characters and how they interact with one another. The meme vs gene dynamic between Raiden and solidus mirrors that of Venom and Eli. Yes, Venoms arc does bear similarities to Raiden but the "Snakes" the two characters are made to be in the likeness of are different people. Raiden= Solid Snake and Venom=Big Boss. If you can accept that then, in Mgs V, because your character is orchestrated to be something they aren't, the villain (big boss) rather than the hero ( solid snake) then it's only natural to pair Venom with Solidus. Think about this, George Sears also came across a blonde haired boy in Africa AND imposed his will on him by turning him into a child soldier whereas Venom comes across a blond haired kid in Africa who already IS a child soldier and instead attempts to give him a normal life away from the horrors of the battlefield. Do you see what I'm trying to get across here? Do you see the inversion? Why do you think the game ends with US looking into a mirror and seeing only Snake? Or why there reflections used as a motif laden throughout the entire game?

Really appreciate you taking the time to read the thread though and I would like to continue discussions with everyone about this.
 

Veal

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Dec 5, 2008
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I'm so glad you posted this! Excellent stuff! It echoes many thoughts I've had on V and why I appreciate the game so much. It's funny, people tend to think that Kojima lacks subtlety in his story telling, so when he finally is subtle (to the point of being vague) people miss his intentions almost entirely!
 

Chakra_Khan

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Jul 24, 2014
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Is this Metal Gear Ring Composition Theory?

In a world of sequels and reboots it may as well be. Star Wars doesn't have much to say about the world we live in unless your a Christian apologist. Considering the fact that we are still making the same mistakes from the past ( Trump Era says hello) it's not surprising that the media we consume should be any different. War is cyclical, trends are cyclical, Life is cyclical. Why is Metal Gear not excerpt from this?
 

Roni

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There's a lot more to this game's story than people ever cared to dig for. Which is funny considering how deep people went for previous Metal Gear games. It's the subtle interactions between characters that mean the most...
Zero's visit to hospital is,
perhaps, the most important scene in Metal Gear history.
 

xviper

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Dec 7, 2014
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the game is dead, kojima is out, there is no hidden things, theories are no more

just let it go, my sons
 

Chakra_Khan

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the game is dead, kojima is out, there is no hidden things, theories are no more

just let it go, my sons

Which is a fallacy considering the people that are kind enough to take the time to read this one and are seeing things they haven't considered before.