Video Game: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

In Outer Heaven... Men Become Demons.

"It is no nation we inhabit, but a language. Make no mistake; our native language is our true fatherland."
Emil Cioran, Romanian philosopher

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain the main portion of the Metal Gear Solid V storyline, set nine years after the events of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. The Phantom Pain was released worldwide on September 1, 2015.

The year is 1984. Big Boss's legendary mercenary outfit, Militares Sans Frontieres, has been destroyed by the American black-ops group Cipher and their elite XOF Unit, with the man himself left comatose. However, word has begun to spread that "V has come to," despite both losing his left arm and parts of his memory due to a piece of shrapnel lodged in his skull. After escaping an XOF attack on the hospital he is being held in, the newly christened "Venom Snake" takes command of a new mercenary unit, Diamond Dogs, founded by fellow MSF survivor Kazuhira Miller and GRU agent Revolver Ocelot. His mission? Get revenge on Cipher and XOF, no matter the cost. Standing in Snake's way are the Soviet army in Afghanistan, various African Private Military Contractors under Cipher's employ, and XOF themselves, along with a new weapon that may surpass even Metal Gear.

The Phantom Pain also ties several multiplayer functions into the single-player. Players can invade the Mother Base of others and steal supplies, while the invaded players can defend themselves and their base from their foes. The Metal Gear Online competitive multiplayer mode returns as well, developed by Konami Los Angeles.

Unmarked spoilers for previous games in the series ahead. Avoid or read at your own risk.


Tropes present in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain:

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  • 108: The doctor in the prologue explains to Snake that 108 "foreign bodies" were embedded in the latter's body as a result of the events of Ground Zeroes. These "foreign bodies" consisted of shrapnel and fragments of human bone and teeth. Most likely the bones and teeth of Paz when she exploded right in front of you.
  • 100% Heroism Rating: Quite literally, upon reaching 150,000 Heroism. When you do so, Ocelot informs you that you have earned the respect of other private forces, and the player is rewarded with the title of "Hero". This enables you to infiltrate nuclear-equipped FOBs and steal their nukes, then dispose of them via Dispatch Missions. This not only removes the protection a nuke would give them, but also boosts your Heroism even more if you dispose of enough nukes.
  • Action Girl: Just like in Peace Walker, female Diamond Dogs recruits can be assigned to the Combat Unit, sent out as part of a strike team, or even used as playable characters in missions.
  • Actually a Doombot: An item, Active Decoy, lets Snake throw a disc that, once placed, pops out a life-sized balloon resembling himself. The balloon also talks, which will attract nearby guards who will immediately attack the balloon until it pops. They will still fall for this even if it's deployed right in front of them. The enemy can use these against you and it takes a special item to allow your marking system to tell the difference.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Previews of MGSV showing FOB missions featured two other private forces, Roughneck Raven and Stubborn Sheep, as rivals against Diamond Dogs. These are presumably organizations planned for special online events.
  • Allohistorical Allusion:
    • The "Metallic Archaea (1)" cassette reveals that the reason South Africa went full-speed ahead with its nuke program in 1975 was because they saw MSF did it first and if some tiny private army could do it, a sovereign country could too.
    • The "Truth Records" tape also reveals that the 1977 New York blackout was caused by the order of Zero, so he could cover his tracks in a desperate escape from America after he was attacked by Skull Face and infected with a parasite.
    • Certain locales in Afghanistan are described as in one way or another related to the country's pre-Communist past, meant to herald a bright new age for the nation. There's a tinge of bitter irony however in how Miller and Ocelot go on to note how the past decades utterly betrayed those promises.
    • One of the conversations that can be overhead between guards in Afghanistan details a guard's cousin being sent to work with nuclear reactors in a closed city in Ukraine and how they are some of the safest in the world, referencing the infamous Chernobyl disaster that would take place two years later in 1986.
  • Amazon Brigade: Much like in Peace Walker before it, its possible to fill your entire base with females, with the exception of Miller, Ocelot, Code Talker, and Huey. Its very time-consuming however since in order to effectively get that many women, you have to keep grinding the few Prisoner Extraction missions that have female prisoners (Like 02 and 03) and repeat the Main Story missions that feature female prisoners (like 09 and 14) since, once again much like in Peace Walker, females are only found as prisoners or as volunteers.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes:
    • Like in Peace Walker, Snake can wear a variety of fatigues in different camo patterns, as well as new versions of his sneaking suit and battle dress throughout the course of the game.
    • Snake's sneaking suit from Ground Zeroes can be carried over by transferring save data from said game, along with the low-polygon version of Solid Snake from MGS1 unlocked from the "Deja Vu" mission. The MGS1 Ninja and MGR Raiden costumes (with their increased sprinting speed) are also in the game, but these are much harder to unlock, requiring the player to S-rank every non-repeat mission.
    • Clearing every "hard mode" mission will unlock a silver skin and prosthetic for Snake. S-ranking them will unlock a gold skin to go along with the golden prosthetic unlocked from having a 100% completion rate from Ground Zeroes.
    • A handful of bonus skins can also be unlocked for all of Snake's buddies, including blood-splattered, silver and gold skins for Quiet, as well as the "Gray XOF" uniform she wears during the prologue and a Sniper Wolf outfit.
    • Completing Mission 29 allows the Mother Base staff to develop the Parasite Suit, which allows the player to mimic some of The Skulls' powers. Likewise, completing Mission 46 unlocks the Diamond Dogs leather jacket wore by the real Big Boss.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • Venom Snake loses his left hand early in the game.
    • Miller loses his right arm and left foot from his time as a captive in Afghanistan.
    • Skull Face ends up losing the same limbs as Miller after being shot several times at close range.
  • Anachronism Stew: Huey names his new Metal Gear project after Sahelanthropus, which inspired his decision to make a Metal Gear that walks upright. Sahelanthropus Tchadensis wasn't discovered until 2002. The game Hand Waves this by explaining that Sahelanthropus was actually discovered earlier than that, but its existence was covered up by Cipher as part of their information control scheme. Not to mention the slew of modern technology present during the time period. Such as the bipedal walkers, cyborg prosthetics, Metal Gear Sahelanthropus itself, advanced firearms and what is essentially a holographic smartphone with insanely advanced capabilities.
    • "The Final Countdown", the helicopter song of choice for many players, was actually released in 1986, two years after the game takes place, not to mention that many of the other licensed songs in the game would not have feasibly been available to Soviet soldiers serving in Afghanistan, at least not until after Gorbachev began the Perestroyka in late 1985.
    • The worst is The Cure's "Friday I'm in Love", which isn't even from the same decade.
  • Anti-Poop Socking : It wouldn't be a Hideo Kojima game otherwise. A downplayed instance of this occurs when you go too long without showering, and Ocelot gently, politely reminds you of the importance of personal hygiene and taking breaks by throwing a bucket of water at you upon your next visit to Mother Base. The player is never addressed directly, but the message comes through loud and clear: "You've been playing the game too much."
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The one for The Phantom Pain is parasites. The Skulls are parasite zombies, while other strains of the parasite hide in the vocal cords and kill their host when they speak a certain language.
  • Arbitrary Mission Restriction: The Landing Zones. Where, exactly, the helicopter can drop you off varies wildly between the story missions and the Wide Open Sandbox mode, to the effect that the same area may have dozens of available landing options in free roam but only one or two during missions, without even so much as a "too many enemies in the area right now" Hand Wave.
  • Arc Number: In addition to Zero himself and his Cipher organization, one of the Private Forces that Diamond Dogs faces in Africa are named Zero Risk Security, while X.O.F.'s base of operations in Afghanistan is named OKB Zero.
  • Arc Words: "V has come to," a phrase which started showing up all the way back in the VGA 2012 teaser. Even the iDroid gets in on it during the prologue. This is a code phrase for Miller, telling him that Snake has woken up.
  • Artificial Brilliance: These guards and patrols are some of the toughest to sneak past in the series yet. They'll learn to ignore you tossing Magazines to distract them, can hear their bodies going down nearby and see at farther ranges than even Ground Zeroes, and will adapt to your tactics the more you play the game just so that it becomes harder and harder to have a single efficient playstyle. Sniping from afar and they hear your gunshots? They'll drop mortars on your general location. Infiltrating at night? Larger outposts and groups will fire flares into the sky to make you more visible. Constantly going for headshots? They'll start wearing helmets. That said...
  • Artificial Stupidity: They also have their own quirks, like forgetting where their own landmines may be, an entire camp coming to check out a flaming vehicle about to explode, not hearing someone collapse nearby at random, and other cases. Sometimes they'll see you and, so long as you're not standing, leave their post from 70 meters away to wander right up to you until they finally spot you. The troops in Walkers also seem to have extremely strange AI due to being in vehicles that are more mobile than they're adapted for. Turning off the power will cause a guard to come by to check on it. If you take that guard out after he radio's back but before he fixes them, they'll just give up on having lights. If you take him out after he turns the lights back on, you can turn them off again to repeat the process with another guard with no added suspicion. Like wise, when checking to see which guard is closest to turn the lights back on, they won't notice that half their force has suddenly gone missing.
    • If an enemy accidentally kills one of their own (such as using a vehicle), they will automatically blame you despite how well hidden you were.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Venom Snake regains his entire muscle mass in around 13 days, the length of time it takes to travel down the Suez Canal from Cyprus to Afghanistan. He was a skinny invalid who could barely walk upon escaping the hospital. Even a protein heavy diet and extreme weight lifting will not accomplish such muscle gain that quickly. Hand-waved by the doctor saying they kept him in shape with massages and electro-stimulation treatments during his nine year coma.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • Snake only interacts with a single unified Mujahideen group while in Afghanistan, so the game assumes that the Islamic Unity of Afghanistan Mujahideen was formed in 1981. Historians can't agree whether the seven mujahideen parties merged in 1981 or 1985, which would have made the merger a year earlier than in real life.
    • Likewise, the large numbers of South African mercenaries operating in Africa was clearly inspired by PMCs like Executive Outcomes, but such groups only started popping up when the apartheid regime started slashing its personnel, around 1989.
  • Assist Character: Snake can call on allies to deploy near him and provide support/cover fire. If the circumstances allow it, Snake can also use context-specific commands to direct his allies to do particular things, such as Quiet sniping things you throw. There are four "buddies" in total:
    • D-Horse, which is, well, a horse, but one that can be used as relatively stealthy fast transport around the word, capable of traversing all terrain types unlike other vehicles like the Jeeps. Snake can hang off the saddle to hide from enemies as he passes, load a hostage on the horse's back, store extra equipment or even command the horse to poop, which is so slippery even enemy jeeps can spin out if they hit it. D-Horse is also very fragile, and will often pass out or flat out die if he's shot more than a few times. On his own, guards only see it as a wild horse and ignore it. You can even leave D-Horse on the road as a distraction as armored vehicles will stop to honk their horn until D-Horse gets out of the way.
    • D-Dog, a puppy raised to be a bomb-sniffing attack hound. DD is your #1 stealth infiltration buddy, following you around discreetly and marking enemies, prisoners and items nearby, even through walls. He can be upgraded to carry a knife that he can pull out to kill enemies silently with, or a stun knife for those in a more merciful mood. He can also distract enemies either by barking, or by rushing to them and biting them for a bit before retreating. D-Dog doesn't, however, have any ranged abilities, and he's even more fragile than D-Horse. Like D-Horse, guards will only think of him as a wild animal and try to shoo him away with no alarm if they happen to see him while you're hiding.
    • Quiet (if you spare her, anyway) is a difficult-to-use but extremely powerful support sniper capable of turning invisible and whizzing around the battlefield at high speed, and can eventually learn to do a lot of trick shots. She can cover you, assassinate targets that you mark, kill/tranquilize people that spot you, and be a useful distraction. She can also attract a lot of attention, and constantly hums; if any enemies are close by, they'll hear her and come over. It is quite possible for her to liberate guard posts on her own, but the greatest (and most fun) advantage in using her is placing her and Snake in different firing locations around a base, and then switching up when the enemies try to hide behind cover.
    • D-Walker, a Mini-Mecha with a rudimentary AI, this is your #1 Assault Buddy if you want to use brute force on a mission. He's somewhat of a combination of the 3 other buddies and mixing a bit of all their strengths, but is also comes with his own weaknesses. You can climb on top of him and use him as a transport like the horse (though he's neither as silent, nor all terrain, nor allows you to hide from enemies while riding him), he will scan and mark enemy units like the dog (Though not items or plants) and can provide cover fire during a battle like Quiet (but not with her ridiculous precision and skill). His unique ability is that by climbing on top of him, you can choose to use his mounted minigun to mow down the enemy forces with complete abandon given its large round capacity, which starts at 500 rounds and can eventually be upgraded to hold 1500. Enemies will recognize it as a threat so if you leave it alone carelessly, don't be surprised to find a group of guards openly attacking it by the time you get back. All of this is balanced by its high deployment cost: around 11,000 GMP depending on upgrades.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: How you deal damage to Sahelanthropus. Miller and Ocelot react enthusiastically when you hit the sweet spot at the right time.
  • Attempted Rape: In Mission 45 a Soviet soldier removes Quiet's pants and we hear the sound of a zipper, implying that he is about to rape her. His plan backfires big time; by exposing her legs to the open air she was able to breathe through her skin and regain her strength. She then proceeds to take down an entire squad of soviet soldiers by herself, including an axe kick straight down on her attempted rapist's groin with a sickening crunch. Also note that she spent about 3/4 of that fight unable to use her hands. This woman is Badass incarnate.
  • Author Appeal: Sums up why Quiet is designed the way she is. Word Of God even stated he did this so people would cosplay her.
  • Award Bait Song: In Metal Gear tradition, "Sins of the Father" and "Quiet's Theme" are definitely this.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: A lot of the higher-end weapons and support aren't worth it:
    • Fire support, at least in Main Ops. It's expensive and cripples your rating for the mission, and it can be awkward to use...but who wouldn't want their chopper flying in, gunning down everything in sight while Ride Of The Valkyries plays?
    • Weather changing. A neat trick that lets you set the weather to whatever you want, but it costs a lot of GMP and the artificial weather doesn't last any longer than normal weather. While it can be strategically beneficial in certain circumstances, more often than not, it's just a waste. Plus it kills your rating, like the fire support above.
    • The Stealth Camo P.P. is once again this. Sure, an Invisibility Cloak is cool, but its expensive, only lasts a short while, you only start off with two (half the number most consumables do), and it caps your ranking at an A. Later upgrades increase the battery life and holding capacity, but it's still only good for sprinting through guarded areas and taking out guards undeterred, as it will wear off instantly if you're attacked. However, if you invest into it far enough, you can develop the actual Stealth Camo, which not only has a maximized battery life, but also comes as a single item, which means it has infinite uses as long as you keep recharging the battery. Still useless for S Ranking, but makes most Side OPS an utter joke.
    • The Parasite Suit. It allows you to use three abilities of the SKULLS: Mistnote , Camonote , and Armornote , but requires special cartridges that don't last too long and require Parasites to deploy, which can only be acquired from the relevant SKULLS. Since SKULLS are hard to acquire as is and come in so few quantity, using the Parasite Suit repeatedly takes too much maintenance to be useful long-term. And as with the rest of the stuff on this list, it caps your ranking at an A.
      • Though as of a recent patch, using the suit itself, or the Mist/Armor parasite cartridges, no longer cap your ranking. They still won't be forgiving you for using the Camo cartridge, however.
    • Note that none of this applies to Side Ops, which aren't ranked. As long as you're willing to deal with the expenses, feel free to call in all the artillery strikes, sleep gas strikes, and chopper assaults you want!
    • The Hand of Jehuty. While it's really cool to have a teleport stun weapon that allows free takedowns and is all but a Zone of the Enders Shout-Out, it has a terribly short range, which means that unless the enemy is across a way that is inconvenient to directly traverse, you're better off just rushing your target and slamming them.
    • The Burkov TB (Tranquilizer Bullet). Likely the first semi-automatic tranquilizer pistol acquired, it is incredibly useful. However, its semiautomatic nature means it is very easy to go hog-wild with rounds, and it cannot be developed further once acquired, meaning it does not benefit from the unbreakable suppressor or the armour piercing rounds the WU S.Pistol can choose from at Level 5. In addition, its iron sights are extremely chunky, making aiming a lot more difficult than the WU's thinner iron sights, it has a shorter range. If these flaws can be overlooked, it can be an effective tool if used right.
    • D-Walker can be this in anything but a straight firefight. Its equipment is far more expensive than D.D. or Quiet's and, in order to be any way useful, ammo rack upgrades must be purchased as well. Also, in driving mode, it handles worse than a three-wheeled shopping trolley and can't aim farther up, meaning a battle with a chopper using the D-Walker is near impossible. That said, D-Walker's Gatling Gun is useful in boss battles.
    • The Adamska Special DLC pistol. A custom AM-D114 variant, it comes with ornate engravings and greater stopping power than the regular version's starting level. However, it can't be upgraded, fitted with a suppressor or customised by the master gunsmith and is quickly eclipsed by better pistols, including the regular AM-D114. The description lampshades this by asking if the engravings give a tactical advantage.
    • Post-release patches have been steadily adding in Grade 7 and Grade 8 weapons and items to develop. On the one hand, players get access to absurdly powerful weapons, such as an underbarrel tranquilizer pistol with infinite suppressor and very high stamina damage, a non-lethal shotgun that can knock out with one shot to anywhere on the body even at thirty meters (averting the Short-Range Shotgun problem some other shotguns in the game have), a grenade launcher with a twenty-round drum magazine, battle armor that can resist lead walls of light machine gun fire... the list goes on. On the other hand, these things get progressively more expensive to develop and deploy, making them more suitable to use only against FOBs that have equally overpowered equipment. The Grade 7 battle armor also prevents players from S ranking missions.
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name / Fail O Sucky Name: Due to the randomized nature of the code names, DD soldiers could get some amusing names.
  • Bag of Spilling: Played with. Big Boss and Kaz lose Mother Base and MSF, but Big Boss doesn't lose his skills or physical form. Even his replacement is stated to have received muscle therapy and treatments while unconscious to ensure that he's still physically fit and able upon waking up, and at best is instructed to bulk up his arm to fit his prosthetic replacement.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Bears can be spotted wandering the wilds of Afghanistan. Like many animals, they can be tranquilized or killed, and in the case of the former, Fultoned back to base, but don't expect it to go down easy.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: The Parasite Suit allows the player to temporarily use the same abilities as the SKULLS by installing specially designed cartridges filled with parasites to give its wearer a particular power. However, using it during a main mission prevents you from getting an S Rank.
  • Being Evil Sucks: From a purely gameplay standpoint, it's a lot harder to become the bad guy than to be good. There are many more acts that decrease Demon Points/give Heroism than add Demon Points, and they're generally a lot easier to accomplish. Furthermore, unless you get a Nuke, acquiring Demon Points takes much more time than just getting Heroism or losing Demon Points.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Typical of a series that loves to play The Big Bad Shuffle, Phantom Pain has several villains with different motivations vying for top dog: Skull Face, a former CIA shadow operative who was the other side of the FOX unit; The Man on Fire who is Volgin's charred corpse seeking revenge against Snake, Tretij Rebenok, who is a Wild Card willing to further the agendas of anyone harboring intense enough negative feelings, and in Chapter 2, Huey, whose backstabbing tendencies drive him to cause a second outbreak of the Vocal Chord parasites, and indirectly the death of Quiet, as well as a 50 of your men and women from R&D and the Security Team. Due to Executive Meddling, Eli ended up reduced to Big Bad Wannabe since his mission and boss fight in Chapter 2 was ultimately cut from the game, and his influence in the main plot is rather small.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Every foreign language in the game is accurately spoken. Players fluent in Russian, for example, will be able to understand guards even if Snake hasn't acquired a translator.
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: Snake can be covered head to toes in blood in gameplay if you get wounded during a mission and has to shower to get it off. If he doesn't, he starts to stink, which causes flies to buzz around him and makes him easier to detect. You can also get blood splattered on you if you inflict brutal enough wounds at point blank range.
    • Can be taken Up to Eleven if you transform into Demon Snake, who is permanently covered in blood, and that blood can never be washed off via showers or rain.
    • Quiet gets a outfit that makes her look like she's covered in blood as well.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: The collector's edition of the game features gold plated versions of the WU Silent Pistol and the MRS-4 Assault Carbine.
  • Bonus Feature Failure: Some of the S-Rank restricting items... arguably aren't worth the penalty.
    • The Cyborg Ninja skin, and later on the Raiden costume. Super-fast sprinting! And...that's it. You lose the right to an S-Rank for a power that's honestly not worth it, and you don't even get the stealth or durability benefits of the Sneaking Suit or Battle Dress. What's worse, the Raiden skin can only be obtained by S-Ranking all missions, despite being very similar to the Cyborg Ninja skin in performance, which can be obtained far, far earlier. It's better to just deploy a character with the Athlete ability.
    • The Parasite Suit. Mimic the powers of the Skulls! Except...not really. The Mist obscures your vision as much as the enemies, and the Invisibility is functionally identical to the cheaper, and far easier to use, Stealth Camo. Armor is the only one that would arguably be useful...except it has limited uses, compared to the raw, free defense increase of the Battle Dress. Oh, and in order to use any of these, you need Parasite units, which can only be obtained by extracting Skulls from replays of their fights. Did we mention that if you kill all the Skulls before extracting any, they'll all run away and leave you with nothing? Have fun!
  • Book Ends: Although it remains to be seen if this is the last Metal Gear game, with Kojima's involvement at an end, he begins and ends the franchise the way he started it : with a character being briefed on Operation Intrude N313, Solid Snake's mission to infiltrate Outer Heaven. Venom Snake has received the mission details from Big Boss as he begins to prepare for the events of Metal Gear 1.
    • Focusing only the Metal Gear Solid games, both MGS1 and MGSV have the Final Boss being Liquid Snake piloting a Metal Gear (with Psycho Mantis' help in 5).
    • Not to mention MGS4 and MGSV have ending where a significant person in Big Boss's life shares a final smoke with him before parting permanently.
  • Boring but Practical:
    • You'll more or less prioritize tranquilizer guns above all other guns, as the game rewards sparing lives and extracting soldiers, like Peace Walker before it. The WU Silent Pistol will be your go-to for close range combat, while the Renov-ICKX TP outfitted with a suppressor will pretty much take out whole guard posts by itself.
    • Like the M-16 and M4 in previous games, the starter MRS-4 will be players' staple lethal weapon until they develop more powerful rifles.
    • For a long while, D-Horse will be your go-to method of traversing the open world quickly, as vehicles aren't at all stealthy nor are they all-terrain like D-Horse. Until you develop alternate methods of fast travel, like D-Walker, D-Horse will be the only good way to travel.
    • For stealth infiltrations, D-Dog is the only decent option unless you've been using Quiet from the get-go. Despite having low durability, he doesn't generally attract attention, and marks guards, plants, animals, directional mines, and most helpfully, prisoners, within a 100 meter radius. Developing his suits also increases his usefulness even further, such as giving him the ability to neutralize guards with a Stun Knife, or if you find the First Aid Manual, the ability to Fulton guards directly.
    • The series staple cardboard box. It's cheap to develop and deploy, lets you hide right in front of enemies, gives you camouflage at a distance, and has a surprisingly wide variety of uses outside stealth. Plus if enemies see it moving they like to get in close to check it out for easy CQC knockouts.
    • As always, Empty Magazines. Sure, you COULD carefully sneak around and choke out every guard from behind...or you could simply lure them into a secluded alcove with their back to you one at a time. Unlimited use, costs nothing, and one of the most efficient ways of taking out lone guards. However, the enemy WILL wise up if you keep doing it (or get caught doing it), and it won't work as well if multiple enemies come to investigate.
    • Here's a fun tactic; find outpost power supply. Turn off power. Plant Sleep Mine (or if you're cheap, just tranq/CQC the investigating guard, but AFTER he reports in.) Hide. Watch as the guard sent to investigate passes out. Fulton/kill/hide/whatever. Turn the power back on. Repeat from step 1 until entire outpost is cleared. Incredibly dull, but reliable and (relatively) risk-free (and ongoing proof that The Guards Must Be Crazy.)
  • Bottomless Magazines:
    • Once again, the Infinity Bandana, which gives the player unlimited ammunition while equippednote .
    • Literally with empty magazines. Snake can throw as many as he wants in the game.
    • The Water Pistol, the only gun that naturally has infinite ammo. It's just water, after all. Very useful water.
  • Brand X: Venom Snake's pocket computer is not an iPhone or an Android — it's an iDroid.
  • Breakout Character: Quiet has become very popular with many fans due to her tragic story, sexy design, implied romance with Venom Snake, and the fact that she's very useful during missions, bordering on being a Game Breaker. She leaves after completing Mission 45, which can only be avoided by either not maxing her Bond or equipping the Butterfly Emblem. Players who were not expecting this were upset, and fan reaction eventually prompted Konami to add the ability to bring back Quiet (non-canonically) by playing Mission 11 seven times.
  • Breather Episode: "The Hamburgers of Kazuhira Miller" series of tapes is far less serious than any of the other tapes, centering around Miller's quest to develop the perfect burger for Code Talker.
  • Broken Record: Once again, the Hybrid Pod, the new home of The Boss's AI after Strangelove recovered Peace Walker's AI Pods from Lake Nicaragua. After recovering it from Huey's lab, it can be found on the top level of the R&D Platform, 1st Deck, endlessly repeating the same words The Boss said to Snake prior to her death.
  • Brown Note: The vocal cord parasites. When the owner speaks words they reproduce, a process that is completely fatal. Different strains of the parasite "recognize" different languages, and only reproduce when that language is spoken. In other words, the parasite turns entire languages into Brown Notes. Skull Face's ultimate plan is to spread a vocal cord parasite keyed to English, ending the world's lingua franca.
  • Bullet Time: Reflex Mode from Ground Zeroes returns, which allows you to slow time to neutralize a guard who spotted you before they can sound the alarm. Disabling this option nets you a guaranteed No Reflex bonus. You can also be subject to this in FOB Invasions if your intruder has the option enabled, but you can counteract it by investing in Anti-Reflex, which reduces the amount of time an intruder gets in Reflex Mode.
  • Bus Crash: In addition to Chico dying in the helicopter crash at the end of Ground Zeroes, Strangelove died saving her son Hal, aka Otacon from becoming a guinea pig for Cipher and his own father. With Strangelove's corpse discovered inside the recovered AI Pod.
  • But Thou Must: There are ways you can prevent (or rather, put off) Quiet's Plotline Death, but in doing so, you won't be able to get 100% until you allow it to happen.
    • Players who've read spoilers or are on their second playthrough can dismiss every Kikongo speaker from Mother Base before the first outbreak starts. However the game will simply start giving them volunteers with Kikongo.
  • Canine Companion: D.D., a wolf-pup that Venom can Fulton back to Mother Base so that he can eventually be trained as an attack dog that can accompany him on missions.
  • Call Back:
    • Venom gets a left hand version of Zadornov's prosthetic right arm from Peace Walker. You can even upgrade it later on to use a Rocket Punch (in knockout or lethal forms), similar to the one that Zadornov attempts on Snake.
    • During the intro when Venom has his elbow twisted, Ishmael helps him painfully snap it back into place and tells him he should learn how to do that himself. Naked Snake set his own elbow (again painfully) after The Boss twisted it around at the end of the Virtuous Mission.
    • At one point during a training session, Ocelot catches one of the Diamond Dog soldiers using a elaborately engraved semi-automatic pistol with the ineffective grip he initially utilized in his first meeting with Naked Snake. He chides the soldier, referencing the advice Snake gave him back in MGS3 about firearms.
    • "You're pretty good!" said once again by Ishmael. It's a clue to his true identity.
    • When the player defeats Quiet, the scene plays out just like when Snake defeated The Boss, right down to the unseen button prompt. Only this time the player's choice does affect the outcome of the scene rather than delaying the inevitable, allowing Quiet's life to be spared.
      • Skull Face's death is curiously similar to this, though there is none of the simple tragedy and heartbreak of the Boss' or even Quiet's death; the camera lingers above Big Boss with Skull Face's own rifle extended toward him, before it pans back around and Kaz assists Big Boss in blowing off Skull Face's limbs. The scene is an eerie mirror of the Boss' death, fitting given Skull Face's actions have condemned the world to both the Patriots and their coldly logical, vicious War Economy in contrast with the Boss' inspiring, tragic death.
    • One of the photographs that the doctor shows to Ahab in the alternate version of the prologue in Episode 46 has a signature from "Vic Boss", which was the nickname given to Big Boss by the MSF crew.
  • Call Forward:
    • The method that Ishmael, the actual Big Boss, uses to defeat the assassin,Quiet, in the hospital by using an accelerant and a lighter he has on hand is possibly an ironic reference to how his own son, Solid Snake, eventually defeated him in Metal Gear 2.
    • Ocelot has grown a mustache and started wearing a duster, referencing his outfit in the chronologically later Metal Gear Solid.
    • What else should Eli say in his "boss fight" but "Not yet, Snake! It's not over yet!"
    • In Metal Gear 2, it's mentioned off-hand that Big Boss might have gotten cybernetic implants between games. In The Phantom Pain, he actually does get a robotic arm to replace his amputated one.
    • Huey's first scene involves him arguing with Skull Face over something he built, and then being thrown down a flight of stairs, similar to his first scene in Peace Walker.
    • The D-Walker and Walker Gears are miniature mechs very similar in concept to the Metal Gear Gs that were planned to appear as enemy mechs in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, which in turn were miniaturized non-nuclear equipped versions of the Metal Gear D from that game.
    • More subtle than the others, but Paz's "final message" is one to Guns of the Patriots. As Big Boss' dying words to Solid Snake to let go and "live," implying that Paz had that much of an impact on Big Boss as well as on Venom.
    • "There's no such thing as magic or the supernatural" is said by a Mother Base crew in a conversation with another soldier over the nature of Quiet's powers.
    • "This is raven's territory" remarks Ocelot when the player spots a raven in his Int-Scope.
    • Sahelanthropus, the actual Metal Gear in this entry, combines aspects of Metal Gear REX and RAY, further highlighting its being a "missing link." Its alternate name, the ST-84, is also a throwback to the TX-55 from the very first game.
    • If the player shoots Ocelot with tranquilizer darts several times when he's present in Mother Base, he will start uttering the same Japanese train stations chanted by the Cyborg Ninja in MGS1 and the A.I. Colonel in MGS2.
    • The Triumph motorcycle that Ocelot gives to the real Big Boss at the end of Episode 46 has the same license plate as Eva's bike in MGS4, which was 3B71 0512. A comparison can be seen here.
    • A good deal of Ocelot's comments harken to MGS1 and MGS2, such as his musings on how anyone can be Big Boss. Which in turn foreshadows Venom's true identity.
  • Cassandra Truth: While dismissing Miller's conviction that Quiet is a spy, Ocelot rhetorically says "What if I'm a spy? Or you?" The truth ending reveals Ocelot actually is a spy planted by the real Naked Snake.
  • Character Select Forcing: More like weapon select forcing, but the battle with Sahelanthropus outright expects you to go in with a rocket launcher of some description. While the fight IS technically winnable with fire support and the vehicles placed around, the former caps you at a A-Rank and the latter tend to die/rust quickly. If you want to have a reasonable chance of winning, and ESPECIALLY if you want to S-Rank, better start developing those launchers!
  • Chekhov's Gun: At the beginning of the game, the doctor asks you to recall your name and birthday, which is manually inputted by the player. He then tells you to design a new face for Snake, so as to hide his identity from his pursuers. Regardless of what face you settle with, Snake still looks like, well, Snake, for the ensuing escape. The final mission reveals that you, as in, the avatar you designed, is who you've been playing as the entire game, and that you have had plastic surgery done to your face to make you look like Big Boss, so that the real Big Boss can leave a free man. Also, when Ocelot hands the true Big Boss a new identity, that of the MSF medic that was in the chopper crash nine years ago, the name and birthday that you told the doctor are included, alongside a photo of the face you designed.
  • Child Soldiers: Many African ones are shown, complete with blood diamonds. Chico can be considered one, and this is implied to be the case with Eli given he grows up to become Liquid Snake. They currently provide the page image. Yes, you fight them, no, you can't kill them, instant game over if you do.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Averted with Ocelot in this game, given that he's genuinely loyal to Big Boss to the point of hypnotizing himself into believing that Venom Snake is Big Boss, all so the real one can escape from Cipher's gaze.
    • Played straight with Huey, who pretty much caused the destruction of MSF and joined Cipher, only to later betray them for Mother Base... and then proceeds to betray them again.
  • Collective Identity: The true ending reveals that Ishmael is the real Big Boss, and Venom was a Body Double the whole time. However, the real Big Boss leaves a message saying that Venom is as much Big Boss as he is, and that they made their legend together.
  • Continuing Is Painful: If you get a Game Over, any GMP spent on-site between then and the last checkpoint is gone forevernote . This doesn't sound too bad initially, but if you wind up dying repeatedly in a mission where you have to spend a lot of GMP, you may see your resources dwindling after some time.
    • Checkpoints can be VERY schizophrenic. Occasionally, they're perfectly fine, with a loss only taking you back a few minutes at most. At worst (I'm looking at you, War Economy!) they can essentially force you to restart the entire mission, even if you'd already completed the objectives and were less than a minute from extraction.
  • Controllable Helplessness: During the siege on the hospital, Snake can barely crawl after nine years in a coma.
    • In gameplay terms, this can happen with critical injuries or being knocked unconscious. In the case of the former, an injured torso prevents you from regenerating health, an injured leg slows your movement dramatically, and an injured arm prevents you from shooting or using CQC. The only way to fix any of these is with a short "first-aid" animation that leaves you vulnerable for several seconds. Having his happen in combat is tantamount to death.
    • Being knocked unconscious leaves you flat on the ground with no senses, and the only way to recover is with rapid Button Mashing. It's not TOO hard to recover from, but especially in FOBs, this is potentially devastating.
  • Cool Bike: The bike (a customized Triumph Bonneville) that Ocelot presents to Big Boss so he can escape at the end of Episode 46. It's the same one Eva rides in MGS4.
  • Cover Version: For the game's soundtrack, Donna Burke recorded cover versions of "The Best is Yet to Come", "Can't Say Goodbye to Yesterday", "Snake Eater" and "Love Theme". There's also two versions of "Quiet's Theme", the original version from the E3 2013 trailer by Burke, which is a One-Woman Wail, and a version by Stefanie Joosten with actual lyrics.
  • Create Your Own Villain: The player's choices affect Snake's relationship with the rest of the world, and depending on how you approach things you can build a few or more rivalries for yourself.
  • Creepy Child: Tretij Rebenok, a gas mask-wearing child who may be a young Psycho Mantis.
  • Cyborg: By the 1980s, cybernetic technology has started to make leaps and bounds: Snake gets a mechanical left arm partway through the game in the same style as Zadornov's in Peace Walker, and Huey, previously wheelchair bound, can now stand and walk with the assistance of cybernetic leg braces.
  • Cruel Mercy: Upon learning of the full extent of what Huey had done, instead of shooting him on the spot Venom decides to toss him off Mother Base on a life raft with a box of supplies, though said life raft is flimsy enough that Huey's forced to throw off his robotic legs. He explains to a stunned Miller that this is so Huey can't hide from his own demons forever. Even if it takes decades before those sins catch up to him.
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: Forward Operating Bases are constructed exactly like the main Mother Base, with very few changes to the actual layout.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Quiet is able to snipe the cockpit of a moving fighter plane while riding a helicopter under fire, but when deployed as a buddy, she... can miss running soldiers.
  • Cutting the Knot: Very possible given the open-ended nature of the gameplay, and Miller will often compliment the player on their lateral thinking if they do so. Don't feel like taking on a tank convoy with explosives? Simply set up some decoys and use the opening to futon them one by one. Don't want to sneak through the heavily fortified airport to take out one specific target? Get a good vantage point, wait for the target to make his rounds, and blow him to bits.
  • Cycle of Hurting: Guards with shotguns will be the bane of your existence if you're going in guns blazing, as if you're discovered, they can stunlock you to death. Not helped by the fact that they have fair range and accuracy, so if there isn't cover nearby, don't expect to leave alive.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Can happen with FOB mode. If your base is invaded, a wormhole opens, allowing you to invade the base belonging to whoever invaded you. However, when you do this, they can strike back at you, which allows you to strike back at them and so on.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: The Cipher soldiers attacking the hospital at the beginning. Leave No Witnesses? Check. Kill 'em All? Almost. They actually bother checking the bodies of each body they come across in case they're Faking the Dead and actually caught Snake, and probably would have killed him had The Man On Fire not appeared on the scene.
  • Dark Reprise: The soundtrack not only incorporates motifs from Peace Walker and Guns of the Patriots, but gives them a more ominous if at times melancholy undertone.
  • Dead All Along:
  • Defeat Equals Friendship: Fulton Recovery Balloons return.
  • Degraded Boss / Recurring Boss: Played with. The female Skulls are recurring enemies that are theoretically downgraded Palette Swaps of Quiet, but also have strengths and weaknesses wholly unique to them (they have less health than Quiet and a more prominent Laser Sight making them easier to spot; on the other hand, they make no noise, always travel in packs, can dodge the Easy Level Trick that worked on Quiet, and their rifles hurt just as badly if you're spotted).
  • Determinator: Nothing will stop Snake and the Diamond Dogs from getting revenge against XOF, and if all the homages to Moby-Dick are of any indication, this is a very, very bad thing.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
    • If you take over three in-game days to reach Kaz (possible by using the Phantom Cigar a lot), Snake will find Kaz dead. What is shocking is that you don't get the game over when time runs out. Instead players need to reach Kaz's location to get the cutscene. Cue the "Time Paradox" Game Over.
    • D. Horse will not only poop on occasion, but can do so on command. Horse poop can even be placed on roadways, causing vehicles that run over it to skid out of control.
    • After acquiring the + CARGO 2 upgrade for the Fulton Device, you can extract large objects like heavy containers. If you're on top of the container and you plant the device, holding the Action Button next to the Fulton Balloon will have Snake grab onto it, and the balloon will extract him to the ACC instantly.
    • Active Decoy will pop out a balloon model of Snake. If thrown directly near a guard, the pop will blast him away, allowing players to do things like throw guards off cliffs with your decoy.
    • Returning to Mother Base on your birthday (which the game asks for at the beginning) gets you a scene where Miller, Ocelot and the Diamond Dogs throw Snake a surprise birthday party, including a special song and a birthday cake. With Quiet recruited, you get another special scene in which she shoots open a crate of cigars for him by shooting out the letters "HBD".
    • Using the Stun Arm while listening to tapes causes audible static feedback.
    • The Water Pistol has a surprising amount of detail put into it for a Joke Item.
      • Enemies shot by it will be startled.
      • Squirting it at electronics will cause them to short-circuit.
      • Clothes will be realistically stained at the point you strike them
      • Miller has a unique reaction if you try to use it on the Man On Fire.
      • It's semi-transparent, just like many real-life water pistols.
    • Some guards dive on top of a grenade to prevent damage to other nearby guards, even if the grenade is non-lethal.
    • If a knocked out enemy lands face first in a body of water, they will eventually die from drowning.
    • You're not allowed to use lethal weapons while on Mother Base. But if you somehow manage to kill one of your own troops, you'll get a Non Standard Game Over where Miller shouts "Boss, have you lost your mind?!".
    • During the fight against Sahelantropus, Miller may call automatic air strikes. This has no bearing on your Rank, regardless of the fact that typical air strikes usually prevent you from getting an S.
    • Using the cardboard box in either a pool of water or rain will cause it to gradually weaken and finally fall apart.
    • The game accounts for the possibility of you trying to fulton the Man on Fire if he's stunned; Ocelot will remark that bringing him would make for good research. However, Tretij will pop the balloon every time and will teleport if you attempt to shoot him.
      • If you're persistent, you can drive off Tretij with enough gunfire and actually Fulton the Man On Fire; however he cuts the strings midflight and the battle ends.
    • During the Quiet battle you can knock her out using supply drops. If you do so, the game actually rewards you bonus points for using non-weapon tactics.
    • If you knock out an enemy and place him on a bed, the other guards will assume he's asleep and ignore him.
    • A recording from Code Talker reveals that "the one that covers" (the parasite that gives Quiet and the Skulls their powers), when exposed to water, will temporarily abandon all other processes in its eagerness to absorb the water. This not only explains Quiet's "rain dance" cutscene, but it applies to actual gameplay as well. If you possess weather control and you call in rain while battling Quiet or the Skulls, they will briefly enter a trance-like state where they won't attack you, as demonstrated by this video. You can also shoot Quiet and the Skulls with the water pistol to very briefly stun them, but it doesn't last nearly as long as when it rains.
    • When ordered to scout ahead or move to a sniping position, Quiet will turn invisible and dash to the location at an extremely high speed. If she happens to collide with an enemy along the way, the enemy will be knocked unconscious.
    • If you throw a smoke grenade under a helicopter or have Pequod land over an active one, the downdraft from the rotors will accurately blow the smoke away.
    • If Snake takes a lot of hits without dying over the course of a mission, thus losing a lot of blood, he'll be in the midst of a blood transfusion the next time he's sat in the ACC between missions.
    • Ishmael drives the ambulance on the right side of the road while escaping the hospital, despite the country being right-hand driver. Fridge Brilliance when you remember that he's American.
  • Difficult but Awesome:
    • Quiet. Finicky, complicated and dangerous, yet also extremely powerful, disturbingly accurate and very, very useful.
    • Before you get tranquilizer sniper rifles, landing long-range headshots with the Wu tranq pistol. You have to account for aim sway, bullet drop, and projectile variation, making for extremely difficult shots, but if you pull it off, not only does it silently and instantly knock out an enemy at long range (and it's sleep, not KO, so they won't trigger an alert when they wake up), you also get a score bonus for a "tactical takedown" (which you ALSO get for cqc takedowns or a headshot with any weapon beyond its effective range.)
  • Difficulty Spike: Mission 12, "Hellbound," requires the player to infiltrate the Afghanistan Base Camp, the most heavily-fortified and -populated location to date. There is only one way in—through the front. You have to go in blind, relying on pure skill and luck, because the soldiers on the far side of the base are too far away for your binoculars to tag. Don't stay in one place too long, lest the helicopter gunship overhead catch you in its sights and call down the entire Russian army. Check Point Starvation is in effect; you can spend literally days in the base and still have to respawn at the front door if you die. It's the end of a Marathon Level, in which you 1) sneak into the Serak Power Plant, 2) sneak out of it again and 3) get past three guard posts that on the road, 4) infiltrate the base camp and 5) get out again (which we haven't even begun to talk about). And, as the cherry on top, the game ambushes you with it: Step 1 is a Side Op (#82: Make Contact with Emmerich), and you only find out what you're in for once you complete it and see the Cut Scenes. This raises the odds that Venom Snake is wielding the wrong weapons and will need to waste precious time and GMP re-equipping.
  • Dirty Communist: Averted. Despite the setting and Cold War backdrop, not all the Soviet forces are painted as depraved or evil.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Ditching the Books seen in every other title, The Phantom Pain reimagines this with posters that you can stick on cardboard boxes that allows the box to unfold and reveal a pinup girl when Snake stands or becomes prone. Of course, every guard who notices the box immediately comes to stare at the pinup girl regardless of the fact that it's plastered on a cardboard box. Guards who come close can then be immediately CQC'd for a quick knockout.
  • Distant Finale: The true ending shows a surreal version of events that will take place years later in 1995, shortly before the events of Metal Gear 1.
  • Dog Stereotype: It's a bit hard to tell that the dog in the Diamond Dogs logo is a doberman pinscher since it doesn't have the cropped ears common to the breed. With that in mind though one realizes how much the rank and file soldier of DD fit the hyper aggressive loyalty of a stereotypical doberman.
  • Doing In the Wizard: Somewhat. It's established that The End and possibly other members of the Cobras got their powers from Parasites. (Code Talker and Quiet use The End's parasites for respiratory and infiltration purposes. Code Talker also mentions how The Fear's parasites metabolized his fear into adrenaline and The Pain's parasites secreted insect pheromones.) However, some unexplained supernatural elements remain, such as The Sorrow and Tretij Rebenok's psychic abilities, and the unknown entity that gave The Fury and The Man On Fire their powers. Ocelot is convinced that there is a rational and scientific method to deconstruct and harness these powers, but that by the time they do the future's common sense will be incomprehensible to the people of the 1980's.
  • Downloadable Content
    • The Day One and Collector's Edition both include voucher codes for various in-game items such as firearms, cardboard boxes, ballistic shields and fatigues. Additionally players who registered their copy of Ground Zeroes into the KonamiCore website can receive a download code for two exclusive Mother Base staff members with FOX tattoos on their faces, while the Day One Edition on Steam offers similar pair but with MSF tattoos.
    • MGS3-themed costumes were released on October 20th, which consists of three of Naked Snake's outfits from that game along with Eva's jumpsuit and The Boss's sneaking suit. The set also includes armors for D-Horse.
  • Dummied Out
    • The Collector's Edition comes with a bonus Blu-ray Disc which feature footage from a mission not included in the final game titled "Kingdom of the Flies". This mission, which would've been Episode 51 had it been included, would would have sent Snake to a sprawling Lord of the Flies-esque island and explained what had happened to Eli after he and The Third Child stole a repaired Sahelanthropus and escaped Mother Base with the other child soldiers.
    • Additionally, players who have datamined the game have uncovered numerous unused content, such as a title card for a cut third chapter titled "Peace".
    • There's also code for other previously unannounced DLCs such as a set of MGS3 themed costumes (which include The Boss' sneaking suit and Eva's jumpsuit for female soldiers), as well as Miller and Ocelot costumes for D-Dog. The MGS3 costumes were shown at TGS.
    • Co-Ops missions from Peace Walker were intended to make a return in The Phantom Pain according to early versions of the iDroid GUI seen in this video. While Co-Ops were not implemented for main missions, players can still assist each other in defending their FOBs from intruders.
    • A gameplay demonstration from E3 2014 showed much more activity within Mother Base compared to the final game, with animals roaming around the base alongside soldiers (rather than being segregated to a separate conservation plant), other helicopters and vehicles besides the ones Snake uses to travel, soldiers engaging in target practices, Ocelot himself casually hanging around outside story events, and rival invasions occurring within the main Mother Base (as opposed to a separate FOB). Similarly, the gamescom 2014 demo shows PF emblems that are impossible to use in the released version such as "Roughneck Raven" and "Stubborn Sheep" (presumably these could still appear in future FOB events, similarly to the Mosquito Stinger Force).
    • While the death of any child soldier will result in an instant mission failure, this restriction was apparently not planned to be implemented at first. Killing child soldiers can be enabled in the PC version through modding, which reveals that the original penalty for killing one was a lost of 500 heroism points.
  • Dying as Yourself: The Man On Fire is a hulking, fiery, demonic-looking figure who never utters a sound that isn't a roar of rage; it's stated that whatever he is, he's effectively mindless and being led only by the masked boy and his hatred of Snake. In his very final scene, after the masked boy is no longer in the picture and the Man On Fire is just an inert corpse again, Snake attempts to capture him...only for him to flare back to life and come after him. However, once he seemingly has Snake cornered, he backs off. Volgin, realizing that the Snake he was chasing isn't the same person who killed him in Groznyj Grad, lets go of his hate, the only thing that was driving him any further, finally dying peacefully. This is indicated by him, during his final moments before collapsing, reverting from his demonic appearance to his original, human one as Volgin.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: Enemies are able to take note of the player's tactics and adapt accordingly. This encourages the player to use variety in their tactics and avoid sticking to a single method for the whole game. For example:
    • If you constantly go for headshots, enemies will start wearing helmets that makes most headshots bounce off harmlessly (while alerting the enemy.)
    • Conversely, go for body shots, and they'll start grabbing body armor and riot shields.
    • Later on, if you've been consistently using low-caliber weapons or tranqs, they'll start donning riot suits, which will blunt all but the heaviest of guns.
    • Stick to CQC, and they'll start toting shotguns. They'll do the same if you go for direct brute force assaults, as shotguns can knock you flat on your ass over and over.
    • A fan of night infiltrations? They'll bring flashlights, allowing them to investigate the darker hiding spots more effectively. Later on they'll trade the flashlights for Night Vision, which lets them see just as well as if it were day.
    • If you manage to go completely undetected yourself, but the enemy consistently notices missing resources or acts of sabotage, they'll start planting landmines on unguarded or out-of-the-way backdoor routes, or deploying surveillance cameras.
    • Overusing the Active Decoy will lead to them deploying decoys in surprising places, which even your Analyzer can be fooled by. What's more, they can become more elaborate just like yours, going from stock-still inflatables to having their own idle animations and even voice clips.
    • If you tend to pick them off from a distance, they'll start deploying mortars to bombard your general location. What's more, they can learn to adapt to your movements; if you always follow up sniping with closing in to short range, they'll learn to move their barrages steadily closer.
    • If guards repeatedly catch you Fultoning, they'll start to expect it and rather than reacting with surprise, will start shooting them down as soon as they see them. If you still keep it up, they'll start deploying snipers to watch clusters of resources or patrols to catch you in the act.
    • Constant usage of Sleeping Gas (in the form of grenades, mines, or fire support) will make the enemy start to don gas masks to become immune to it.
    • Overuse of the empty magazines will eventually have the guards ignore them.
    • Notably, there are dispatch missions to counter every single one of these; in addition to being middle-to-low difficulty, they net you a small pocket of resources and temporarily prevent the enemy from implementing that particular measure. While you'll never be able to completely shut down ALL of them, you can at least keep your least favorite couple suppressed if you pay attention.
  • Easy Level Trick: Mission 16 can be a colossal pain, as you first have to keep pace with and take out a military convoy in order to capture the cargo truck they're escorting. When you catch the truck, it triggers a thoroughly-unexpected fight against the Skulls, who have learned some new tricks since you last saw them. Players who manage to be prepared for the convoy will almost certainly be thrown off and subsequently struggle with the spoilered bit. Or, you can just take D-Walker and the Fulton Ballista, and Fulton the truck from a distance. If you never get close enough, the Skulls won't spawn and you'll win the mission instantly.
    • Quiet can be taken out very easily by dropping two Supply Drops on her head, each of which drains half of her stamina. Notably, this trick doesn't work on the Extreme version of her fight nor on her Palette Swaps.
    • The Wandering Mother Base Soldier Side Ops can be completed without much fuss by playing Koi no Yokushiryoku over the iDroid's speakers. The otherwise insane soldiers will recognize the music and stop attacking you, allowing you to knock them out and Fulton them without effort. A similar trick can be done with the cardboard box, simply walking up to them while in the standard crouch for the box will cause them to act the same as if you'd been playing Love Deterrence.
    • The battle against the Skulls at Nova Braga airport is very difficult, especially considering that this particular unit of Skulls is the armoured variant. However, this difficulty can be alleviated by climbing up onto the hangar, as it's one of the few places they won't follow you and the building's roof can shield the player from their thrown boulders. They can still make the boulders shoot up through the roof, but this is easy enough to dodge.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Variant. If you die in the same area three times consecutively, the Chicken Hat will become available (much like the Corpse Camo from Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots) which will make enemies notice Snake more slowly, but will cap his final ranking for a mission at A. If you happen to fail three times WITH the Chicken Hat, the game will award the Lil' Chicken Hat which makes enemies completely ignore Snake but drop player scores to 0.
  • Empathic Environment: The Skulls only appear in the middle of a strange, gloomy mist. This is to supplement their parasites' need for water, which they require to subsist.
  • End of an Age: The game takes place during the final stretch of the Cold War, just before the Patriots truly make their presence felt on the global stage.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: The true ending. It establishes that Venom Snake is a body-double of Big Boss.
  • The '80s: The main story is set in 1984, a year chosen as a nod to George Orwell's 1984, as well as to have each Big Boss game take place in a different decade.note  You can also hear a lot of the decade's musical influence on the soundtrack and unlock musical tapes from this era.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • Heavy infantry. Armed to the teeth with powerful on-hand weapons, full-head helmets, body armor, and the rest of the works. Tranquilizing them is virtually useless, so if you intend on taking them alive, expect to the general strategy to boil down to "sneak up and choke out".
    • The Security Team can be this at higher levels. The guards' Ranks translate into a variety of stats, including alertness, willingness to observe a threat, and accuracy with gunfire. E Rank guards can be potentially as bad as or even worse than Soviet or PF guards, while anyone B/A Rank or higher have a very good chance of spotting you and are absolutely terrifying crack shots. If you do get spotted, don't expect to leave with just a few bullets to the arm.
  • Equipment Upgrade: Snake's prosthetic arm can be swapped out with other arms that perform different functions, such as a yellow arm that shocks an enemy into submission like the Stun Rod from Peace Walker.
    • The Int-Scope (Snake's new binoculars) can be upgraded with an Analyzer to scan an enemy's stats, just like the Analyzer from Peace Walker.
    • Weapons can be upgraded with six different grades of development. They can also be customized with different barrels, muzzles, stocks, and grips.
    • The vehicles can be upgraded too, particularly the helicopter.
    • Equipment for your buddies can be upgraded as well.
  • Escort Mission:
    • Inverted in the hospital level. The player controls a vulnerable Snake as he is being escorted by the bandaged "Ishmael".
    • Some missions involve carrying a target who cannot be extracted by Fulton balloon to a chopper to extract them.
    • A straighter example occurs when Snake eventually has to escort a group of five children out of an enemy camp. Because they are children, they cannot be extracted by Fulton balloon, as it would kill them. As a result, Snake must guide the children to an LZ about 150m~ away, neutralizing guards along the way. Unfortunately, the children can easily run into a guard if you don't tell them to stop, and if any kid dies (which may happen, they're kids), it's a Non Standard Game Over. Not to mention that guards will start pursuing you if you take too long.note 
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • In general, a character betraying the side they're on tends to end up being reviled by everyone.
    • Skull Face might be a monster but he respects loyalty and when he finds that the Dirty Coward Huey has tried to cut a deal, he shoves him down a flight of stairs.
    • Miller might have taken a level in Jerk Ass, but even he doesn't hold back in expressing his disgust with what Huey did to his wife and tried to do with his son. Also he will absolutely NOT accept Snake's suggestion of adding the recently rescued Child Soldiers to the staff on Diamond Dogs, instead insisting that they are given education, and a life beyond just being a gun for hire. Also, the Diamond Dogs were originally assigned to murder the child soldiers, but nobody on the team is having any of that.
    • When Miller finds out that the Viscount sold out his personnel for actions that he did himself and requested that only he be rescued when the Afrikaners caught on and captured all of them, Miller decides that he deserves extra persuasion.
    • Despite the depths Miller, Snake, Ocelot and the Diamond Dogs in general go in pursuing their revenge all are in agreement that what Huey had been doing was far beyond the pale.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: The shrapnel-horn on Snake's head in The Phantom Pain comes from the explosion that occurs at the end of Ground Zeroes.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: In the open gameworld, everything in the map is hostile to you except for prisoners and herbivore animals. If it holds a gun, it will attack you on sight. If it has fangs or claws, it will attack you on sight as well.
    • Also Discussed by Ishmael:
      Ishmael: The bad news is the world wants you dead.
    • And by Ocelot:
      Ocelot: It's not just them; the whole world wants you dead.
    • This is the only reason that Mission 45 ends on such a downer; the venomous snake, in complete defiance of nature, slithers towards a large, wounded, frantic man, in the middle of a raging sandstorm, where one of its brethren was just violently shot dead less than a minute ago. There's absolutely no justification for why the snake would so determinedly beeline for and attack Snake, but it has to happen for Quiet to die.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The conflict between XOF and the Diamond Dogs seems to be one where both sides are clearly in the wrong, unlike previous entries in the series, where the good guys and bad guys were somewhat more clear. The Diamond Dogs are supposed to be a lighter shade of black, but that doesn't make what they do any less reprehensible. Indeed several of the missions and side-ops taken by Diamond Dogs are straight up assassinations and kidnappings, and other unethical operations. They draw a line on infanticide however.
    • Subverted, however, as Diamond Dogs look like angels compare to those who look like angels compare to XOF
  • Face-Heel Turn: The Phantom Pain shows Big Boss' final steps from well-meaning anti-hero to the Big Bad of the first game.
  • Fake Longevity:
    • Played with with the main missions in Chapter 2. Like in Peace Walker, The Phantom Pain is divided into multiple chapters, each consisting of a set of story missions. Whereas PW featured five chapters consisting of 33 entirely unique missions (with only the Zadornov missions dragging out a bit), TPP has two chapters of 51 missions, with Chapter 2 consisting almost entirely of recycled missions with various arbitrary difficulty modifiers added in. While Subsistence is a substantive change from the norm, and Perfect Stealth is challenging for those who aren't used to it (but enforces a playstyle a fair amount of players will have adopted anyway), Extreme turns enemy capabilities Up to Eleven, ensuring that a single mistake will get you spotted and killed. Unless you abuse the S-Rank disabling items and abilities, these missions are challenging enough...let alone S-Ranking them. While there are still plot missions in between, for some these filler missions can really make the postgame drag. Fortunately, you're not forced to finish those missions to get to the True Ending. Not that the game tells you that.
    • Played straight as an arrow with the mission objectives themselves. The primary objectives for each main mission are always stated to you by both Miller and your iDroid, but the optional objectives (which are necessary for 100% Completion) are shaded out with "????" until you either complete them or finish the mission once, even in the aforementioned recycled missions. If you want the coveted 100% Completion, you have to play the main missions multiple times, not because the optional objectives are necessarily difficult (some of them are quite easy, in fact) but because the game just didn't bother to explain them to you the first time around.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • A hot bikini clad mute sniper girl? Nice. Said hot bikini clad mute sniper girl being tortured with electric rods? Not nice.
      • Not to mention the entire reason she has to wear such revealing attire: in the prologue, she was set on fire TWICE. If not for the parasites put in her, she would have died from the horrific burns, which affected even her lungs. This led to her needing Parasite Therapy, which now has her breathing through her skin. To put any heavy clothing on Quiet would be agonizingly painful for her, akin to putting a plastic bag on someone's head.
    • The Skulls come in both male and female form. Both wear very little and the females have jiggle physics. However, the fact that they are all bald and appear to be cybernetically enhanced corpses makes their appearance horrific.
  • Fantastic Drug:
    • Averted in the hospital sequence. When Ahab first wakes up from his coma, Ishmael injects him with digoxin to get him back on his feet, but it doesn't work as well as he hoped, leaving Ahab to literally crawl after him.
    • Played straight with Noctocyanin and Acceleramin. The former tags enemies in the local vicinity, while the latter artificially induces a Reflex Mode.
  • Fast-Forward Mechanic: Smoking Snake's Phantom Cigar can accelerate time.
  • Fictional Counterpart: The real life firearms that had appeared in prior games have been replaced by fictional ones. For example, Colt guns become Arms Material, Smith & Wesson becomes Windurger, FN becomes UN and so on. The models are combinations of several Real Life firearms. The D114 pistol, for example, substitutes for the M911A1, but takes elements from it, the Browning Hi-Power and the CZ-75 amongst others.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Snake wears a black fingerless glove over his right hand. Quiet has one too.
  • Foil: Skull Face and Code Talker. They come from similar backgrounds but have different stances on everything. Skull Face lost his home and was disfigured by invading military, then taught by his captors to speak a different language and rewrite his entire personality. He seeks to rip the world apart as revenge for corrupting the little Hungarian boy into a mass-murdering sociopath with the parasite known as English, and has no qualms with killing anyone in his way - Hungary is saved for last. For someone who hates invading cultures, he sure hams it out in English. Meanwhile, Code Talker was abducted at a young age and taught how to be an American. His home village has slowly died from oppression, the final insult being the uranium mines in the Dine homeland that suddenly became more precious than gold; the villagers are underequipped and have to deal with the fallout from constant uranium mining, if they aren't strongarmed into doing the mining themselves. Code Talker puts his people first above everything, but deep down he's an American citizen who doesn't want any culture to face genocide, even English. He even likes burgers with chemical additives and works with genetically-modified parasites as a form of nature. Skull Face has a negative view on invasive cultures while Code Talker has a positive (if mostly conservative) view on adapting cultures.
    • Huey ends up being one for his son, Otacon. They're both intelligent, vocal, idealistic and occasionally hammy tech geeks with a cowardly side, a passion for robotics, and a loathing of violence; likewise they both eventually end up being manipulated by villains to develop superweapons. However, whereas Otacon eventually overcomes his cowardice, mistakes and naivete, and genuinely feels remorse for his actions and wants to atone, Huey vehemently denies any wrongdoing on his part, changes sides when the guilt becomes too much (then blames the chaos and destruction as a result of his actions on his former allies) without bothering to change his behavior, goes into outright denial when forced to confront any consequences of his actions, and is more than willing to throw aside loyalty, love, and even family if it furthers his own ends or saves his own skin.
  • Fish Out of Temporal Water: Downplayed. Venom Snake as well as the real Big Boss initially wakes up after nine years in a coma to find himself in The '80s. But thanks to Ocelot filling him in on current events, the nature of Diamond Dogs' operations and the fact that Venom doesn't go to any major hubs of pop culture, he manages to get by.
  • Foreshadowing: Much of the game's foreshadowing points towards the fact that Venom Snake is not Big Boss.
    • When Ishmael and Ahab are escaping from the hospital, The Man on Fire (who is driven by his hatred of Naked Snake) ignores Ahab and stares right at Ishmael.
    • Also, Ishmael speaking with Kiefer Sutherland's voice is not a coincidence.
    • This is key when the Man on Fire realizes Venom isn't the true target of his revenge. He has a vision of Venom as he appeared in the prologue with his milky but intact eye, but Volgin was present when the real Big Boss' eye was destroyed 20 years ago, indicating the discrepancy.
    • Another major bit of this during the hospital escape: if Ahab dies you simply get a mission failed screen. However if Ishmael dies you get the "Time Paradox" message that appears when Naked Snake or Ocelot dies in Snake Eater.
    • Also concerning the Man on Fire at the end of its Side-Op. When it finally gets its hands on Venom, it looks momentarily surprised, then simply lets him go and keels over. This only makes sense if you know that Venom isn't the man that killed Volgin and therefore isn't the target of its revenge.
    • Venom tucks his pants into his boots while wearing fatigues. Big Boss has always had his pants over his boots.
    • Similarly, Venom wears a different style of eyepatch to the real Big Boss.
    • The codenames "Ahab and Ishmael" themselves are big foreshadowing. Ishmael is the first-person narrator in Moby Dick, and the story is about Ahab's struggles to get revenge on the titular whale. But it's not Ahab's story: it's Ishmael's story, starring Ahab. Just like MGSV's is Big Boss' story, starring Venom Snake.
    • At the beginning of Episode 46, there's a flashback set shortly after the events of Ground Zeroes that shows Snake in a Colombian hospital attempting to be revived. They manage to get his heart started again, but unfortunately it puts him in a coma. Miller then asks "what about him?" and nods towards the camera. While this may seem confusing, it's eventually revealed that the camera shots in that scene are actually in the first-person and are from the Medic's perspective. The opening credits are played during the same scene, which has separate billings for Big Boss and Punished "Venom" Snake.
    • Ocelot's subtitle of "A Rival Living A Lie" takes on a double meaning when it's revealed that he hypnotized himself to believe that Venom Snake really is Big Boss. Decades later, he would hypnotize himself again, to become Liquid Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid 4.
    • Ocelot's repeated Info Dump regarding the background information on the previous games also serves the useful purpose of reinforcing the memory alteration the man who became Venom Snake received over 9 years, to ensure that he maintains his new identity as Big Boss.
    • Furthermore, much of Ocelot's dialogue during the escape from Cyprus blatantly foreshadows the fact that Ishmael exists and got away.
    • The reflection in ACC's window when playing as Snake shows the avatar you customized instead of Snake himself.
    • The CQC style of Venom Snake is noticeably different from Naked Snake's established CQC methods of lightning fast grappling and disarmament. Instead, Venom Snake relies on pure overwhelming force, as seen in his haymakers, stomps, and flurries of powerful blows.
    • Ishmael's body movement in general during the hospital escape sequence is pretty similar to the way Big Boss moves in Ground Zeroes.
    • Upon encountering the A.I. Pod, it appears to recognize Venom at first, but then senses that something isn't right. "It's not you... is it?" This is another hint to this Snake's true identity.
    • The rose petals when "Ishmael" first appears. Now, where exactly have we seen THOSE before?
    • When Ocelot and Kaz perform a DNA test on Eli to see if he's part of the Les Enfants Terribles project, the results come up negative. This mean that either Eli really isn't a young Liquid Snake, or Venom isn't actually the real Big Boss. The true ending proves it's the latter.
    • After Venom Snake has visited Paz's room in Mother Base more than once, the player can overhear a conversation between two crew members where they talk about seeing Snake by himself in an empty construction site. This is a hint of Paz's true nature as a hallucination in Venom's mind.
      • There's also a big hint in the first cutscene of that sidequest, as the book on Costa Rican history Paz is reading is authored by Zadornov's Paper-Thin Disguise, Ramón Gálvez Mena.
      • Hell, as soon as the game starts you get a little hint. When 'The Man Who Sold The World' starts playing on the radio it's not the David Bowie original version, it's a cover version.
    • When you initially encounter Huey in Afghanistan during his rescue mission, the hangar where he's working has no guards inside. Granted, the base you have to infiltrate has probably the largest concentration of Soviet soldiers in the entire Afghanistan map, but doesn't it seem a little convenient that a guy supposedly forced to work for Skull Face doesn't have an armed guard at all times?
    • During Mission 43, someone in the Quarantine Facility wrote "mehr licht" ("more light") in blood on the floor of one of the isolation rooms. This hints that the parasites within them are trying to drive them to go outdoors.
  • Follow the Leader: In-universe example. Big Boss and Miller managing to turn MSF, a small private mercenary company into a nuclear superpower inspired the rise of P Fs (Private Forces). According to Miller, a couple of P Fs were founded by surviving members of MSF wanting to mirror Big Boss's success.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Tretij Rebenok's appearance changes from scene to scene, briefly. He's a shell filled with the thoughts of whoever's will fills him the most from moment to moment. His sleeves light on fire when he summons the Man on Fire, he sometimes has Skull Face's domino mask over his own when Skull Face controls him, at one point he's got Venom's horn, and when he's working for Eli he's got the same ribbon tied to his left shoulder. Where this REALLY qualifies for this trope is when Snake is in the Devil's House and Rebenok briefly pauses his assault on Snake to pay attention to the dying Shabani; for a moment, he's wearing Shabani's necklace, then it's gone again the moment Trebenok resumes his attack.

    G-L 
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Normally, between missions you're free to do any other function of the game, such as free roam, send your combat unit out on deployment, etc. When Mother Base is quarantined due to parasitic infection, you're still free to free-roam and do whatever you want, but your people will continue to die until you find a cure. Moreover, you cannot continue deploying your combat unit, since all non-mission-critical personnel are confined to Mother Base.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • After establishing the Combat Unit, you're given the option to play as any generic Diamond Dogs soldiers assigned to it in addition to Snake himself. However, unlike Peace Walker, where dialogue with the Codec support crew changed accordingly when the player controlled an MSF soldier, other characters will still treat the player as if they were controlling Snake, even yelling his name at the Game Over screen. Even the opening credits will still list Snake in the cast roll, regardless of whether the player is actually controlling him or some Diamond Dog soldier.
    • You can develop and give Quiet actual clothes, namely the XOF Unit gear and a Sniper Wolf cosplay, despite the fact that in-story, she'll suffocate if she puts on any sort of clothing beyond her standard stripperific gear. This is especially egregious in [EXTREME] Cloaked In Silence, where she's straight up wearing the Sniper Wolf outfit over her standard gear, even though she should be dying before you even get there.
    • Missions 28-31 are meant to take place back-to-back, but you still return to the ACC after each mission and can roam around doing side-ops.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The launch copies of the game have a bug that can corrupt your save file if you bring Quiet into Mission 29 or Mission 42. The Version 1.03 patch released on 9/14/2015 fixes this issue.
  • Gangsta Style: The XOF troops in the Prologue all hold their SMGs in this style. Justified, however, in that they're wearing hazard masks which would prevent them from lining up the sights normally.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The XOF unit tend to wear gas masks. Justified in that they are protected from the vocal chord parasites this way.
  • Gatling Good: One of the Pequod chopper's upgrades is a mounted minigun that Snake can make use of during infiltration or extraction. You can also use the one mounted on D-Walker.
  • Gratuitous English: The back of Eli's jacket which, has a picture of a pig's head with the phrase "Never Be Game Over" (for some reason).
  • Ground Punch: The Active Sonar upgrade for Snake's prosthetic arm allows him to punch the ground, emitting a shockwave that temporarily reveals nearby living things.
  • Guide Dang It:
    • In order to keep Quiet from leaving Diamond Dogs, you must obtain and wear the Butterfly Emblem. However, this fact is never explained in game, and can only be found in the official strategy guide.
    • The box quick travel system in both the Areas of Operation and on Mother Base is never explained or even mentioned in game (or even in the manual). Not only are Dropoff Points not initially marked on the map, but in the AO, the game also expects you to know that you need to collect a Dropoff Point's Invoice before you can use it.
    • The correct route for the R&D Platform Target Practice is extremely obtuse. The first time you try it, it'll more or less look like the targets are spread out in a completely random fashion.
    • Did you know that tapping the Action Button speeds up lock-picking? None of the loading screen hints mention this, and you get no tutorial the first time you do it.
  • Hallucinations: The subplot of Paz's survival is later revealed to be just Venom's hallucination.
  • Hand Cannon: Several can be developed. It's telling when a .44 Magnum revolver falls in at the lower end of this trope. Shotgun revolvers and grenade launcher pistols can be used by the player. There's also Skull Face's Mare's Leg, which is a sawed-off lever-action rifle.
  • Hate Sink: It's surprising that Huey takes so much levels of Jerkass compared to the previous game that he's actually closer to this trope than Skull Face.
  • Hard Mode Filler: Half of the missions during Chapter 2 are repeats of ones in Chapter 1 with additional conditions indicated by their labels such as "Extreme" (complete the mission in an increased difficulty with no buddies), "Subsistence" (no initial loudout, all weapons must be procured on-site) and "Total Stealth" (game over if discovered).
  • He Who Must Not Be Named: The Red Band trailer is conspicuously mysterious regarding some of the forces opposing Snake. When it gets to the part where everyone's name is revealed with a descriptive subtitle, some of the bad guys — an armored figure in flames (The Man on Fire), a young boy in a gas mask (Tretij Rebenok), and some agile bald techno-ninjas (the Skulls) —do not have a name given at all, just a subtitle that says "Those Who 'Do Not Exist'."
  • Held Gaze: Happens between Venom Snake and Quiet at the end of the rain dance cutscene.
  • Hello, Insert Name Here: Invoked as part of the finale's Wham Shot.
    Back of Picture: Get well soon, [player name]!
    "Vic" Boss
  • Heroic Sacrifice: If you throw a grenade at a group of enemies, sometimes one of them will jump on top of the grenade to save his comrades.
  • Hook Hand: What Snake initially has in place of a left hand after waking up from the coma.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: In several moments.
    • The Man on Fire. You encounter him several times in the game, and in every single one of those times you gotta flee. Only during your final encounter with him in is side-op can he finally be killed.
    • Sahelanthropus. Your first encounter with it is exclusively a hide and seek affair. You can't hurt it or beat it in any way, and must flee to the landing zone.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Visit a certain room on the Medical Platform, marked by a blue light. Surprise! There's Paz! A flashback seems to reveal that Snake in fact had the Medic recheck Paz, and they disposed of the second bomb, the helicopter instead being destabilized by an XOF rocket. Miller and Ocelot explain that she has no memory of being anything other than an average high school girl. As time goes on, and Snake brings her photographs, however, minor discrepancies begin to appear. And when he brings her the final photograph, It's revealed that she was Dead All Along, and simply a hallucination brought about by Venom Snake's guilt over not finding the second bomb after all. However, Venom Snake does get some closure, as the hallucination of Paz helps him to move on, and to carry her memory in his heart.
    • Mission 43 has one man seemingly uninfected with the parasite, just one among dozens Snake wouldn't have to Mercy Kill... but nope, turns out he's been infected too. It just makes the entire ordeal even harder on you than it has been.
    • Mission 45 A Quiet Exit. After a brutal Hold the Line against waves of enemy troops, armored vehicles, tanks, and a gunship, Snake and Quiet are wounded, leading to a tense sneaking session through a thick sandstorm littered with enemies, and with the player critically injured and having lost their weaponry. One wrong move is death. Finally, they reach the LZ, Pequod's inbound...and Snake is bitten by a venomous snake, leaving him unconscious and on the verge of death, leaving Quiet with no choice but to...well, see the mission title.
  • Horned Humanoid: After getting a piece of shrapnel lodged in his forehead in just the right way, Snake becomes one of a sort.
  • Horseback Heroism:
    • Ocelot extracts Snake with seconds to spare and manages to outrun The Man On Fire who begins causing a colossal forest fire in his attempt to hunt them down.
    • You can also do this for POWs if you have D-Horse and you want to carry them out.
  • How We Got Here: The opening scene is set in "just another day in a war without end: Outer Heaven", in a room with a cassette tape labeled "From the Man Who Sold the World", amidst sounds of explosions and gunfire. In the true end, we get to hear Big Boss' final message to Venom from the tape and learn that it (and thus, the opening scene) is set during the events of Metal Gear 1, making the entirety of The Phantom Pain a flashback episode.
  • Humiliation Conga: What Huey suffers. And it's incredibly satisfying. The most satisfying part of it is at the end where he's forced to keep the boat he's on afloat by dumping his precious robotic legs overboard, crippling him once more.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Zigzagged. Unlike past games, when it comes to weapons Snake no longer carries a limitless amount of them on his person. Instead, the actual amount of firearms he can carry has been reduced to realistic proportions, One shoulder-mounted heavy weapon (Which can be a Sniper Rifle, Heavy Machinegun, Rocket Launcher, or Riot Shield), one hip-holstered primary weapon (A choice between an Assault Rifle, Grenade Launcher or Shotgun) and one sub weapon (Pistol, or Submachinegun). However, he can still carry an improbable amount of support items all at once.note  Snake can still swap gear just like Old Snake in Metal Gear Solid 4, but it costs GMP to deploy and isn't instant. Somewhat subverted in that deploying with this much gear tends to be very taxing on your resources, and equally taxing when requesting resupplies of ammo and suppressors, thus encouraging players to only bring what they really need.
  • Hypocrite: By the end of the game, Big Boss has firmly cemented himself as one. That is to say, the original Big Boss, and not Venom Snake. After defecting from the Patriots for cloning him without his consent for the purpose of making the ultimate soldier, he does the exact same thing to one of his own men by means of robbing him of his past identity in order to turn him into a body double. Through this, he goes back on his beliefs about letting soldiers live for themselves and he instead becomes the kind of manipulator that he started his private military to get away from.
  • Ignore the Fan Service: If Quiet's buddy bond score is high enough, she will begin posing seductively in front of Snake while in the Airborne Command Center. Snake, however, never visibly reacts to it.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Quiet is perfectly capable of sniping an airborne grenade into a helicopter to blow it up. And in her recruitment cutscene, she saves Snake's life by taking out an incoming fighter jet by sniping the pilot. While sitting in a moving chopper, while the jet was performing evasive maneuvers under gatling gun fire.
  • Improbably Quick Coma Recovery: Handwaved through an explanation, but when Snake comes out of a nine-year Coma at the start of the game, he only needs about twenty minutes to recover and be back in fighting shape.
  • Infant Immortality: Subverted. Killing any child soldier, even if he's an enemy combatant, will result in an instant mission failure. Aside from Shabani, the only time a child soldier dies occurs off-screen after Snake returns to Mother Base from mission.
  • Insistent Terminology: The scientist who built Venom Snake's prosthetic arm repeatedly insists that there is a distinction between his field, bionics, and robotics, as most people seem to conflate the two fields.
  • Instant-Win Condition: Mission 22 ends as soon as you eliminate Mosquito, the commander of the PF that has taken over Mother Base. However, given the circumstances, you are strongly encouraged to Take Your Time and complete as many objectives as possible before triggering it.
  • Interface Spoiler: EVERY mission in the game has opening "credits" that showcase who (in-universe) will be showing up. Among other things, this will conveniently tell you when you can expect a run-in with the Skulls.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Players have the option of starting a mission ASAP, at 6am or 6pm. The Phantom Cigar allows for time to skip should players decide to go a day or night infiltration.
  • Ironic Echo: Skull Face's true plan is in essence a twisted version of the Boss' will, using the language of nukes, Metal Gears and parasites to make the world whole.
    "The chain of retaliation will be what truly binds this world together!"
    • Also, early on in the game, Ocelot is shown commenting on the impractical engravings on a gun owned by a Diamond Dog recruit - almost exactly mirroring what Snake said to Ocelot during Virtuous Mission, almost 20 years prior. It's a subtle way to show just how much more badass Ocelot had become since then.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Miller subjects Huey and Quiet to some pretty horrific torture, believing that the former is a coward and a traitor who sold MSF out and will try and sell Diamond Dogs out at the nearest opportunity, and the latter as a infiltrator who was sent specifically to kill everyone in Mother Base from the inside. He's proven right on both counts.
    • Huey himself arguably. While it's more a case of Never My Fault, and trying to excuse his betrayal of MSF, it's hard to dispute his point that having a nuclear-equipped private mercenary army was not a good idea and was always likely to attract unwanted attention.
  • Just a Machine: Huey says this of the AI Pod recovered from Peace Walker; however it turns out to be a little bit smarter than he gave it credit for...
  • Justified Tutorial: Considering Snake has been in a coma for nine years by the beginning of The Phantom Pain, and is thrown directly into a life-or death situation with no rehabilitation or physiotherapy, it's understandable that he needs to get used to his body again, and does not have the muscle mass necessary to engage in any sort of combat whatsoever.
  • Karma Meter: Heroism is still present, and the game now introduces its antithesis, the unspoken "Demon Points". The former is increased by doing heroic actions, such as clearing outposts, finishing Main OPS and Side OPS, and succeeding in Dispatch Missions. If you have higher Heroism, you'll get higher quality volunteers, and at 150,000 Heroism, you'll gain the "Hero" status, which lets you infiltrate nuclear-armed FOBs. Conversely, Demon Points are accumulated when you do morally wrong actions, such as killing soldiers, destroying your own chopper, or using fire damage to kill soldiers, friendly troops, or prisoners. At certain thresholds, the shrapnel in Snake's head will extend in length to that of a horn, and eventually, Snake will become completely covered with blood that's impossible to shower off.
  • Keystone Army: Averted. Skull Face's death does nothing to stop the XOF - and Cipher in general from continuing its operations in time becoming incorporated into the Patriots' system.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: They don't know it at the time but all the mistreatment Huey receives is very much deserved when you find out all the moral lines he's been crossing in the interval.
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • The Petrol Bomb, which is essentially a glorified Molotov Cocktail, will ignite the ground it lands at and set enemies aflame, quickly killing them.
    • You can equip D-Walker with a flamethrower.
    • The Man on Fire.
  • Killed Off for Real: Averted. Kojima originally stated a dead buddy would be dead for good, but in the game, buddies are simply fultoned out in critical condition if they take too much damage, and can actually be instantly re-summoned to the battlefield (as long as you have the GMP to request them being dropped off.)
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: The game encourages you to steal anything that isn't nailed down from enemy outposts. Upgrading the Fulton Recovery System sufficiently allows you to steal the stuff that is nailed down.
  • Language Equals Thought: A major theme of the game. Skull Face explains that he lost his mother tongue, and he changed when he learned different languages. The game is set in 1984, a reference to the novel and it's Newspeak. Snake has to capture interpreters in order to understand Enemy Chatter, and quite a bit of said chatter is about languages. Finally, the game's Applied Phlebotinum is a parasite that can turn entire languages into Brown Notes. Skull Face's Evil Plan is to use the parasites to kill off the English language.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The surreal second ending, where Venom realizes he used to be the "avatar" you created at the start of the game, punches through a mirror into another world where there is an un-mirrored version of himself wearing his very first uniform, and he receives a tape detailing the 1995 Operation Intrude N313 mission while still apparently in 1984note ; You the player are Big Boss's phantom, and you will continue his legacy by playing the other games in the series, even if the original creators have now left.
  • Leave the Camera Running: Venom Snake and Skull Face share a very uncomfortable long jeep ride near the end of Mission 30. Thankfully, the game treats it like a cutscene despite it being a fully interactive setpiece, so it can be skipped on repeat playthroughs.
  • Lethal Joke Item: The Water Pistol has far more tactical uses than initially presented. If you fire it at the ground near a guard, the guard will go investigate, but the shot won't leave a trace. If you shoot it in a guard's face, they'll become disoriented for a few seconds, enough time to KO them with a good throw. If you shoot it at sensitive electronics like the power supply, they'll short-circut, but without the usual sounds of gunfire. If you shoot it at the campfires at night, they'll go out, allowing you more darkness to sneak through. If you use it against The Man on Fire, you can eventually defeat him with repeated water shots. It also lets you perform hold-ups, as it looks like a real gun. The icing on the cake? It has infinite ammo, being water and all, allowing you to do all of these things without stopping for a supply drop.
  • Lost Forever: Averted as stated above with all four buddies, only having them fultoned out if they're seriously injured. Quiet will eventually leave Diamond Dogs once Episode 45 is unlocked, and after the mission ends, she leaves Diamond Dogs, removing access to her unique skills or equipment for the rest of the game unless the player decides to reset their save file.
    • Note that Quiet's departure only occurs if you max out her bond. If you avoid doing that, by either never using her or deliberately attacking her to lower the bond, she won't leave, as long as you never let it hit max after the relevant point in the story. Equipping the butterfly emblem will also prevent Quiet's departure from occuring.
    • The Version 1.06 patch added the ability recover Quiet, by replaying Episode 11 seven times. On the seventh replay, the mission will be tagged "Reunion" and Quiet can be brought back to Mother Base again if she is extracted alive.
  • Lost in Translation: Snake yells "haidara!" when he uses the Hand of Jehuty. This was Ken Marinaris' battle cry in Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner... except it was never used in the English dub of the game. The battle cry was also one of the multiplayer phrase that could be used in Peace Walker.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Snake can take a horse and a badass wolf into battle with him.

    M-R 
  • Made of Explodium: It turns out that this particular Metal Gear doesn't have a nuke. It is a nuke. Its armor is made of depleted uranium and it's armed with metallic archaea that would break down and enrich it into weapons-grade uranium. While it's very deadly in regular combat it has one hell of a potential self-destruct.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • Quiet is all about this trope. When she's first obtained, she's by far the most useless of all the buddies. She's hard to use, has to be manually deployed and repositioned, is slow to attack, uses an unsuppressed and lethal sniper that broadcasts her location (and sometimes yours) to everyone in the vicinity, and has a nasty tendency to shoot indiscriminately to anyone that discovers you, even high-stat soldiers you were trying to extract alive. Take the time to raise your bond with her however, and not only do you unlock the "Cover Me" command, but also unlock her silenced tranq sniper. Once she has these two together, she can basically play the game for you. Just deploy her to a vantage spot overlooking whatever village or outpost you plan to attack, issue the Cover Me command and watch her mercilessly tranq every living soul in just under 2 minutes. This comic sums it all up.
    • The Stun Arm. It's a replacement for your prosthetic arm that uses a kinetically-charged internal battery to power a high-voltage electrical shock. At Grades 2 and 3, the Stun Arm is all but useless beyond taking out vehicles or bears, as it requires you to be within CQC range of the target, has an audible charging noise that attracts guards, and once used, takes an excruciatingly long time to recharge the battery. However, at Grade 4, it gets the very lengthy Level 3 charge. While this eats the entire battery charge at once and takes significant time to charge (in lieu of ten seconds), activating it causes Snake to shout and call a lightning strike that instantly neutralizes any guard standing within 45 meters of Snake, regardless of any armor or obstacles such as ceilings and walls. Its stun time, normally pitifully short, also gets a massive upgrade at Level 3, lasting even longer than a KO punch. While its charge time makes it Too Awesome to Use in most cases, standing in just the right place allows you to take out entire swaths of guards and capture outposts in one fell swoop.
    • While all of the other buddies have abilities that they gain with an increase in bond level, D-Walker requires significant financial investment before it can be useful as anything but a walking minigun turret.
  • Manly Tears: If the game is played on the player's birthday, the Diamond Dogs will throw a surprise birthday party for Snake. When this happens, Snake is so touched that he actually tears up a little.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The Diamond Dogs. TPP is set in 1984. Anyone who knows anything about David Bowie will immediately pick up the connection.
    • The meaning behind Code Talker's name is twofold. First, it refers to the fact that he helped the US create the code talker's codebook in World War II. However, it actually refers to the fact that he was forced to encode different languages into the vocal cord parasites by feeding them other languages.
  • Meaningful Rename: Snake goes by the new codename of "Venom Snake" after he wakes up from the coma and decides to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Microtransactions:
    • You can purchase MB Coins with real money if acquiring Login Bonuses to get them feels too slow. MB Coins can then be used to purchase new FOBs, relocate existing FOBs, or instantly finish Online Dispatch Missions.
    • You can buy FOB Insurance if you don't like intruders pinching your belongings. Having FOB Insurance prevents you from losing staff or resources to intruders, and instead gives an identical supply to the intruder if they stole any.
  • Mini-Mecha: The D-Walker, a heavily armed Buddy that Snake can utilize to detect and exterminate foes. Enemies can also acquire Walker Gears, which aren't nearly as nice as D-Walker but are just as efficient at killing their enemies. In other words, you.
  • Mind Screw: The prologue mission. The true ending, which is gained by playing an alternate cut of the mission, serves as its Mind Screwdriver.
    • One that note: Paz, in the med room. She's alive! Then you show her some pictures and then she tears out the bomb in her body before it explodes. Then you wake up and try to catch a Butterfly of Death and Rebirth that isn't there. Then you listen to Paz's tapes, and in the last one she tells you you're dreaming everything up.
  • Misaimed Fandom: In-universe, when Snake can overhear two Soviet soldiers discuss how one got his hands on a copy of 1984, and though he can only read a little of the English, it seems to be a Utopian novel about how communism has eventually been adopted globally. The other soldier reminds him that as the author was an Englishmen, the communists are probably not supposed to be the good guys.
  • Moby Schtick: There are a lot of Moby-Dick references: Ahab, Ishmael, a giant whale on fire. Interestingly, Big Boss's quest for revenge actually succeeds, since they kill Skull Face. Things only get real bad after that happens, partly because the real Big Boss' need for revenge means he never learns the truth about Zero.
  • Mood Dissonance: The E3 2013 trailer triumphantly proclaims "Snake is Back" with "Sins of the Father" playing at the background while cutting to a scene of Snake putting Chico in a stranglehold and gunning down a group of caged African peasants. Subverted in a case of Never Trust a Trailer due to the scenes taking place out of context. Snake putting Chico in a stranglehold was to calm him down and prevent the guards from hearing them. He's there to save him, not kill him. The scene of him shooting towards a group of caged African children was also taken out of context. Snake was sent to assassinate them, he chooses to rescue them and fake their deaths.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • The showstopper "Sins Of The Father" was expected to play at an extremely climactic moment in the story, similarly to how Peace Walker's "Heaven's Divide" played at the end of the last mission before the Final Boss of the main campaign. Instead, it plays... during a car ride where nothing else happens for two minutes straight while Venom Snake and Skull Face awkwardly look at each other.
    • Setting a song for your helicopter to play results in it playing literally any time it does anything, meaning you can rock out to Rebel Yell as you do such exciting things as casually board your chopper after a stealth mission or arrive at Mother Base for a shower.
  • Mundane Utility: So, you're part of the Diamond Dogs R&D department and you've managed to make a wormhole-based Portal Network. How do you use this amazing technology? Why, by upgrading the Fulton Recovery System so you can use it indoors, of course!
  • Mutually Assured Destruction: The point of developing nukes in Chapter 2. They can't be used, but as long as you're holding onto one, no one short of players possessing the "Hero" status is capable of infiltrating your FOB, ever. However, developing a nuke deals a massive blow to your Heroism, clocking in at a -50,000 Heroism deduction, and if you haven't already acquired Demon Snake, it instantly transforms Snake into Demon Snake. Conversely, disposing of ten enemy nukes makes your Heroism skyrocket, banking +30,000 Heroism and dropping your Demon Points by -30,000.
  • Mythology Gag
    • The "phantom cigar" introduced in this entry causes the opposite effect that the cigarettes had in the original Metal Gear. Whereas the cigarettes in the original Metal Gear extends the time limit during the final escape sequence, the phantom cigar causes time to go by faster.
    • Quiet's introduction at Mother Base is meant to parallel Snake's infiltration of the Tanker in MGS2.
    • Once again, you can mail yourself as a cardboard box as a method of transportation.
    • Many of the clothing items you can unlock are direct references to previous games:
      • Defeating Quiet in Extreme Mode unlocks her Sniper Wolf costume.
      • The Cyborg Ninja and Raiden costumes give players improved sprint speed.
      • The Bandana and Infinity Bandana are both references to The Boss. The description for the Bandana even mentions that it was dredged out of Lake Nicaragua, the same lake where Peace Walker drowned itself, and where Snake threw the Bandana after rejecting The Boss's second sacrifice.
      • D-Dog, when his buddy bond is maxed out, can be customized to look like the dog from the FOXHOUND logo, and can even carry a knife in his mouth when wearing his sneaking suit.
    • The Decoys can be seen as a throwback to the mannequins in Zanzibar Building dressed as enemy soldiers in Metal Gear 2.
    • Enemy soldiers in Areas of Operation cannot be interrogated without an interpreter. This is also a throwback to Metal Gear 2 when Snake needed Natasha/Gustava's help to communicate with Dr. Marv, since Marv only spoke in Czech.
    • The words that the player can use for their unit's emblem are mostly based on names of characters, items, places and organizations that appeared throughout the mainline series, which even include the names of enemy bosses from the MSX2 versions of the first two Metal Gear games such as Shoot Gunner and Black Color (as opposed to the retconned names used in the mobile phone/Subsistence versions). Most of these are unlocked by simply capturing outposts and enemy bases in areas of operations, but some require the player to achieve special tasks within the game. For example, all the Cobra-related words (i.e. Joy, Fury, Sorrow, ect.) are unlocked when the player has achieved Hero status in Chapter 2.
    • Subsistence missions in Chapter 2 are a throwback to the earlier games in the series prior to MGS4, disabling Reflex Mode, the ability to call in support helicopters, fire support, and supply drops, and forcing the player to find everything through On-Site Procurement.
    • Some of the camoflage patterns available for Snake's fatigues have the logos of the various organizations he worked for (FOX, MSF or Diamond Dogs) subliminally drawn on them. The APD camo in particular has sprite rips of Solid Snake crawling and a few Zanzibarland soldiers from Metal Gear 2.
  • Necessary Drawback: Everything costs money, even basic combat necessities like showing up and deploying with weapons. Fulton recovery requires a modest amount of GMP for every attempt and resources, raw or unprocessed, need to be harvested in the field before your base's economy sets itself up. All the best weapons and items in the game cost additional resources to be used. D-Walker, in particular, is a gigantic money sink. In short, to use the best toys, be prepared to pay for 'em.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • Many of the trailers feature scenes that never appeared in the final game. The GDC 2013 trailer in particular ends with a shot of Venom Snake wearing a leather jacket and smoking a cigar before riding off in his bike. The scene actually occurs at the end of Episode 46 in the final game, but with the real Big Boss instead of Venom.
    • In one of the last trailers before release, Code Talker ominously states "Skullface wants to become a nuclear power." Besides being obviously spliced together using pieces of different lines, it's outright misleading about the villain's motivations.
    • The game's press heavily emphasizes that this game will set Big Boss on his road for a Protagonist Journey to Villain. This does not happen with your player character Venom Snake, who doesn't have many dark moments at all himself, and instead is this regarding others who abandon him anyway and turn good (Miller in particular). While Big Boss does do this, it's nearly entirely off screen and only comes up in cassette tapes, a single cutscene, and The Stinger.
    • One trailer implied that Snake and Skull Face would end up working together. Instead, this scene depicts Snake having being captured by Skull Face.
  • New Old West: Evoked: Snake hooks up with Ocelot, who is by now in full cowboy mode, and the two of them ride horses into Afghanistan, with a rugged, rocky terrain often seen in many a Western movie.
    • Skull Face's outfit in the game along with his level-action rifle makes him resemble an authority figure from a western film.
  • Nintendo Hard: Infiltrating high rank FOBs with any number of guards of 18 or higher is an incredibly daunting task, especially if you intend on not getting seen. Doubly so if the defender decides to make an appearance, as he/she has a much wider range of weaponry and isn't hampered by guard AI handicaps such as lowered accuracy.
  • No Cutscene Inventory Inertia: Regardless of what the player brings with them, Snake will always use the MRS-4 carbine and AM-D114 pistol in cutscenes. In mission 45, Quiet will toss Snake a GROM-11, even if he's carrying something better.
  • No Ending: While Chapter 1 does have a proper finale, Chapter 2 doesn't really have an ending. The game wraps up with a few different, unrelated missions that, while climactic in themselves, don't really have much to do with the rest of the plot and have little buildup. Most notable with the true final mission, which is simply an extended flashback to the opening that could have conceivably happened at any point in the game.
  • Non Standard Game Over: There are several instances of this:
    • If Ishmael gets killed during the prologue.
    • Obviously, any time an escortee dies, it's Game Over. Optional prisoners don't count against this, but a prisoner's death, regardless of cause, severely hurts your Heroism rating.
    • While the very first mission doesn't have a visible time limit, if the player takes too long to reach Miller's whereabouts (or abuses the Phantom Cigar too much), he will already be dead by the time Snake gets there, triggering an automatic mission failure.
    • Killing your own Mother Base staff or any of the Child Soldiers nets you a Game Over screen, along with a scathing What the Hell, Hero? from Ocelot or Miller, respectively.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: One of the African missions involves rescuing a British man known only as 'The Viscount' and optionally three other British prisoners from Afrikaners who treat them inordinately harshly due to the actions of the British Empire. Despite their nationality being so important to the mission's story, all four of the prisoners speak with pronounced American accents, and one of them can't even pronounce 'Viscount' correctly (It's Vie-count, not Viz-count).
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: This being Metal Gear, this is all but given, seeing as how various characters react to Skull Face's ultimate plans over the course of the story. Also, for the first time, you can build your own Nuke, which protects your FOB from all but the most Heroic of players, but also comes with a hefty Demon Points penalty, which is roughly equivalent to "bad karma". Not to mention the eradication of all player-controlled Nukes on a server is paramount to unlocking the secret third ending.
  • Old Save Bonus: Bonuses from Ground Zeroes can be imported into a new game of The Phantom Pain - notably, any living prisoner and unique soldier Snake extracts in the former become additional Mother Base staff members in the latter. On top of that, the sneaking suit Snake wears in Ground Zeroes will carry over and having a 100% completion rate will unlock a golden prosthetic.
  • On-Site Procurement: Subsistence Mode missions require Snake to drop into enemy territory with nothing but the outfit on his back. Anything he wants to use must be poached off soldiers and guard posts. Furthermore, any weapons taken from enemies will only have a single magazine of ammunition, or in the case of rocket launchers, a single shot, meaning that the player will need to be thrifty with their ammo if they are going to use it or be good with stealth and CQC.
  • One Name Only: Every former MSF member (namely Mosquito from Episode 22 and all the soldiers extracted from "Wandering Mother Base Soldier" side-ops) who join Diamond Dogs will only have a one word animal codename - just like soldiers in Peace Walker - instead of the usual two all the DD crew will have.
  • Once More with Clarity: The final mission, "Truth - The Man Who Sold the World", is a repeat of the hospital escape from the beginning of the game, minus the fight with the Man on Fire. However, two things are changed: First, it's revealed that Ahab is actually the MSF medic who operated on Paz in Ground Zeroes, whose face was changed so that he would become Venom, Big Boss's Body Double. Second, it shows where Ishmael went after the ambulance crash: he, revealed to be the true Big Boss, met with Ocelot prior to Ahab regaining consciousness, and was given the identity of the medic so that he could escape to America as discreetly as possible.
  • One-Hit Kill: Several examples. Headshots with most guns will take a target down instantly, assuming they're not wearing a helmet. Snake and D-Dog's CQC throat slit is an instant kill, regardless of circumstances. Bears and wild dogs show up ingame, and if they knock you down, they can go for an instant kill on you; you can fight off the dogs with Quick Time Events, but if a bear manages to knock you off your feet, you're as good as dead. Late in the game, in Chapter 2, many of the repeat missions feature enemies with the unique ability to deliver these; one hit, anywhere, with any weapon, kills you, no questions asked.
  • One-Hit Polykill: A sniper rifle with a high enough penetration can potentially pierce multiple guards simultaneously and kill them all, especially if you land headshots. Due to how accuracy is graded, it's possible to get an accuracy rating of higher than 100% by doing this.
  • Origin Story: An incredibly significant instance, acting as the final part in Big Boss' Start of Darkness. As an added series twist, The Phantom Pain is actually the origin story of the Big Boss from Metal Gear 1, who is revealed to be a separate entity in the ending: the Player Character is actually the Medic from the conclusion of Ground Zeroes. Grievously injured shielding Big Boss from Paz's detonation, he awoke without any memory and was made into doppelgänger "Venom Snake" as a protective measure for Big Boss. Following the hospital escape, Big Boss takes the medic's identity, doing so to create Outer Haven under the radar whilst everyone was looking at Venom Snake and Diamond Dogs. As such, Venom Snake is the "Big Boss" killed in the finale of Metal Gear 1, with the real Big Boss acting as the final boss in Metal Gear 2 and secondary antagonist in the Solid games.
    • This game also serves as an origin for Liquid Snake and Psycho Mantis, as well as the start of their partnership (expanded on in deleted content).
  • Or Was It a Dream?: Snake keeps wondering during his escape form the hospital if he's hallucinating or actually being haunted by demons of his past. Given what he sees, it's hard to blame him.
  • Our Wormholes Are Different: Eventually, you can develop a replacement for the Fulton Recovery System, the Wormhole Teleportation System. This generates a wormhole above whatever you're transporting and pulls it in, taking it to Mother Base in a snap. Not only is it immune to gunfire, it can also be used indoors, unlike the Fulton balloons.
  • Out of the Inferno: Ahab and Ishmael get caught in an explosion, only for them to encounter a ghostly Volgin walking out of the inferno.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic:
    • In Episode 11, Quiet can be defeated with two Supply Drops. This is facilitated by the fact that she basically sits still most of the time, ensuring that she'll almost always get hit. The box also deals half her Stamina in STN Damage. Notably, this doesn't work in the Extreme version of the fight, where she wises up and jumps if a box appears over her head.
    • Depending on your playstyle, the iDroid's speaker attachment can be this. Normally, it attracts enemies to your position when you play music, which is generally unwanted. However, if you acquire extra tapes, you can use them in a variety of unusual ways. For example, the "Afghan Lullaby" tape causes Soviet guards to fall asleep on the spot. "Love Deterrence" pacifies normally aggressive wandering Mother Base soldiers. One tape even has a recording of a soldier taking a dump on the toilet, and playing it while hiding inside a port-a-potty makes it so guards will never look for you there, even if they're searching for you.
    • Another easy way to get the wandering Mother Base soldiers? Walk in front of them in a cardboard box. They'll immediately recognize that its Big Boss and let you Fulton them without argument.
    • Normally children cannot be extracted through Fulton until the player has unlocked the required upgrade, which only becomes available after completing the "Eli's Challenge" side-op very late in Chapter 1. However, if you already have the cargo upgrade (which becomes available much earlier), you can just knock the kids unconscious and place them on a 4WD (which can hold up to three passengers), extracting them by proxy. On top of that, the wormhole upgrade has most of the regular fulton upgrades, meaning that you can circumvent the child upgrade.
  • Pacifist Run: Although not as enforced due to kills not penalizing in this installment, finishing a mission without killing anyone grants a small score bonus, and doing so without getting spotted nets a massive score bonus. For the first time since the first Solid game, a complete pacifist run is no longer possible. There are a few missions where the player will have to kill enemies.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
  • Pet the Dog: Almost literally: Snake and Ocelot's reactions to D.D. the wolfdog qualify as this, quite clearly caring for the animal. See Canine Companion above.
  • Playable Epilogue: The main plot actually wraps up with Mission 31. This begins "Episode 2", which consists of more difficult versions of existing missions as well as individual epilogues for many of the characters. This culminates in the True Ending...which still isn't the last mission. It might as well be though, since the missions after that are just more repeats.
  • Player Mooks: Much like in Peace Walker, the player can control other Diamond Dogs operatives in addition to Snake himself. Unlike their MSF counterparts, who usually wore masks during gameplay (except when they wore tuxedos or swimsuits) and only had individual faces for their portraits, DD soldiers can be played unmasked.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The Game. Several things would not happened had anyone actually tried to prevent certain events from happening. Had Big Boss explained to Kaz why he had to cut him off, Kaz wouldn't side with Solid Snake in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. If Quiet and Venom Snake shared a common tongue outside of English, she wouldn't have left to die in the desert. Had Venom Snake or Big Boss talked to Eli, he wouldn't hold a very massive grudge against him in Metal Gear Solid. The Phantom Pain is a big example of this trope.
  • Posthumous Character: Dr. Strangelove, who was killed by Huey Emmerich sometime between six months and a year before Snake wakes up from his coma. Her voice actor is still listed prominently in the opening credits, the corpse becomes a critical part of a late-game cutscene, and you hear a lot of her in collectible tapes.
  • Precision F-Strike: Courtesy of Miller when Venom Snake is trapped in the Devil's House with the Man on Fire in hot pursuit.
  • Pre-Order Bonus
    • The "Day One Edition" of the game came with a blue urban camo fatigues, a wetlands cardboard box, a silver ballistic shield and the Adam-Ska Special, an AKA47'ed version of the Custom 1911 from the previous games, as well as bonus XP for multiplayer. The Collector's Edition, which is PS4 and Xbox One exclusive, comes with several weapons, boxes, camos and shields as well as the multiplayer bonus XP, a physical game map, golden guns for multiplayer use, an emblem of Venom Snake's face from the boxart and a replica of his mechanical arm.
    • Additionally, pre-ordering the game in Japan would've gotten players bonus staff members for their Mother Base, which varied depending on the retailer. These consisted of four pairs (a male and a female), each distinguished by a wild hair color (green, yellow, white and red) and a face tattoo of a special forces organizations from the series (namely FOXHOUND, FOX, MSF and Diamond Dogs).
  • Primal Fear: Being helpless and unable to move properly, losing parts of your body, and being relentlessly hunted are all common themes in nightmares.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain. Played with and ultimately subverted. As this isn't the story about how Big Boss becomes a villain, which many were lead to believe. It's the story about how an unknown Medic becomes the fake Big Boss, Venom Snake, while the real Big Boss goes into hiding. However, he does turns out to be the Big Boss whom Solid Snake kills in the original Metal Gear.
  • Put on a Bus: Amanda stayed behind in Nicaragua, which has finally reached the liberation she sought, and where she's seen as a national hero. She doesn't play any role in the events of Phantom Pain although she's noted to be sad that Chico couldn't be there to see the fruits of their struggle.
    • It's stated that Cecile went back to her home country after the events of the previous game. Outside of that, she isn't mentioned at all.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: It's possible to find former MSF staff in the wilderness to reintegrate into Diamond Dogs. And one way to win them back is playing "Love Deterrence" on the iDroid.
  • Puzzle Boss: The Man on Fire, at The Devil's House. As he's invulnerable to damage and will return any damage you attempt to do to him, you need to exploit his one weakness. Miller gives you some hints toward the solution, but it's up to you to figure out that you need to destroy the water towers.
    • This particular boss fight has multiple solutions. Another way is to use a shotgun to knock him into the pool.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Snake will punch the mirror in the shower room if you watch the Secret Ending, revealing another Venom Snake on the other side. At least he does it with his prosthetic left hand so as not to damage his remaining organic arm.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Miller (red) and Ocelot (blue) can come across as this whenever they share Mission Control duties, especially when it comes to deciding whether or not to kill Quiet after her Boss Battle.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Snake needs to shower off every once in a while, not only to relieve himself of stress, but also to keep himself clean. Going without a shower too long has detrimental effects, including making you smell extremely bad, among other things.
    • Mixed in with a bit of foreshadowing, Ishmael shows a distinctive grunt while fighting off Quiet, revealing himself for a brief moment to be Big Boss. As it's difficult to keep up a false voice when fighting for one's own life.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The name Code Talker seems to be derided as silly Gratuitous English, but it's a real codename.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: Sahelanthropus can toss an explosive charge that turns the sky an extremely deep red. This makes it difficult to see far distances, but Night Vison Goggles help with this immensely.
  • Retraux: The unlockable Solid Snake and Cyborg Ninja costumes are based on their low-polygon character models from MGS1.
    • "A Phantom Pain", one of the game's main themes, is done in the style of a 1980s song à la David Bowie and a-ha.
  • Relationship Values: The more missions you do with a buddy, the higher your "bond" rating with them becomes. Increasing your bond score with a buddy unlocks additional skills and equipment for them. In order to unlock Mission 45, you need to have a maxed-out bond score with Quiet.
  • The Reveal: You're not playing as Big Boss. You're the medic with his appearance and memories.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Snake and Diamond Dogs' motivations are very much about vengeance. Depending on how one plays the game, this can also be literal with a lot of blood spilled.
  • Rocket Punch: Two alternate forms of Snake's prosthetic arm gives it a rocket and a mounted camera, allowing him to fire it at enemies. One deals STN Damage on hit, while the other deals lethal damage on hit. Snake even calls his rocket punch on occasion.
    Snake: Rocket... Puuuuunch!
  • Rule of Cool: The Level 3 Stun Arm. Takes forever to charge up, consumes your Stun Arm's entire battery gauge (which also takes forever to charge), but you get to call a freaking lightning strike.

    S-Z 
  • Save Scumming: Can be used to a much greater extent than in Ground Zeroes. While restarting from a checkpoint still forfeits your "No Restarts" bonus, you are no longer penalized for multiple restarts. If the area ahead is difficult and you're gunning for the huge "Perfect Stealth, No Kills" bonus, then feel free to restart as many times as necessary.
  • Schizo Tech: Par the course for a Metal Gear game, the level of tech displayed in TPP for the time (1984) is ridiculous. Bipedal infantry size walkers, advanced helicopter gunship/transports, weaponized parasites and metal eating bacteria, wormhole technology all appear alongside typical 1980s equipment. Special mention has to go the iDroid, whose capabilities include: being able to project a holographic, rotatable map of areas with real-time information updating, being able to project a holographic flame to light the Phantom Cigar, interface with tape players to play audio logs and music tapes, can scan paper documents in their entirety and upload the entire information to its memory and transmit if necessary, all at impressive speeds.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • Played with in Mission 6. Your objective is to secure a Super Prototype rocket launcher, the Honey Bee, with the ammo intact. Once you've acquired it, Miller calls you to remind you not to use it under any circumstances, and will yell at you if you do so anyway. However, a few minutes later when Big Boss is captured and surrounded by an army of Skulls, Ocelot concedes that using the Honey Bee is probably the best way of clearing a path to escape. However, not using the Honey Bee earns you the "Beekeeper" achievement and gets you the full reward at the end.
    • If you get the bright idea to use the Water Pistol against The Man on Fire, Miller will call you to tell you that it's insufficient for defeating him. However, you can defeat The Man on Fire with the Water Pistol if you're persistent enough.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: The Phantom Pain is a lot less difficult than Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. Enemies don't constantly respawn during the alert phase, your upgradeable and customisable weapons will pack more punch with enough investment, different uniforms and prosthetic arms will provide extra benefits, support from Mother Base can provide you with extra ammo and fire support, the Fulton system can clear out battlefields without having to run for the chopper constantly and support buddies can help you mark and defeat enemies more easily. That aside, the conditions for S-ranking a mission are a lot less stringent; It's entirely possible to S-rank a mission by going in guns blazing if you're quick enough.
  • Sequence Breaking: It's possible to destroy the Soviet comm center in free roam before players are given the mission to do so. So when players later start Mission 4, Ocelot will cut off Miller's briefing in the chopper and the mission complete screen will come up.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: Effectively turned Ground Zeroes into one. Chico died in the helicopter crash at the end of the game and Paz turns out to be a hallucination, and that she really did die, which rendered the entire rescue mission for both of them a sad waste of time.
  • Shock and Awe: An electrical stun weapon is available again in this game, this time in the form of an upgrade for Snake's prosthetic arm.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: With a powerful enough rifle, Venom Snake can do this to open locked doors instead of lockpicking them.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Enemies armed with shotguns can and will fuck up your day if you've been using a lot of CQC. One blast will knock you off your feet, leaving you vulnerable. The Diamond Dogs can develop a plethora of different shotguns, including a shotgun revolver and and auto shotgun. Use of a shotgun to knock him into a pool of water is one strategy that is effective against The Man On Fire.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The game has numerous Moby-Dick references.
      • The bandaged man in the hospital level tells Snake to "Call me Ishmael."
      • Snake is referred to as "Ahab" during the prologue.
      • Snake hallucinates a giant white whale covered in flames flying through the sky.
      • The ship that Snake and Ocelot use to leave Cyprus is a former whaling vessel.
      • Snake's support chopper is now codenamed "Pequod" after Captain Ahab's ship.
      • The support chopper Miller rides in during the battle against Sahelanthropus is codenamed "Queequeg", after one of Ahab's crewmen.
      • The name "Eli" can be short for either, Eliab, the eldest brother of the biblical King David (a hint of Eli's true identity as the future Liquid Snake) , or Elijah, a prophet who predicts doom for Ahab's crew.
    • "Diamond Dogs" was named after a 1974 David Bowie concept album.
    • "On your feet, soldier. The whole place is coming down." — a reference to the words spoken to Solid Snake by Gray Fox in IDW's graphic novel adaptation of the original Metal Gear Solid, as opposed to the commonly referenced 2008 video game Call of Duty: World at War (in which Keifer Sutherland voiced Corporal Roebuck).
    • The 2014 Tokyo Game Show demo showed off an Active Decoy based on Lisa, the monster from the demo for another Kojima project, Silent Hills.
      • In the actual game, on the way to investigate the Devil's House, you can find a radio that plays audio clips from P.T.
    • Snake holding D.D. up is one to The Lion King.
    • At one point during the E3 2015 trailer, Eli can be seen with a conch shell on his hip, staring down at a maggot-infested pig's head. It even works on another level since "Lord of the Flies" is a literal translation of Beelzebub, a Hebrew and Arabic name for the devil.
      • In addition, in the cut ending, Eli tries to build an island society ruled by children just like in Lord of the Flies. However, just like in the novel, Eli's dreams of a child utopia are doomed to fail.
    • Using the Bionic Arm for certain actions such as punching or the radar plays the Signature Sound Effect from The Six Million Dollar Man.
    • The Afghanistan sections in particular bear more than a passing resemblance to movies like Rambo III and The Living Daylights, both of which take place during the Soviet occupation of that nation.
    • References to 1984 are everywhere, including the year that the game takes place in, "Big Boss Is Watching You" posters, and the room that Ocelot tortures people in being called "Room 101".
    • The iconic Moai returns once again, this time as an emblem part, along Otenko and Nero, as well as Jehuty and Anubis.
    • One of the bionic arms Snake can obtain is called "The Hand of Jehuty".
    • The emblem codewords can form various combinations. While many of them are Metal Gear related, some others are random phrases. Players can invoke shout outs through various combinations. Possible combinations include Rogue Trooper, Joy Division and Old Boy.
    • Ocelot refers to Quiet as "our silent assassin''.
  • Shown Their Work: Jay Tavare, Code Talker's voice/motion capture actor, claims that his character speaks in a complex dialect of Navajo. It's worthy of noting that Tavare is Native American himself, implying the use of the language is just that multifaceted.
    • It actually is possible to make synthetic diamonds from ashes.
    • Mark Serrels posted an article on Kotaku explaining why Snake has the most impressive (read: realistic) climbing technique in video game history, and that contemporaries like Uncharted and Assassin's Creed get this very wrong. The writer praises the following: Snake puts a lot of focus on footwork rather than his upper body strength, he uses his knees to propel his body upward, he hugs his torso against the wall so he doesn't fall, and Snake is seen shaking his hand to ease the fatigue in it making note most games don't showcase how lactic acid tires out the muscles.note 
    • As Venom Snake choppers out of Afghanistan after Mission 11, there's a Cut Scene where Pequod is menaced by an enemy jet, recognizable as an American-made F-4 Phantom II. This jet saw a lot of service in Vietnam... but was also sold to foreign nations, including Iran.
  • Soviet Superscience:
    • Sahelanthropus, the Metal Gear mech in this entry, is Soviet in design, though it's implied that Huey had a hand in its construction. Likewise, the Man on Fire (aka, Volgin's corpse) is also the result of Soviet experimentation, the pyrokinetic entity that possessed the Fury, and whatever the Sorrow left behind.
    • Venom Snake's prosthetic arm, itself mirroring Zardonov's from Peace Walker, is revealed to be Soviet engineering and part of a burgeoning field of cybernetics that foreshadows the cyborgs seen later on in the timeline.
  • Spanner in the Works: Skull Face's plans are ultimately ruined by Tretij Rebenok's rampage on Eli's behalf. It still requires Big Boss to destroy Sahelanthropus and finish off Skull Face though.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: If Snake spares Quiet instead of killing her, she will gradually fall in love with him during her stay at Mother Base. It's implied that Snake may have feelings for her as well, but Quiet is forced to leave after saving Snake's life because she spoke English and activated the vocal cord parasite. According to a comment made by Kojima, Snake and Quiet are destined to be Together in Death.
  • Stealth Pun: Digoxin, the drug that Ishmael injects into Snake, comes from a type of plant known as Foxgloves. FOX is the organization that Snake worked for during Metal Gear Solid 3, as well as the game engine that Metal Gear Solid V was developed on.
  • Theme Song Reveal: The Real Song Theme Tune for Venom Snake, "The Man Who Sold the World", which hints at the events that unfold. Specifically, it's actually massive foreshadowing for the ending twist: the song is about meeting with a villainous doppelgänger, and only plays during the parts when the real Big Boss crosses paths with Venom Snake. Acting like a leitmotif for the real Big Boss, it's only heard during the hospital sequence when he's present as Ishmael, and in ending after he sends Venom a debriefing tape labelled "from The Man Who Sold the World."
    Who knows? Not me.
    We never lost control.
    You're face to face
    with The Man Who Sold The World.
  • Theme Tune Cameo:
    • The latter half of the theme tune to Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is recycled as the track for the "Sortie Prep" menu. You can also acquire it as a cassette tape.
      • Played for Drama later on during the Quarantine mission, when the infected soldiers who have pledged that they live and die by your order hum the main theme of Peace Walker while saluting you. The voices die out one by one while you shoot them.
    • If you know where to look, you can find a cassette tape of "Snake Eater" in Africa.
  • The Stinger: Explains why Miller sold Big Boss out, joining FOXHOUND and helping Solid Snake take him down in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. Really, getting abandoned by his best friend, who went on to become a full-blown terrorist, and left with a Body Double drove Kaz off the deep end. Also, it's implied that Revolver Ocelot was the one who killed him.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Word Of God confirms that this is the relationship between Miller and Ocelot, and in fact the entirety of Diamond Dogs; all of them cooperate only because of Snake's presence, and the entire organization would collapse without him.
  • The Tetris Effect: After getting the + CARGO 2 upgrade for the Fulton Device and using it for a while, you may start wanting to Fulton Extract storage containers in real life.
  • Time Skip: While Ground Zeroes is set shortly after the events of Peace Walker (Six months to be precise), The Phantom Pain is set nine years later in 1984, just a decade before the events of the first Metal Gear. There's a smaller time skip of about 10 days between Snake's hospital escape and the mission to rescue Miller. This is both to facilitate Snake's physical rehabilitation after escaping from the hospital as well as getting used to his new cyborg arm. There's also an unspecified timeskip between missions, given that you rescue D.D as a pup in Mission 4, but is later a full grown adult by Mission 12, implying that at least several months have gone by since then. Another time skip takes place in the true ending, set in 1995, during the events of the first Metal Gear itself.
  • To Be Continued: Mission 28 ends on a cliffhanger, complete with the words "To Be Continued" appearing on the screen.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Prior installments primarily featured the cardboard box as a viable method of stealth, with later adding the ability to shoot secondary weapons through the handle holes. The Phantom Pain gives the cardboard box (and Snake) a slew of new functions. Such as being able to pop out the top to shoot enemies, use CQC on enemies that get close enough to Fulton them away, dive out the side in case guards come to check the box, attach posters to the box to distract guards, and if you sprint while using the box and press the dive button, you can do a powerslide on the box, which serves as a quick method of transportation if you are on a steep enough hill. Also in previous games, when equipping the box, you could only move in crouch mode, while this time you can move in prone, crouch, and stand mode, as well as sprint in the box.
  • Took A Level In Jerk Ass: Huey. He's become a positively loathsome Evil Cripple suffering from a horrendous case of the Never My Fault trope.
    • Miller somewhat, as well. Compared to Ocelot acting as the more level-headed Mission Control, Miller is more aggressive; whenever Ocelot is encouraging you to take a nonlethal or passive approach, Miller is usually the one taking the Kill 'em All route. It all plays into the Revenge Before Reason aspect of the characters' shifts.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: Supply drops you call appear as this to tell you where they're coming from.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: If a player spends GMP on supply drops, airstrikes, or an expensive loadout, it's gone for good – even upon reverting to a checkpoint, restarting the mission, or returning to the ACC. This can lead to a situation where a struggling player goes further and further into debt after every death – it's possible to lose money after completing a mission because the support costs were so high. Then, of course, any new money will automatically go towards the deficit instead of upgrading weapons, meaning the player is less prepared for the next mission, and so on. Of course, good players will consistently get the most GMP to buy the weapons they don't really need.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Guards will immediately take notice of whatever bullet flies past them and hits a wall, but when confronted with a flying prosthetic arm, they won't even bat an eye.
  • Villain Song: "Sins of the Father" can be considered one for Snake and his allies.
  • Visual Pun: The mission area in Episode 18 is shaped like a diamond.
  • Voodoo Shark: The game was advertised as being the connective link between the Big Boss and Solid Snake eras of Metal Gear, but the Twist Ending revealing that Venom Snake is the Medic, and the real Big Boss was off doing something else entirely during the events of the game ultimately raises more questions, particularly those regarding who was responsible for many of Big Boss' legendary actions in the decade between the events of this game and the original Metal Gear. Unfortunately, these questions may not truly be resolved due to Kojima's possible departure from Konami.
    • The ending actually reveals and clarifies much more than this, especially in the ensuing Wall of Text: Big Boss was off constructing the true Outer Heaven (the one we see in the original Metal Gear) during the events of the game and the years afterward, while Venom Snake continued to run Diamond Dogs as the real Big Boss to throw The Patriots off of Big Boss's scent. At some point before Operation Intrude N313, Venom was given control of Outer Heaven, so that the real Big Boss could assume command of FOXHOUND.
  • Weather-Control Machine: Your Support Team can basically be this if they're high enough level so that they gain the ability to manually change the weather.
  • Weather of War: The weather changes in real-time, which can change how you approach certain situations. The iDroid allows you to see the local forecast so you can plan ahead, though it isn't always right.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Kaz and Ocelot tend to repeat phrases based on things Venom Snake sees or does. Kaz, for example, says "He's coming too? Roger that." or "You're going to extract him?" every time Snake Fultons an enemy soldier.
  • Welcome to Hell: In the opening of The Phantom Pain, Snake wonders to himself if he's in hell after waking up from a nine year coma with a prosthetic left arm.
  • Wham Line:
    Operator: (referring to Big Boss) Well, he's stabilized, but it took too long. He's in a coma.
    Operator: Oh. He took some shrapnel... to the head.
  • Wham Shot: The photograph during the final story mission.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Near the end of the game, Eli and the child soldiers steal Metal Gear Sahelanthropus and fly away, and their actions afterwards are only briefly addressed by a Wall of Text in the true ending. However, there was originally a mission planned that would have explained their whereabouts - the Collector's Edition bonus disc shows an unfinished/unimplemented mission where Snake and Diamond Dogs would have assaulted Eli's base on a remote African island, destroying Sahelanthropus, most of the child soldiers dying and Eli being rescued by Mantis when Snake leaves him to die.
  • Whip It Good: Sahelanthropus is equipped with plasma whip.
  • Whole Costume Reference:
    • Tretij Rebenok looks suspiciously like Psycho Mantis, while Eli wears an outfit similar to what Liquid Snake later wears. This is not a coincidence.
    • Venom's standard fatigues with its scarf resembles what The Boss wore during Operation Snake Eater, complete with ponytail and scarf, while the shirtless version of the fatigues also makes him look a bit more like a male counterpart to Quiet. The new Diamond Dogs sneaking suit resembles the one that would later be worn by Solid Snake in Shadow Moses, while the new Battle Dress is very similar to the ones worm by Solidus Snake's hi-tech soldiers in the Big Shell.
    • The leather jacket resembles a Spear Counterpart of EVA's attire when she leaves Snake at the end of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The opening of the game is basically a very literal interpretation to the lyrics to "Diamond Dogs" by David Bowie, which mention "Pull[ing] you out of the oxygen tent" (Snake has just awakened from a coma), "Crawling down the alley on your hands and knees" (Snake can't even walk until some digoxin takes effect to help him), "your silicone hump and a ten-inch stump" (Snake's left arm is amputated, leaving a stump), and "The elevator's broke, so he slides down a rope" (The Floating Boy destroys the elevators that Snake and Ishmael intended to use, leaving them to find another route out of the hospital). Notably, "Diamond Dogs" was originally intended to play in the opening, but this was changed in development.
  • Winged Unicorn: The hospital level features a setpiece where a horse with a horn and wings made of fire chases after Snake. After retrieving the body of Colonel Volgin, AKA "The Man on Fire", you can also develop the Furicorn armor for D-Horse, which makes him look aesthetically similar to the Man on Fire's horse.
  • You Can Barely Stand: In the first level, Snake literally has to crawl his way through the hospital.
  • You Have Researched Breathing:
    • After being mysteriously absent in Ground Zeroes, knocking on walls to attract guard attention has returned, now accomplished with Snake shaking his robotic limb.
    • As in Peace Walker, you can upgrade cardboard boxes.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: One of the custom forms of Snake's prosthetic arm is the Hand of Jehuty, a device that can be fired at enemies. If it makes contact with them, it teleports the target to your position.
  • Zeerust: Deliberately invoked. Some of the technologies that will appear in-game are projects from The '80s that were either prototypes or concepts that for one reason or another never made it to production. The game itself will have a Twenty Minutes into the Future feel from a 1980s point of view.
  • Zombie Gait: The Mist Skulls, when activated, lurch around at high speed, making the already-unnatural Zombie Gait into something even more unsettling.



Alternative Title(s):

Phantom Pain