Tear Jerker: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Even before the full game was released, already the trailers and the prologue have had everyone become a sobbing mess.

  • At the beginning of the GDC trailer, Big Boss and Kaz are in a hospital, bloody and bruised, while the doctors keep them from going into cardiac arrest.
    • Also from the GDC trailer, we see MSF being bombed. MSF, the organization you helped grow bigger and bigger in Peace Walker, now gets bombed. And the fact that the entire trailer is set to the beautifully-sung Not Your Kind of People doesn't help either.
  • In the E3 trailer, the scenes where Big Boss is helping walk and carry an injured Kaz who has had his entire right arm removed at the shoulder and his left foot removed around ankle level, with his character subtitle 'A visionary denied his future.'
    • Big Boss, upon discovering Kaz mutilated by torture in Afghanistan, reassures his friend that he's here to help him, and carefully places his trademark aviators over his scarred eyes. They may be scarred and beaten down men but they are far from broken, with his iconic shades situated where they belong some semblance of hope is finally creeping back in, they're finally back in action.
      • It's extremely moving to see two old warriors standing together against the world, their hearts once pure and idealistic now old and shattered, but despite all that they still have each other. You really get a feeling for how deep their friendship is when Kaz is literally leaning on Big Boss in order to stand, not feeling weak because of his scars but feeling all the stronger because he has someone watching out for him and who he knows would never let him fall and would be there for him if he did; who risked his life to save him and would do it again without a second thought because he knows Kaz would do the same for him if it was within his power. Band of Brothers hardly begins to describe it.
      • The image of Kaz letting the sleeve on his missing arm slip pitifully out of his remaining hand.
  • Quiet being tortured in the extended E3 trailer has pulled on the heart strings of many fans, most likely due to her being mute.
    • Huey getting tortured as well. The guy's already gone through his share of pain in Peace Walker, and it doesn't help that it looks like the people harming him are on his own side.
    • However it's made far easier and completely averted, in the game when you discover all the moral lines he's leaped over in the time-skip, among which include murdering his own wife.
    • You can just hear the bitter anguish in Kaz's voice as he grieves for all that he's lost. Not at all hard to see how he and Big Boss got pushed over the edge.
      Kaz: Why are we still here? Just to suffer? Every night, I can feel my leg... And my arm... even my fingers... The body I've lost... the comrades I've lost... won't stop hurting... It's like they're all still there. You feel it, too, don't you? I'm gonna make them give back our past!
  • From the 2014 E3 trailer, there's a rather poignant sequence where Big Boss holds a cremation for several fallen comrades. He holds one of the urns and rubs some of the ashes into his face, presumably showing his grief for whoever that was.
    • Not to mention Big Boss and Ocelot torturing Huey as he screams in pain, or the Diamond Dogs soldiers fighting amongst one another. The whole trailer in general could be summed up as one huge tearjerker.
    • And one more scene that manages to be this, Nightmare Fuel, and a dark Crowning Moment of Awesome: the trailer's end features an appearance by the sigils of the various factions in the two games. We start with MSF, then XOF, then Diamond Dogs. Then the last sigil appears, accompanied by the words "Venom Awakens". It's a picture of Big Boss's skull (with a hole for his horn) with wings on the side and lighting framing it in a circle. And above it is the name of the unit: Outer Heaven. "In Outer Heaven, men become demons" indeed.
  • In the Africa mission showcased in TGS Big Boss encounters a wolf-dog puppy huddled next to its dead mother. The puppy follows Big Boss around and whimpers pitiably at the soldier. Big Boss has the option of air-lifting it back to Mother Base in which case Ocelot names it D.D. and makes him the mascot of Diamond Dogs, which mitigates that sadness a little bit — but still a sad whimpering puppy is rather heart wrenching.
    • Prior to the game's release, a series of tweets revealed that your companions could be permanently killed. Yes, the dog CAN AND WILL DIE if he takes too much damage. For some players, this has made them not want to bring D.D. on any missions.
    • Thankfully, this is not true in the finished game. Buddies can't die permanently, and if they take too much damage, are fultoned back to mother base.
  • Big Boss' state in this game is just as decayingly pitiable as Old Snake. Not only has he lost the one place he could finally call home. Upon waking up from his coma, not only has he lost his prime physical condition, but as recently revealed, the horn lodged in his skull has messed Big Boss' brain and has rendered him unable to speak any language beyond English, requiring him to get interpreters to communicate with other people of different linguistic backgrounds. Poor guy has truly lost everything that made him so great…
    • Except not really, as he's really The Medic from Ground Zeroes. But that in and of itself is even more tearjerking: in addition to losing his condition, having that bit of shrapnel lodged in his head…he's also lost whatever his identity was before the helicopter crash. Damn.
  • Even before the game comes out, there's the fact that you know how the game is going to end and there's absolutely nothing you can do to stop it.
  • The final trailer has another scene of coffins covered in the Diamond Dogs flag being cremated out on the deck of the new Mother Base. Amidst those to be burned is one soldier with his face in his palms, clearly distraught over loss. Not to mention Big Boss seeing a woman bearing a striking resemblance to Paz.
  • The fact that not only is Big Boss aware of how far he's fallen, but he's already beginning to show signs of regret, even if it takes decades before he atones at the end of Guns of the Patriots.
    • Made even worse when it is revealed that Zero was not actually directly responsible for the mess that occurred during the 1990s onward despite what Big Mama implied to Snake, meaning Big Mama may have lied to her son, he actually have tried to end the war and heal the rift between himself and Big Boss before 1977. Zero didn't hate him, he had Big Boss protected while he was in a coma and even funded Miller and the Diamond Dogs. The question Big Boss posed at the end of Guns of the Patriots about whether Zero truly hated Big Boss is answered and Big Boss will never know. Ouch.
    • Zero himself by virtue of Foregone Conclusion, in addition to the above. Despite his own attempts to atone for his actions upon realizing that Cipher wasn't such a good idea after all and reconciling with Big Boss (even if it means giving him the chance to destroy Cipher and thus, the Patriots), he's doomed to fail in stopping what he's helped unleash upon the world.
  • The final launch trailer has a particular one. In it we see Big Boss walking down a long hallway as he shifts appearances, first as his Snake Eater self, then to Peace Walker, Ground Zeroes and Phantom Pain respectively. Each time we see him get older and more ragged looking. But then flames expand, covering him and burning off his skin, symbolizing his "death" in Metal Gear 2. Then, after the flames die down he shifts one final time, into a fascimile of Skull Face showing that in the end, Big Boss became the very thing that destroyed his men, a demon who only cared for revenge.
    Kaz, I'm already a demon.
  • One of the cassette tapes mentions that Amanda's revolution was a success, Nicaragua is in a better state now and she wishes Chico would be there but he can't because Chico died in the helicopter's crash in Ground Zeroes.
  • The quote below at the end of this page. You can't read it or listen to the sorrow and warmth in Kiefer Sutherland's voice-acting and not burst into tears...
  • Snake's hallucinations of Paz throughout Mother Base. On a meta level, for those who never considered her The Scrappy or wish that she'd survived, the revelation at the end could come across as a heart-wrenching (not to mention gruesome) Hope Spot and Yank the Dog's Chain. On a story level, just imagine what all this must've felt like from Snake's point of view; the idea that all this time, he was wrecked with Survivors Guilt, dreaming of what might've been had things turn out different.
    • Even sadder is that, if you think about it, since we're really playing as the medic, it's entirely possible that he is projecting his own regret in not being Genre Savvy enough to think that there would be more than one bomb, and his subconscious mind is merging it with his implanted memories to form the hallucination. To summarize, he's feeling the Survivors Guilt of two people instead of one.
      • It goes even further. After the revelation, Paz leaves behind her "final message" to Snake in the form of a "phantom" tape recording, sorrowfully lamenting how she's now but a part of his memories as she bids him farewell, imploring him to never forget her. As heartwarming as it is, it must be even more painful from Snake's point of view, knowing that with her "last" words, another piece of the past has truly gone.
    • Keifer Sutherland's Big "NO!" during this scene perfectly captures Snake's anguish and helps sell the drama. The music playing doesn't help either.
  • The true ending to some extent. Revolver Ocelot and Big Boss share one last smoke before parting for the final time, despite the latter promising that they'll meet again. They don't.
    • It gets even worse when you consider that it's their final quiet moment together before they each go through significant upheaval in each of their lives with Big Boss heading off to forge the ultimately failed Zanzibar Land revolution which ends with him near dead at the Patriots' mercy and Ocelot being forced to leave the man he loves going through a series of complex plans and gambits to revive Big Boss, fulfill his dream and ultimately dying, never getting to see each other one last time.
  • The quarantine mission, dear god. It was expected to happen, but even then, nothing can prepare you for what happens. After spending the entire game building up your staff, building your Mother Base, you are forced into a situation that you can't ignore when it breaks down. There are no words to describe the feelings other than ones that Snake himself utters.
    I won't see you end as ashes... You're all diamonds.
  • When Huey is finally made to face judgment by the Diamond Dogs for his crimes, we learn that Strangelove suffocated in the A.I. pod after being left to die by her husband after she disagreed with him. While we don't get to see her corpse, we do get to hear the recording the A.I. made of her last words. The sheer panic and desperation in Strangelove's voice as she realizes just how screwed she is and her despair knowing that she'll never see her son Otacon grow up is utterly devastating. Not to mention her faint, dying gasps to The Boss.
    • The fact that all this paints Otacon's already pained backstory in a new light. Especially given that he might never even have known how much Strangelove loved him, if he still remembered her at all.
  • Quiet's ending. After Venom Snake protected her from soldiers in the middle of a sandstorm, he gets bitten by a desert cobra. The toxins instantly render Snake unable to speak, leaving Quiet no other option but to finally speak English in order to get rescue and save him. Doing so, however, activated the parasites within her since, if she ever spoke English, they'll slowly kill her. When help arrives, she ends up walking far away from Snake so the that parasite won't spread as she slowly dies from activating the strain.
    • Also, her tape-recorded goodbye message to Venom Snake, which goes: "I did not choose to be Quiet. I wanted to express my feelings to you. If only we shared a common tongue. Vengeance was what drove me to them... The only language left to me, revenge. But the words we shared... No, that was no language at all. That's why I... I chose the language of gratitude instead, and go back to silence. I am Quiet... I am... the absence of words."
  • From the cut episode, Snake accidentally shoots Eli, which results in him rushing forward to his son, in disbelief as he desperately starts to mutter "No" over and over. It ends with Snake screaming skyward in the air, with tearful music playing in the background.
  • Miller's explanation of his childhood and his motivation to help the African child soldiers. When he was young, Miller was desperate to prove himself to the adults around him, and completely missed out on his own childhood, so he's looking to make sure no other child ends up like him.
  • Miller's debriefing to the entirety of Diamond Dogs after they exact their revenge upon Skull Face. Special mention to him finally acknowledging that the quest for revenge hasn't brought back what was taken from them, and that it never will, but at the same time resolving to see it through to the bitter end.
    Kaz: "And as for me... I'll never be whole again..."
  • The fact that the real Big Boss, aka Ishmael, as part of having Venom Snake serve as his double, had to leave behind everyone he still cared about in what became Diamond Dogs. All so he could pursue his own war against Cipher, and eventually, the Patriots in secret while the world turns its attention on Venom's Outer Heaven. This, in turn, makes his final descent into the villain Solid Snake (seemingly) kills in Metal Gear 2 all but complete.
  • In the post credits conversation of the True Ending, Miller is furious that the real Big Boss, whom he considered his best friend, seemingly abandoned him by replacing himself with Venom Snake to serve as his body double. This is a man who has had his dreams shattered, his comrades killed, and his limbs taken. After going through hell for the sake of vengeance, then finally getting it only to realize that he is still empty and that his best friend left him behind with an impostor to fill the void, Miller's sense of betrayal is so strong that he vows to help Venom Snake and Big Boss' sons in the hopes one of them would eventually kill Big Boss. Ocelot then sadly notes that this means he and Miller will eventually become enemies, foreshadowing how they both end up on opposite sides during the events of Metal Gear Solid. It's heartbreaking so see how bitter Miller has become to his former friend.
    • It may be even worse. Until he got word from one of Ocelot's sources, who's saying the REAL Big Boss was intending to PERMANENTLY sever contact with Kaz, as opposed to a few years while he strengthens his own position? Miller's knee-jerk response could well have been a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • It might well be Cry for the Devil, but even Skull Face of all people has a moment when it's revealed that he's infected with a strain of the parasites that targets his own native language: Hungarian. In other words, he's denied one of the few traces of his old identity that he still has left.
  • The final tape of the Truth Records set: Secret Recording Of Zero Visiting Snake. It's one of the most heart-wrenching things in the entire series. Zero visits Snake in the hospital as he's unconscious, begging for forgiveness from his friend. He reflects on the ruinous life he's lead with anguish, and nearly sounds on the verge of tears. And the worst part? Big Boss never knew this happened.
    • There's just something so depressing listening to the awkward silences after Zero finishes saying something, so he forces himself to keep talking as if he's holding a conversation with his old friend. In addition to that, he references that he isn't feeling well: most likely he's referring to the parasites that Skull Face infected him with. He knows he doesn't have long.
  • The Last Day in Outer Heaven fancomic in its entirety, heartwarming as it might be. Given that it takes place at the end of Metal Gear 1 from a dying Venom Snake's point of view. Not to mention seeing Quiet in his last moments. All the while being based on Word of God.
  • No mention of that poor doctor and the rest of the hospital staff? They've performed their given task in caring for Big Boss and Venom Snake to their utmost abilities, with the full knowledge that they're all threading closer & closer into dangerous ground with each passing year. They, too, deserve credit for both Snakes' second chance at survival. And in the end, all of them are mercilessly gunned down by the XOF, as a testament of Skull Face's cruelty.
  • Several of the cutscenes that would play if players got together and scrapped every single nuke held in player hands.
    • It is revealed that in the process of dismantling the LAST nuclear warhead in existence, it was somehow ruptured and exposed a group of Diamond Dogs soldiers to several hundred rads of radiation (anything above 300 rads is generally held to be severe, and above 500 the prognosis reaches near hopeless).
    • Perhaps most crushingly of all, another seemingly post final credits sequence reveals that Venom Snake and Naked Snake decide that their ultimate goal should be to create a world in which soldiers, especially men like themselves, are no longer needed. After everything, Venom undergoes a true Heel Realization and decides that to bring about this dream, he has to cast aside the evil within him and become a true hero. And knowing that, in the end, both men die before their dream becomes a reality.
  • While paranoia fuel existed in every Metal Gear games before it, the theme became more prominent in MGS V whose settings is located far away from civilized land. Somewhere out there, Child Soldiers are marked for a hit. Somewhere out there, nukes are being given en masse to warlords. Somewhere out there, a black operation is being carried out against innocent hospital workers. Somewhere out there, ethnic-wiping parasite is being developed. Somewhere out there, a man scream in anguish and proceed to become a demon that threaten the entire world. Not one soul, be it the Soviet troops stationed there, the PFs, the Afghan citizens and the outside world have a full picture of what going on in that dark corners of the Earth.
  • The implications offered up by Skull Face on the origins of Cipher itself; while initially detailing how Zero had come to him looking to redirect funds, feeling the CIA were not handling them appropriately in the wake of appropriating the Philosopher's Legacy during Operation: Snake Eater, Skull Face then goes on to declare that Cipher was not only an act of grief, but revenge against America for the Boss' death.
  • With the key theme of language and communication not only being integral to Skull Face's plot, but Zero's ideal of unity for the entire world too, it's tragic to think that, at it's very core, the problems thrown up in the relationships between characters in this game are rooted in poor communication. Words - or a lack thereof - can literally kill; Big Boss and Zero could have easily reconciled had either of them sought out the other without some grandiose gesture or overzealous threat, and just talked. Kaz' tragic hatred toward Big Boss could have easily been avoided had Big Boss just taken the time to seek out his friend and confirm that he needed to build Outer Heaven alone, away from prying eyes. Quiet and Venom Snake are unable to fully express themselves due to the enforced barriers between them. Eli's bubbling, seething hatred for his father could have been easily avoided if someone had just taken the kid under their wing rather than letting him go rogue.
  • The timeline scroll at the end of the game lists every major event of the game, starting with Virtuous Mission and then going all the way to the Guns of the Patriots incident. The final three words, the end of the timeline, add a sense of... finality to the whole thing, like this really is the final Metal Gear game.

    Big Boss Dies.

"I won't scatter your sorrow to the heartless sea...I will always be with you."