Characters: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
This page is for characters in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.For other characters in the franchise, see the Metal Gear character index at Metal Gear.
Characters in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
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AKA: Ahab, Punished Snake, Big Boss, V, the Phantom, the Medic
Voiced by: Akio Ohtsuka (JP), Kiefer Sutherland (EN)9 years after falling into a coma at the end of Ground Zeroes, Big Boss awakens to find his left arm has been amputated and the entire world wants him dead. After escaping from the hospital he's being held in, he assumes the codename "Venom Snake" and takes charge of a new mercenary unit called Diamond Dogs to get revenge on the people who took everything from him, no matter the cost.He was in fact a medic and Big Boss's best MSF soldier, who was onboard the chopper during the Ground Zeroes mission to help extract the bombs from Paz. After suffering horrible injuries protecting Big Boss from an explosion, Cipher performed plastic surgery and memory alteration to make him a Body Double who could throw Skull Face off Big Boss's trail if the need arose. At the start of Phantom Pain, Ocelot and Big Boss activate him to serve as a decoy while the original Big Boss begins building the nation of Outer Heaven.
"I won't scatter your sorrow to the heartless sea... I will always be with you"
- The Ace: Even after a 9 year coma, he's still the greatest soldier of the 20th century. He was also Big Boss's best MSF operative - and thus the perfect candidate for becoming Big Boss's phantom.
- Anti-Hero: Though he is fighting the evil Skull face, and he thinks the world of his men, he's still a war criminal torturing non-combatants, stealing nuclear weapons and employing Child Soldiers.
- Anti-Villain: Even at his most villainous, Venom still has understandable motives, as well as possessing humanity and inner goodness within him.
- An Arm and a Leg: The same skirmish which placed Big Boss in a coma also cost him his left arm. He wears prosthetics of varying complexity in The Phantom Pain.
- Ascended Extra: He's basically whoever your favorite male MSF recruit was in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.
- Audience Surrogate: In the surreal true ending, he is implied to be a representation of the player themselves, who in creating Big Boss's adventures has become as much Big Boss as the character himself.
- Badass: Even in his 40s, he's still an exceptionally gifted soldier. He is also acknowledged to be worthy of the title of "Big Boss" by the man himself.
- Badass Normal: He's just a regular soldier fighting enemies who have superhuman abilities, like Quiet and the Skulls. And he's not even as experienced as Naked Snake, or even primarily a soldier-he's a combat medic.
- Bag of Spilling: A rival military outfit, the XOF, takes out Mother Base and nearly all his allies. Big Boss lands in a nine-year coma after this incident, which strips away his muscle mass. When he finally comes to, he's so weak that he has to literally crawl his way out of the hospital.
- Becoming the Mask: In the true ending, Naked Snake tells you that both you and he are Big Boss now, as you've both helped to create Big Boss's legend.
- Bookends: He ends The Phantom Pain remembering what really happened to him at the end of Ground Zeroes. Also, this ending comes after playing an alternate cut of the Prologue hospital mission.
- Body Double: At the start of Phantom Pain, he's about to have plastic surgery to look like another random soldier whose appearance is for you to decide. It doesn't actually occur however. That's because in reality, that soldier used to be you, and you've already had plastic surgery to become Big Boss's double.
- Byronic Hero: He becomes far more brooding after what happened to him in Ground Zeroes.
- Canine Companion: Can adopt a wolf pup named DD / Diamond Dog to serve as a Buddy.
- Character Customization: You get to customize your online appearance at the start of Phantom Pain. This also becomes your appearance before becoming Big Boss's phantom.
- Convenient Coma: He falls into a coma in 1975 and wakes up 9 years later in 1984, allowing for a Time Skip where the bad guys and his allies can build up their forces.
- Covered with Scars: Thanks to the Fox Engine. All the injuries he takes at the end of Ground Zeroes leaves him with tons of facial scars in Phantom Pain.
- Dented Iron: In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, he loses an arm and ends covered in burns, scars and embedded shrapnel.
- The Dragon: To the original Big Boss, aka Ishmael.
- '80s Hair: Averted. After waking up from his coma in 1984, he starts tying his mullet up in a ponytail.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Despite being, and playing up his reputation as a ruthless mercenary commander, Venom has lines he will not cross. Noticeably he finds Huey both disgusting and revolting.
- The Faceless: He was covered in bandages for 9 years so no one would be able to recognize him. His full face isn't shown at any point in Ground Zeroes either.
- Fake Memories: Courtesy of the surgeons employed by Cipher, to ensure he would be the perfect Big Boss body double. Ocelot ensures they stick by utilizing info dumps regarding background information of the life of Big Boss to reinforce them.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: In The Phantom Pain, he wears a single glove over his right hand while leaving his left (prosthetic) hand bare.
- A Father to His Men: Loves his Diamonds Dog soldiers dearly, and greatly mourns their deaths.
- Final Boss: The credits reveal that he was the Big Boss fought at the end of Metal Gear 1
- Featureless Protagonist: Invoked at the start of Phantom Pain, where you get to do Character Customization for apparent plastic surgery that never happens. He's also a literal stand-in for the player, similar to Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 2. This is why the character's past before Ground Zeroes is never discussed, and why you're allowed to customize his former appearance and birthday.
- Hallucinations: An early radio conversation with Ocelot reveals that Venom Snake's shrapnel wound is pressing on his optic nerve, which could cause him to see things that aren't there. Such as Paz.
- Handicapped Badass: In Metal Gear Solid V, he loses his left arm.
- Heel Realization: Completely aware of how bad he's gone by the end of The Phantom Pain, but sees no reason to turn back.Big Boss: Kaz... I'm already a demon.
- Heroes Love Dogs: He can adopt a wolf pup named DD in MGSV.
- Hook Hand: What he initially has as a left hand prosthetic in The Phantom Pain.
- Horned Humanoid: During The Phantom Pain, he gets a chunk of debris and bone lodged in his forehead, which takes on this appearance.
- I Have Many Names: In The Phantom Pain alone he's refered to as Venom Snake, Big Boss, Ahab, V, and the Phantom. Or alternatively Big Boss's phantom.
- Legacy Character: Chronologically he's the fifth Snakenote and the third Bossnote . As far as the series release order goes he's the SIXTH man to hold the codename Snake.note
- The Medic: Assists in extracting the bomb from Paz's stomach at the end of Ground Zeores.
- Meaningful Name: He is referred to at a few points as V as in the roman numeral five, as he is the fifth Snake after Naked, Solid, Liquid, and Solidus.
- Meaningful Rename: After everything he goes through in the run up to The Phantom Pain, he dubs himself "Venom Snake."
- No Name Given: At the start of Phantom Pain, you're told your name is now "Ahab", and your past no longer matters. His true name is never given in Ground Zeroes, and you get to decide what it is right at the beginning of Phantom Pain.
- One-Man Army: He single-handedly takes out multiple squads of Russian soldiers, African mercenaries, and XOF killers in Phantom Pain.
- Player Character: He serves as the player character of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
- Protagonist Journey to Villain: Despite once working with the relatively heroic MSF unit, by The Phantom Pain he's a revenge-driven, self-confessed "demon."
- The Quiet One: Is this in Metal Gear Solid V. Kojima has stated that he wanted Venom Snake to be more akin to a silent protagonist with other characters leading the plot. This is likely to invoke the Heroic Mime trope, as Venom Snake is a stand-in for the player.
- Revenge Before Reason: He doesn't care who he has to kill or torture to get revenge on Skull Face.
- Red Right Hand: After being consumed by his desire for revenge at the end of Ground Zeroes, he ends up with a literal red hand, albeit his left as opposed to his right. The horn-like protrusion from his forehead fits this description perhaps even better.
- Ret Canon:
- In Metal Gear 2, a character off-handedly mentions a rumor that Big Boss was some kind of Cyborg. Phantom Pain reveals that Big Boss did indeed lose his left arm and had it replaced with a cybernetic one.
- His whole existence does this, as it not only provides a different reasoning on how Big Boss survived the events of Outer Heaven, but also wipes aside the Ret Canon of Metal Gear Solid 4 and Peace Walker to reveal Big Boss's motivations were in fact exactly what he said they were in earlier games.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: His attitude in The Phantom Pain. He's hell-bent on getting revenge on Skull Face and XOF for taking MSF and 9 years of his life from him, and is perfectly willing and able to do anything to do so, even after he admits that he's crossed the point of no return.
- Shoot the Dog: In one of the post-game missions several Mother Base staff members and soldiers are infected with a fatal and contagious parasite. This leads to one of the most brutal sequences of the game where Snake is forced to kill all the infected people. There's even a Hope Spot where one soldier seems uninfected...but just as Snake is about to leave with the soldier, it's revealed he's infected too. Snake Mercy Kills the soldiers and suffers a Heroic BSOD afterwards.
- Still Wearing the Old Colors: In Phantom Pain, he wears an MSF patch along with his Diamond Dogs one by default.
- Taking the Bullet: When XOF fires an RPG at Big Boss's chopper, he throws himself in front of Snake and takes the full brunt of the explosion.
- Took a Level in Badass: While already a badass in his own right as the Medic, Snake becomes even more of one over the course of the story Further adding to Big Boss' legend.
- Trauma Conga Line: In MGSV alone, most of his allies get killed, he falls into a 9 year coma, his CO Kaz ends up losing An Arm and a Leg, he finds out Huey betrayed MSF, and so on.
- Undying Loyalty: Was Big Boss's most loyal, and trusted soldier. He even throws himself in front of a fiery explosion to shield the legendary soldier.
- Unreliable Narrator:
- The end of Ground Zeroes was told from Snake's point of view after suffering massive trauma and falling into a coma. As such, it left out details like the second bomb being successfully extracted from Paz.
- The Paz that appears in Phantom Pain is just Snake's hallucination though too, as Skull Face's torture caused Paz to die of internal injuries less than a day later.
- Walking Spoiler: Discussing his backstory or who he really was in Ground Zeroes spoils the Twist Ending of Phantom Pain.
- We Can Rebuild Him: Gets a cybernetic arm with multiple abilities after losing his real one at the end of Ground Zeroes.
AKA: XO, A Ghost without a Past
Voiced by: Takaya Hashi (Japanese), James Horan (English)An elusive individual with a horrifically scarred face. He claims to have a history with Snake, and seems to have a grudge against the Patriots. He leads the Spec-Ops organization XOF, and is the mastermind behind Camp Omega.
"So? Do you see me now? Tell me, what do you see? Hm? You have eyes; what do your eyes see? Yes. That's right, you see a skull face. You see me. This skull is who I am, my mark, my proof of humanity. I have no country, no language. I have no face - but I haven't lost my skull."
- Amazing Technicolor Population: A cutscene where he's seen in broad daylight shows he has bluish-white skin. Subverted in that this is most likely a result of his severe chemical burns.
- Animals Hate Him: The minute he shows up at Camp Omega, the guard dogs start barking and snarling viciously at him.
- Badass Baritone
- The Bad Guy Wins: It's shown that both he and XOF managed to bring MSF down with relative ease at the end of Ground Zeroes, and all signs indicate that the group didn't face any serious opposition until nearly a decade later in The Phantom Pain.
- While he fails in achieving his actual goals, he does however succeed in satisfying his own personal desires—namely taking vengeance on Zero, and causing the condition he appears in during MGS4, as well as passing on his philosophies down to Venom Snake, which in part, leads to the birth of Outer Heaven.
- Bait the Dog: Giving Chico a Walkman after throwing him in the prison initially seems like a nice thing to do for a guy that threw the kid in the brig. However, when Snake actually listens to the tape, it's audio from the tortures of Chico and Paz. Not quite the best for comfort music.
- Big Bad: He's the leader of XOF and the Skulls unit that antagonize Snake in Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain, in hopes of making Cipher suffer by striking at one of their former allies.
- Break Them by Talking: Along with some torture. In fact, almost all of his dialogue in Ground Zeroes is composed of this trope.
- The Chessmaster: His plan is to deliver a crushing blow against MSF and pin the blame on Cipher, leading the two to destroy one another. Beyond that, his actual attack on Mother Base is quite complex with many layers and angles to it. But it is also very well planned and executed.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Delivers, quite possibly, the most horrifying example in Metal Gear history.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: At the end, he's shot several times at point blank range with a shotgun, blowing off the limbs Miller lost. Snake and Miller leave him to die a slow, agonizing death, but is eventually capped in the head by a remorseful Huey. This event also doubles as a Laser-Guided Karmic Death.
- Cursed with Awesome: The sheer damage that he's taken inhibits any sort of pain directed at him. Of course, this comes with the price of looking like he does.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Just in case Snake found the bomb he put inside Paz's abdomen, he put a second bomb in her vagina for good measure, and had vital organs removed so she would die regardless.
- Defector from Decadence: He rebelled against Cipher, despite working for the organization for decades.
- Determinator: As evil and twisted as he is, he has endured a shit ton of stuff, which hasn't slowed him down in the slightest.
- Determined Defeatist: He has lost everything, face included, yet continues for some (currently unknown) reason.
- Dragon with an Agenda: He was Cipher / the Patriots' top enforcer, before he discovered Cipher's plans and decided to destroy the organization and all they cared about (including former members like Big Boss) rather than allow their "perfect world" to come to pass.
- Driven by Envy: The reason he hates Big Boss and Cipher so much; he was once part of Big Boss' hidden support staff, and watching Big Boss become more and more of a famous hero while he was forced to remain in the shadows by Cipher increasingly grated on him. His rebellion is motivated at least mostly by his anger at being Always Second Best by design.
- Early-Bird Cameo: All of Ground Zeroes counts for this - his motivations are only hinted at.
- Enemy Mine: Defied. When Paz asks him if he'd kill Zero for her, he bluntly responds "Not for you."
- Establishing Character Moment: A retroactive example - see "Bait the Dog".
- Even Evil Has Standards: He respects loyalty, so when Huey tries to double-cross him, even he is disgusted by how despicable he is and wastes no time putting him in his place.
- Evil Counterpart: Of Snake. Both are crack operatives that have a considerable amount of influence over the people that work for them. As Snake finds himself Slowly Slipping Into Evil, he becomes the eviler counterpart. Furthermore, both have horrific and tragic pasts, but even when Snake fell, he was never completely consumed by the darkness.
- Going a step further, the final trailer for the game details his background over footage of a changing and increasingly bloody Big Boss.
- Evil Is Hammy: He's apparently very fond of dramatic language and gesturing.
- Evil Plan: In Phantom Pain, his plan is as follows:
- Step One: Create easy-to-make nuclear weapons that he can stop from detonating, and distribute them around the world with the Metal Gears needed to fire them. Not only would this upset the global balance of power, but it would also put most of the nukes in the world under Skull Face's control, no matter who has them.
- Step Two: With everyone afraid of the nukes, release an infectious parasite that only becomes fatal when its host speaks the English language. By "liberating" the world from English, a new global language will be created: One composed of Metal Gears and nukes. Then there will be peace through mass nuclear deterrence.
- Evil Sounds Deep: He has a deep, gravely voice.
- Expy: Some fans have drawn a few paralels between Skull Face and The Joker, particularly his incarnation from The Dark Knight and the eponymous Joker graphic novel. That the audio tapes, particularly the one with Skull Face detailing his backstory can be likened to one of Joker's infamous "scar stories" and the fact that he's a Wild Card playing against both Snake and Cipher doesn't help one bit.
- Facial Horror: His nose is crooked, he sports a Glasgow smile, and his entire face is one huge disfiguring burn scar.
- Fate Worse Than Death: People he knew before the incident regarded his disfiguring as this. In fact, when he was first wounded, he overheard a nurse outside of his hospital room actually stating that he'd be better off dead.
- Faux Affably Evil: Is one of the most polite, well spoken, and horrific villains to ever grace the Metal Gear series.
- Feel No Pain: The sheer amount of damage he's taken seems to have included even severe, permanent nerve damage, inhibiting his ability to feel any sort of pain.
- Foregone Conclusion: He states that his goal is to create someone else like him. Someone that only lives for the sake of revenge. Canon indicates that he succeeds with Snake; which is starkly indicated by Big Boss's cynical perceptions on war and the ultimate ignoble fate of soldiers detailed in his speech to Solid Snake in Zanzibarland.
- Freudian Excuse: As much of a monster as he is, his past is pretty horrifying.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He went from being an ordinary child in a third-world country to a significant threat to both Snake and Cipher.
- Glasgow Grin: He has a pair of gashes upon his lips, among his many other scars.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: An antagonist with disfiguring scars covering his entire face. A far cry from the thin ones the protagonist, Snake, sports.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Does this to Huey, leaving him to Venom Snake after he learns about his attempts to double-cross them.
- Winds up being on the receiving end of this after his defeat, with Miller and Venom Snake taking vengeance on him in the most agonizing and surprisingly therapeutic way possible after all Skull Face has done, leaving him to bleed out and suffer as they did. He attempts to reach for his weapon to end himself and fails, but is eventually shot in the head by Huey.
- Kick the Dog: He asks Chico how it feels to be a traitor to MSF, after the torture he put him and Paz through in order to make him talk. In the post-credits scene of Ground Zeroes, he mocks Paz for her attempt at a heroic sacrifice, saying that it wasn't going to "change the world" as she had hoped.
- Klingon Promotion: Does this to Zero, thereby causing his vegetative condition and subsequently taking control of most of Cipher and its nearly limitless resources.
- Last of His Kind: Established in the interrogation tape."When my time came calling, I didn't die. My family died, my country died, but they didn't take me with them. All Hell took from me was this skin, this outer peel that marked me human."
- Malevolent Masked Man: A domino mask while in Afghanistan.
- Meaningful Name: Just look at his face and you'll see that his name fits. He even tells people that that's all that people see in him after his skin was burned off.
- Mysterious Past: When first introduced he mentions "Your Boss (Snake) and I go way back.", and his country of origin is only hinted at. It's only by obtaining optional tapes that you learn Skull Face and his unit had served as Big Boss's backup / shadow ever since Operation Snake Eater.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: He probably has one of the least subtle names of any of the antagonists in Metal Gear.
- New Old West: Troops at Camp Omega note that he has the mannerisms of a cowboy, and his later appearance with an appropriate hat, boots with spurs, and a domino mask only reinforce this. Though not yet seen in the game, the marines note that he even carries a lever-action shotgun as his Weapon of Choice.
- Nice Hat: He may be a horrible human being, but his hat is awesome.
- No One Should Survive That: On the interrogation tape:"At the infirmary they carried me to, a nurse in the corridor saw me and remarked, as if it happened every day: 'They should let the poor thing die.' Those are the only words of my mother tongue I remember."
- Only Known by Their Nickname: His real name is unknown, and he identifies himself as being simply a "Skull Face."
- Order Versus Chaos: Represents chaos to Cipher's order, wishing to create a fractured world of retaliation rather than a united one under Cipher control.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: He physically abuses Paz and it is implied that he raped her. It's also heavily implied that he forces Chico to have sex with her so he could play voyeur.
- Remember the New Guy: He's apparently been serving with the FOX unit and Cipher since Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, despite never being introduced in any of the games before MGSV.
- Revenge: He is apparently out to exact it against Cipher (including Snake, whom he tells Chico that he goes way back with) for an unknown reason.
- Ruritania: Skull Face can be heard issuing the command "Vigyétek a ketrecébe!" in one of Chico's tapes; the phrase is Hungarian and, since the language is uncommon outside of Europe, it's probable he hails from Hungary or somewhere near the country.
- Sadistic Choice: Issues this to Paz. Choose Snake or Zero, only one side of the conflict can be saved. Paz ultimately gives away Zero's location.
- Shrouded in Myth: His unit, XOF, is evidently shrouded in mystery - even the Marines that were present when he personally visited Camp Omega have no idea who he is or what his unit stands for.
- Skull for a Head: As his name would indicate.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: When torturing people one-on-one, he often talks politely while putting them through pain.
- Straw Nihilist: He believes in the concept of hope... But only because, in his eyes, almost all hope is based upon superficial qualities, but it helps him survive.
- Torture Technician: Especially in Ground Zeroes. Counting the audio logs, the only scene where he isn't heard torturing anyone is the opening sequence - and even then, he casually mentions that he tortured Paz.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: He implies that he was a perfectly normal kid before his village was bombed and he was scarred.
- Villainous Breakdown: Shows signs of this after Venom Snake and Miller finally break him by blowing most of his limbs off with his own lever action shotgun and attempt to deliberately deprive him of a quick death by leaving him trapped under a collapsed radio tower.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: If his claims of seeking "liberation" are true. It would appear that he's out to get away from Cipher's influence and defeat Zero, and that perhaps he is another villain in a long line of rebellions against the established order set by the Patriots. Since Zero is still "in power" for several decades, it seems for him Failure Is the Only Option.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: His voice and accent are different depending on his interrogation subject(s). Also there's a scene where he's issuing orders to soldiers in a softer tone of voice, and then when he's done he switches back to his usual gravely tone. Of course, he might be doing this deliberately. Where he's from is not clear. However, he speaks one line in Hungarian, which would imply that could be his country of origin - and, given that there were several bombings in that country during World War II, his backstory would support this.
- Who Needs Enemies?: See Enemy Mine above.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: A villainous variant that is delivered in a post-credits scene (and one of the audio files) - about the song "Here's to You", of all things.Skull Face: Your favorite song... Nicola, Bart - immigrants wrongly executed... But their deaths served as a message to others: that ours is a society that murders the innocent. Do you, too, believe that your sacrifice will change the world?
- Would Hit a Girl: He hits Paz when she objects to his plans, and even strips and belt-whips her, possibly even raping her.
- Would Hurt a Child: He has no problem with torturing Chico for information. He even puts screws in his feet to keep him from going anywhere.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: While horrific, Skull Face also has a horrific past. Listening to him talk about his motivation being to make sure his people live on through him, and his words of Nihilistic view on hope, which is the only reason he keeps on living will at least make you feel sorry for him.
- Worthy Opponent: Seems to hold Snake in high regard, telling Chico he knows Snake is going to rescue Chico, regardless of him knowing it's a trap, because he knows Snake is a good man. He also quotes him on a number of occasions.
Morpho / Pequod
The pilot that assists Snake throughout Ground Zeroes, and the only back-up that he receives for the various operations he carries out in Camp Omega. In The Phantom Pain, there's a new chopper pilot with the callsign Pequod to fit with the game's Moby Schtick, and while he has the same voice actor as Morpho, it's unclear as to whether it's meant to be the same character.
- Big Damn Heroes: Is the go-to method of extraction for most missions. Notable examples include "Intel Operative Rescue," where he and Snake provide air support while the operative (Hideo) makes his way to the LZ, and the end of the main story, where he helps evacuate Mother Base during the attack.
- Can be invoked by the player at any time by selecting a high-danger Landing Zone - though this comes with the risk of him getting shot down.
- Disposable Pilot: Averted. He appears alive and well in Phantom Pain with a new helicopter after the bomb inside of Paz's body destroys the first one. In some missions of Ground Zeroes, his death is an instant game over, although not on all of them. See Replacement Goldfish.
- Gunship Rescue: His whole shtick, especially in "Intel Operative Rescue."
- Improbable Piloting Skills: Subverted. His skills are impressive, but the helicopter itself is still just as vulnerable to heavy weapons as any other vehicle.
- The Lancer: He's the only guy that can help Snake out on his missions in the Naval base, and he's crucial to completing them.
- Replacement Goldfish: Did his helicopter get shot down while he was flying over the base? Don't worry, he'll be back in a few minutes with another one!
- Theme Naming: Like most soldiers at Mother Base, he's named after an animal. Specifically, he's named after the butterfly that was seen frequently in Peace Walker. In keeping with the Moby-Dick references, in The Phantom Pain, he shares his codename with the ship from the novel.
Glaz and Palitz
Glaz and Palitz, "the eye" and "the finger", are two U.S. Marines who worked as a sniper-spotter team during the Laotian Civil War. Miller sends Snake on a tip from the KGB to eliminate them in the Ground Zeroes Side Ops mission "Eliminate the Renegade Threat".
- The Atoner: Their days in Laos have haunted them far more than they are caring to admit, and they have resorted to self-mutilation. If Big Boss interrogates them, they even accept their death.
- Bald of Evil: Palitz.
- Cold Sniper: Obviously. Subverted, however: just because they're cold doesn't mean they don't feel guilt.
- Canon Welding: Defied. Miller was requested to assassinate the two by KGB special forces "from [Miller's] Columbia days", but Miller specifically states they had nothing to do with Zadornov.
- The Dreaded: Kaz notes that to the east, they were a reason to be afraid of the dark.
- Even Evil Has Standards: In spite of their War Crimes, both of them were horrified by what was going on in Camp Omega.
- Eye Scream/Fingore: Extracting them both will reveal that Glaz is missing his right eye and Palitz has a prosthetic finger.
- Foreshadowing: Interrogate either of them, and they will tell you that a "Phantom" is approaching. Whether or not this refers to Skull Face or anyone else is unclear.
- Heel-Face Turn: If you upload a GZ save to Phantom pain, they'll join up with Snake's crew, presumably after they were captured.
- Hidden Depths: Should Snake knock them out and take them to Mother Base, Miller discovers that they inflicted mutilation upon themselves (Glaz having a glass eye and Palitz having a plastic finger), indicating that even they were remorseful and horrified by what they've done.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: It's pretty telling how much Snake and Miller's clients hate these two when you can kill both men and still get an S Rank.
- Killed Off for Real: If Snake chooses.
- Alternatively, Snake can opt for a non-lethal approach by knocking them out and having them extracted out of the mission area, and both of them become Diamond Dogs staff if save data is uploaded in The Phantom Pain.
- Meaningful Name: In addition to the "eye" and "finger" representing their roles as sniper and spotter, Miller says their nicknames are a reference to being "less than human - no heart, just an eye to find their prey and a finger to pull the trigger."
- Off on a Technicality: While not necessarily free men (negotiations are in progress regarding their extradition for trial), Kaz notes that they're "living comfortably in a loophole," stationed at the secret Cuban blacksite where international law isn't a concern.
- Offstage Villainy: Neither target manages to Kick the Dog during the mission proper, since they're in the custody of the Marines, but Miller provides more than enough Informed Attributes to give them decent characterization.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: By their foreign nicknames, even!
- Scary Black Man: Glaz.
- Sinister Shades: Glaz wears them for a very good reason.
- Sociopathic Soldier: It's implied that many of their kills were made in violation of international law, and may have included civilians. Kaz notes that their extradition to face trial is a major factor in the ongoing peace negotiations.
- Timed Mission: Of a sort. Snake is initially given the approximate location of both targets, but if he takes too long the targets will have moved, forcing him to identify them by face alone.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: Their dedicated side mission is a straight-up double assassination a-la Hitman.
- Would Not Shoot a Civilian: It's strongly implied that they would, which is part of the reason the KGB wants them dead.
Voiced by: Hideo KojimaAn undercover MSF operative who has been compromised after recovering a cassette tape relating to XOF. Snake and Morpho rescue him from the base in "Intel Operative Extraction." Rescuing him in Ground Zeroes causes him to join Diamond Dogs in The Phantom Pain.
- Ascended Extra: While he isn't important to the story of the game, his role is given a greater significance than the one he had in Peace Walker, where he simply had a cameo.
- As Himself: It goes beyond a Creator Cameo. He's listed in the credits as "Hideo."
- Author Avatar: He is Hideo, after all.
- Badass Driver: Miller is notably impressed by his initiative in stealing an enemy vehicle, as well has his skill in handling it.Miller: "You handle that vehicle like a pro. I'd expect nothing less."
- Call Back: Appeared in Peace Walker as a Secret Character.Snake: "Mr. Kojima?!"
- Call Forward: Mirrors Miller's rescue scene from the Red Band trailer upon his rescue, as well as his dialogue on A-Rank or lower.Hideo: Snake... What took you so long?
- Cool Shades: The operative has some pretty awesome aviators when you rescue him. Snake eventually gives Hideo back his trademark J.F.Rey Eyewear glasses.
- Glasses Pull: Played straight and inverted in the same scene, as he dramatically removes his combat aviators to don his signature glasses.
- Made of Iron: Manages to escape a vehicle that's been hit with a rocket launcher with little in the way of injuries.
- The Reveal: He's actually Hideo.
- Surprisingly Good English: His voice actor does not speak English as his first language, and is well known for a particularly famous bit of Engrish. He has improved greatly since then, even if his accent is still noticeable.
- Walking Spoiler: Not because he's plot important, but because saying who he is gives away a punchline.
An American agent planted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Cuban base. Snake is hired by his employers to make contact with him and determine the nature of the base's activities. He sets him up to be caught, and must be interrogated to find the real intel.
- Deep Cover Agent: He's so devoted to keeping his cover that he asks Snake to make their meeting look like an attack, even giving his consent to be choked unconscious.
- I Have Your Wife: The reason he sets you up, courtesy of Cipher. Boy, Cipher really love this, don't they?
- The Mole: One on your side, he's been planted to gather information on the Cuban base, and stashed a tape for you to collect.
- No Name Given: He is listed in the credits as "Undercover Agent." This was subverted in earlier demonstrations, where he was identified by Kojima as "Brian," after his motion capture artist.
- Reverse Mole: He sets you up, sending you to a trap baited with the wrong tape.
Characters in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Voiced by: Stefanie Joosten (English and Japanese; also does her motion capture)A mute sniper with strange powers. She was originally the mercenary who murdered Venom Snake's doctor, and nearly strangled the phantom to death before Big Boss set her on fire, causing her to fall out of a window. On being retrieved, she received parasites that turned her into an Empowered Badass Normal, but if she is ever to speak English, she will be compelled to complete her mission to kill Venom Snake. After being captured in the field, she becomes a prisoner of Snake and Diamond Dogs. She later joins the PMC's ranks as a field operative, working side-by-side with Snake himself.
A Sniper deprived of her Words
- Action Girl: Par for the course for the series. Starts out as a Dark Action Girl, but turns into this after switching sides.
- Animal Motifs: The butterfly is a recurring theme with her. The pattern on her face which appears when she uses her abilities resembles a butterfly and the sniper rifles available to her are named "Wicked Butterfly" and "Guilty Butterfly".
- Badass: A dangerous Professional Killer, Quiet nearly killed Ishmael and Venom Snake, and was only undone by Ishmael's use of a cigarette lighter as an improvised weapon. But after she took the Parasite therapy she Took a Level in Badass and became a scarily effective Cold Sniper with supernatural abilities which enhance her effectiveness.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: The reason why she helps Big Boss.
- But Now I Must Go: In the mission "A Quiet Exit", she is forced to speak English in order to save Big Boss. This causes her vocal cord parasites to become infectious, and so she leaves Boss with a recorded message. After that, she can no longer be selected as a Buddy.
- Chameleon Camouflage: Her skin changes to fit the environment, particularly facial patterns. This is a unique element of her modified parasite.
- Can't Kill You, Still Need You: At one point Snake and Miller get into an argument over whether or not they should kill Quiet. Snake says that they will spare her for now, but when she becomes a problem for them in the future he plans to do the deed himself and eliminate her.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Suffers this at one point.
- Cold Sniper: Though she does have a softer side.
- Difficult but Awesome: She's apparently the most difficult support buddy to use effectively. From what we've seen, timing is everything with using her effectively with such tricks as shooting grenades out of the air.
- Empowered Badass Normal: She received her superhuman abilities such as Super Speed, Improbable Aiming Skills, and Invisibility from parasites she got after failing to kill Venom Snake in the hospital. However, if she ever spoke English again, she would be forced to kill Venom Snake anyway.
- Fan Disservice: As it turns out, the reason that she is as exposed as she is is because she's been set on fire. Twice. So, the next time you ogle her, keep in mind that her physiology's so mangled that even wearing a shirt causes her to drown.
- Held Gaze: One particularly memorable scene shows her stripping and dancing around Mother Base on a rainy day, inviting Venom Snake to play with her (which he does). It culminates in Snake catching her by the shoulders and the two of them staring into each other's eyes for a few seconds, before Quiet regains her composure. See it here.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Quiet can, on command, shoot thrown hand grenades, among other impressive feats. Comes with being an Empowered Badass Normal.
- In Love with the Mark: As the player earns her loyalty (and unlocks more of her story) through gameplay, it slowly becomes evident that Quiet is starting to fall in love with Big Boss, ultimately sealing her Heel-Face Turn for good, and in the end, sacrifice her own life for him.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Much like the Beauties in Metal Gear Solid 4, Quiet is very closely modeled after the actress providing her motion capture.
- Invisibility: A recent presentation showed a cutscene where Quiet is being held prisoner and escapes her handcuffs and proceeds to dissipate into thin air by activating some black smoke power. It takes specialized sensing technology and night vision goggles to figure out where she is.
- Intangibility: The black smoke powers she uses seem to be a combination of teleporting and/or dissipating into thin air so that nothing can touch her. At the very least she was able to remove her handcuffs by using those powers.
- Kill It with Fire: Ishmael tries to eliminate her with this in the opening scenes using a cigarette lighter. It causes her to fall out the window of the Cyprus hospital, results in her Parasite therapy, and is why she has trouble with clothes.
- Killed Off for Real: The player has the option of killing her as soon as they first meet her, whether by draining her HP during their Boss Battle or personally executing her after draining her stamina. Also, it's implied she dies in the desert after leaving Big Boss in her final mission.
- Magical Eye: Black eye shadow manifests around her eyes any time she uses her phantom powers. Not unlike the Parasite Unit/Skulls.
- Mook Horror Show: Apart from sharpshooting, this is her other specialty. She can pull off some ludicrously impressive unarmed combat and is highly brutal when taking apart her foes.
- Ms. Fanservice: Averted in the prologue in particular, given she's shown donning full combat attire. Played With later on, as her revealing attire exists because, after being set on fire and receiving parasite therapy, she uses her skin to breathe, and she's not particularly a fan of shallow breaths.
- Never Found the Body: After being forced to trigger the parasites which would eventually compel her to kill Snake, she wanders off into the desert believing she would rather die than let that happen, as opposed to committing suicide here and now.
- The Quiet One: Obviously. In order to keep her free will, she cannot speak any English after she obtains her powers, due to the parasites forcing her to kill Venom Snake if she does so. When she does speak in order to save him, she immediately goes off, presumably to die in the Afghan desert.
- Super Speed: One of her powers is moving at superhuman speeds.
Voiced by: Osamu Saka (Japanese), Jay Tavare (English; also does his motion capture)A blind, elderly man of Native American descent.
A Wise Man denied his Homeland
- Age Without Youth: Code Talker looks very old, his face covered in wrinkles and his eyes milky with thick cataracts.
- Blind Seer: His cataracts imply that he's lost his vision with his age.
- Long Lived: He's over 100 years of age, putting his date of birth somewhere in 1880.
- Magical Native American: An interesting variation. He acts like one, but he actually has a background in science, as the source of the parasites.
- The Philosopher: Has some interesting views about the nature of language,
- Reluctant Mad Scientist: He's working for Skull Face when you first meet him and is responsible for the existence of the Parasite Unit. It's also made clear Code Talker hates it, and he's relieved upon being extracted to Mother Base.
Voiced by: Kiefer SutherlandA mysterious individual who stayed in the hospital alongside Snake while he was in his coma. He later saves Snake from an unidentified Spec-Ops group attacking the hospital.
- Badass Normal: Despite being an unarmed, otherwise unremarkable individual, fending off an heavily-armed force and a revived Volgin, he is really the only reason that Snake manages to make it out of the hospital. In no small part because he's actually the real Big Boss-he's used to it.
- Bandaged Face: This is probably because he's in a hospital, but it also shows him as The Faceless. Because he's actually Big Boss.
- Drives Like Crazy: The man has half a dozen near misses when attempting to flee from the hospital in Cyprus, due to not looking at the road until it's almost too late to avoid several oncoming fire trucks.
- The Faceless: Almost all of his face is covered with bandages, save his eyes and mouth.
- Fantastic Drug: Subverted; he injects Snake with digoxin in an attempt to help him get back on his feet, but it doesn't work as well as he hoped it would, resulting in a Controllable Helplessness scenario for Snake.
- Foreshadowing: There's a lot of indications that he's Naked Snake/the original Big Boss when you first meet him.
- His name, Ishmael, is simultaneously the main character and a supporting one.
- During the fight with Quiet, you can hear Big Boss' distinctive grunt as she punches him and recovers; no matter how much of a Cunning Linguist he is he can't keep up the act when fighting for his life.
- And finally, just before he introduces himself, he ruefully states, "You're talking to yourself."
- Previous Player-Character Cameo: He is the original Naked Snake and Big Boss, though you don't find that out until the end of the game.
- Shout-Out: His "name" is a reference to Moby-Dick.
AKA: White Mamba, A Youth who Curses his Fate, Liquid Snake
Voiced by: Yutaro Honjo (JP), Peter Stubbs (EN)A blonde-haired child soldier wearing a jackal-tooth necklace and an oversized vest with the words "Never Be Game Over" and "液体人" — "(Liquid Man/Person)" — printed on the back. Heavily implied to be a young Liquid Snake.
- Badass: Can hold his own against Snake in hand to hand combat.
- Barbarian Longhair: Has an unkempt mullet to illustrate his wildness.
- Call Forward: References multiple elements of Liquid Snake. Because that's exactly who he is.
- Wears a necklace of jackal teeth during his time in Afghanistan.Liquid: In the Middle East we don't hunt foxes, we hunt jackals.
- Has 液体人 — "Liquid Man" — printed on the back of his jacket.
- He's shown piloting a Metal Gear, exactly like Liquid would later on. Not a coincidence. Does Liquid's trademark fist-clenching gesture moments before that.
- Determinator: Manages to take on the formidable Venom Snake despite having no special training. Then again, he's actually Liquid Snake, the iconic determinator of the series, so it's to be expected.
- Wears a necklace of jackal teeth during his time in Afghanistan.
- Hijacked by Ganon: At the end of the game he mind-melds with Tretij Rebenok and activates Metal Gear before Skull-Face can (in the process critically injuring both him and the Man on Fire before either actually ever fights Snake), for the sole purpose of killing Snake and wrecking havoc. He's also the Big Bad and final boss of the game's cut final chapter, which was apparently cut from the final game since the second-to-last chapter already resolved pretty much the entire plot.
- Large Ham: A budding one at that. Foreshadowing his growing up and becoming Liquid Snake.
- Meaningful Name: "Eli" is a modern equivalent of Eliab, the brother of David in the The Bible. And, just like Eliab, Eli has a brother named David as well. Because Eli is actually Liquid Snake.
- Screw Destiny: "Curses his fate."
- Whole Costume Reference:
- Young Future Famous People: In-Universe. Eli grows up to be Liquid Snake, the leader of the eventually terrorist FOXHOUND unit.
A gas-masked child with psychic powers. Heavily implied to be a young Psycho Mantis.
- Call Back: His nationality, abilities and attire certainly bring Mantis to mind.
- Creepy Child: He's a kid wearing a mask that's a psychic.
- Evil Redhead: He's working with XOF in the very least, though he's more allied to Eli than Skull Face, it seems.
- Goldfish Poop Gang: Appears with the "Man on Fire" at various points, since he's a major part of why he can even move while comatose.
- Malevolent Masked Men: He is not hesitant when dealing with enemy units, and uses his psychic powers for evil.
- Meaningful Name: "Third Child" in Russian. Given the role he and Eli play at the end - that is, activating a giant mech via mind meld - this might be a thinly veiled Neon Genesis Evangelion reference.
- Psychic Powers: Including pyrokinesis, levitation and telekinesis.
- The Voiceless: He doesn't speak at any point.
The "Man on Fire"
A demonic figure bearing a strong resemblance to Volgin. This is no coincidence.
- Advancing Wall of Doom: You can't do anything except flee from him until he's in shooting range.
- Artificial Zombie: He actually is Volgin's charred corpse, but brain-dead and mindless. It's only because Tretij manipulates him (and his own hatred of Big Boss) that he can even walk.
- Back from the Dead: He's a reanimated Volgin who is hell-bent on killing Snake after the events in Soviet Russia.
- Big Red Devil: Looks like one.
- Came Back Strong: Before he became the "Man on Fire", Volgin's only remarkable abilities were in his usage of electricity and being too determined to just die. Now, as the "Man on Fire", he just flat out eclipses his former self altogether with his wide range of new abilities.
- Determinator: Doesn't even begin to describe it.
- The Dreaded: In their brief encounter, even Ocelot is scared shitless of this thing, preferring to flee rather than fight. Which isn't helped at all by the thing being the corpse of his old commanding officer.
- Energy Absorption: Regardless of what hits it, whether it's bullets, missiles, being run over, or even being shot point-blank by a tank's cannon, it'll simply take it and, after a moment to build up, reflects the damage tenfold.
- Goldfish Poop Gang: Appears with Rebenok.
- Man on Fire: You bet.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: It is a specter capable of maintaining both a physical presence in the world and being a very real threat to you at the same time.
- Playing with Fire: Its most meager abilities are this.
- The Power of Hate: Literally its power source. Its entire mission is getting revenge against Big Boss for killing Volgin. A Deconstructed Trope when upon realizing that Venom Snake is not Big Boss, the flames on its body go out instantly, as it doesn't see him as worthy of its rage, allowing others to finally bring it down with gunfire.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: It's modus operandi, not to mention the only reason it even exists. Given it's Volgin's rage against Big Boss for killing him.
- Still Wearing the Old Colors: He's shown wearing the tattered remains of Volgin's Soviet dress uniform and armor.
- Story-Breaker Power: Even in light of some of the wackier enemies in the series, the Man on Fire is on a completely different league in comparison to enemies from before, and becomes the strongest character in the series.
- Technically Living Zombie: Is Volgin's comatose body powered by nothing but The Power of Hate after extensive Soviet experimentation.
A wolfdog puppy that Snake finds in the wilderness after its mother has been killed. He takes him back to base and raises him with help from Ocelot, whereupon he becomes a valuable field asset and companion to Snake.
- Action Pet: This wolfdog can go on missions with the legendary Big Boss.
- Badass Adorable: D.D. is available as an AI companion during gameplay. Any dog capable of keeping up with Snake's insane mission antics has to be a badass by default. And yes, it goes without saying he's an adorable animal.
- Canis Major: D.D. is a wolfdog, indicated by the fact that he wags his tail in a domesticated fashion, and that pure wolves are not known to bark in the way he is seen doing, serving as a Call Back/Call Forward to Solid Snake and Big Boss's love for dogs and passion for dog-sledding as a sport.
- Canine Companion: Ocelot fashions D.D., short for Diamond Dog, as the mascot for Snake's Diamond Dogs group. Furthermore, the wolfdog is clearly affectionate around Snake, being seen jumping on the man's leg and licking his face. As a grown wolfdog, he accompanies Snake during a mission, eagerly jumping into the helicopter before he gets on it.
- Cool Pet: A wolfdog with an eyepatch, that can accompany Snake on a mission? It goes without saying that's awesome.
- Eye Scream: D.D. has a scarred right eye as a puppy. After the timeskip, he has an eyepatch over his right eye, serving as an animal counterpart to Snake.
- Eyepatch of Power: Wears an eyepatch over his right eye, just like his master Snake.
- Eyepatch After Time Skip: We first see D.D. as a puppy, but when we see him next, he's a grown up wolfdog sporting an eye patch over his scarred right eye.
- Irony: Noted by Snake when he ponders on Ocelot's codename and his affiliation with cats, "An ocelot raising a dog. Huh, fine."
- Killed Off for Real: According to these tweets, if D.D. dies, he doesn't come back; he's gone forever.
- Knife Nut: D.D. can be equipped with either a regular knife for throat slitting or a stun knife for non-lethal attacks.
- Noble Wolf: Very affectionate and friendly around Snake and Ocelot, and is clearly loyal enough to serve along Snake in combat.
- Team Pet: The mascot of Diamond Dogs, and clearly capable of going on missions making him both a loyal soldier and mascot.
A horse that Snake rides into Afghanistan and can use as a support buddy.
- Boring but Practical: D-Horse isn't particularly fancy, but nine times out of ten he's your best bet if you want to get from point A to point B without being spotted.
- Cool Horse: Snake can use him as transport and, after upgrades, as a pack animal to store extra gear. He can also be used to cause diversions and traps by defecating on command.
- Refuge in Audacity: His excrement can be used to disable enemy vehicles.
- Team Pet: Like D.D., he can be used on missions as a support buddy.
A bipedal robot that Snake can either pilot himself, or set to fight alongside him.
- Guns Akimbo: Can dual-wield specially-designed pistols.
- Jack-of-All-Trades: Like D-Horse it's fast and maneuverable, like Quiet it can be set to automatically protect you, and like D-Dog it can scan the area for enemies. Also, it's the only ally that can't be permakilled, since you can just build another one.
- Master of None: Especially before you've researched it's upgrades. It's hard to control at top speed, you can't use iron-sights with it's guns, and it can't regenerate health.
- Mini-Mecha: A customized Walker Gear.
- Robot Buddy: On several levels.
- Rollerblade Good: Has an alternate mode that lets it skate along the ground, even in the desert!
- Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence: Falls into the "Brick" category.
- Gatling Good: One model comes equipped with one.
- Expy: Resembles a scaled-up version of the Metal Gear Mk. II / Mk. III.
Metal Gear: Model: ST- 84 (Sahelanthropus)
The (chronologically) newest model of the titular Metal Gears, the ST-84 is Soviet in design, although it is implied that Huey may have had a hand in its construction. Capable of switching between a hunched over lumbering form (similar to the later Rex model), and a massive standing form capable of wielding a nanofibre whip that summons tectonic spikes upon striking the ground.
- BFS: Wields a giant nanofibre whip capable of hardening into an 18-wheeler sized straight-sword.
- Cutscene Incompetence: Averted. When Snake runs through a narrow cliff pass impassable to the ST-84, instead of giving up, the ST-84 simply switches to its standing form and demolishes the cliffs.
- Expy: Given Kojima's well-known love of movies, it wouldn't be surprising if the Sahelanthropus's shape and weapon of choice was inspired by Balrog from Fellowship of the Ring.
- Final Boss: Ultimately, it's the Final Boss of the main story, and the final mission period is just a harder version of the boss battle.
- Ground Pound: When the ST-84 strikes the ground with its sword, it creates a rippling trail of spikes.
- Humongous Mecha: On par with Rex in its hunched over form, and towering over it in its standing form.
- Impossibly Cool Weapon: A flaming, nanofiber whip-sword that shoots rocks out of the ground.
- Meaningful Name: Sahelanthropus is a hominid species that is theorized to be a common ancestor to humans and chimpanzees.Kojima: To move forward to the new world, you need to stand up
- Walking Tank: Subverted. Unlike the previous Metal Gears, this one appears to have more of a humanoid shape.
- Whip It Good: The ST-84 wields a nanofibre whip capable of hardening into a gigantic straight-sword.
The Parasite Unit/The Skulls
A unit of biologically and technologically enhanced soldiers that hunt down Venom Snake, and are under Skull Face's orders.
- Artificial Zombie: Their gait makes them appear to be zombie-like, but they're actually soldiers enhanced by by the parasites developed by Skull Face as a means to rob the world of English.