Video Game: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Metal Gear Solid V
is in the Metal Gear
series and a duology of stealth based games
serving as the tenth entry
in the Metal Gear
series by Kojima Productions, for PlayStation 3
, Xbox 360
, PlayStation 4
, Xbox One
, and PC
. The prologue, Ground Zeroes
, was released for consoles on March 18th, 2014 in North America, March 20th in Europe and Japan, and March 27th in Australia. The PC version was released worldwide on Steam on December 18th, 2014. The main game, The Phantom Pain
, will be released in 2015.Metal Gear Solid V
was originally announced in two unrelated incarnations. The first was Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes
, a tech demo for Kojima Productions' new FOX Engine. The second, The Phantom Pain
, was presented as a new IP
from the mysterious Joakim Mogren
's Moby Dick Studio. On March 27, 2013, series creator Hideo Kojima
revealed that Ground Zeroes
and The Phantom Pain
were the prologue and main story respectively of a combined Metal Gear Solid V
The prologue begins a few months after the events of Peace Walker
(1975), with legendary MSFnote
(a.k.a. Big Boss
) extracting former allies Paz Ortega Andrade and Ricardo "Chico" Valenciano Libre from a U.S. naval prison facility in Cuba. Paz in particular is Snake's only lead on the whereabouts of "Cipher", an American black ops groupnote
that targeted him in the previous game
. Unfortunately, both allies were captured by the mysterious XOF
unit, who finish interrogating the pair and depart shortly before Snake arrives. Though Snake successfully rescues Paz and Chico, MSF is caught in a surprise attack soon afterwards that leaves Snake in a coma.
Nine years later (1984), Snake wakes up to find that his left arm has been amputated and the "entire world" wants him dead. After escaping from the hospital he is being held in, he assumes the codename of "Venom Snake" and forms a new mercenary unit called Diamond Dogs to get revenge on the people who took everything from him, no matter the cost
. Standing in his way are the armies of Cipher and XOF, along with a new weapon that may surpass
even Metal Gear
.Metal Gear Solid V
is Kojima Productions' first project developed on the FOX Engine, and, with the release on both seventh generation
and eighth generation
consoles, marks it as the first cross-generation release in the series' history. Not counting the HD Collection
, it also the first MGS
game to be given a Multi-Platform
release at launch andnote
(on eighth-gen consoles and PC) the first game in the series since Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
to run at 60 frames per second at launch.Unmarked spoilers for previous games in the series ahead.
The tropes never die:
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Tropes in Both Games
- Actionized Sequel: Somewhat zigzagged.
- While combat is expanded upon greatly, including introducing stealth takedowns and the ability to CQC-steal weapons, Snake has significantly less health in this installment than previous games, which still discourages players from fighting enemies head-on.
- With the new ranking system, screwing up repeatedly will cost you points, but going beyond basic objectives and pushing onwards (rather than reloading) will net you a higher rank. It's even possible to S rank a mission if you're discovered, provided you're quick enough and non-lethal in your approach and are willing to rescue prisoners.
- Also applies with the slow-mo on discovery feature Reflex Mode, and the differentiating between an Enemy Combat Alert and merely being Discovered.note Enabling it means alerts can be avoidednote , but disabling it altogether or managing to clear a mission without triggering it means you get an additional "No Reflex" bonus. Nevertheless, getting spotted without it but handling the situation can land you better off in the end.
- A.K.A.-47: Weapons go by names like "AM Rifle Type 69",note "MRS-4",note and "WU Silent Pistol",note but their designs are made to look like real-world firearms. This is also a departure from previous titles, which accurately depicted real-world weapons with authentic names. However, the game isn't in its final stages yet, so there is still time to acquire the names.
- However, some weapons, such as the AM-D114 pistol note are largely fictional.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: Skull Face, who has blue skin.
- Anachronism Stew:
- As per series standard. Period weapons and basic military hardware of the 1980s mixed with futuristic technology; cybernetics, advanced robotics and Snake's holographic iDroid map.
- A particularly noticeable one is when Skull Face gives Chico a Walkman-like player and Chico himself is wearing earphones. The former was not released until 1979 and the latter wouldn't be around for another five years or so.note
- Performing a certain task in Ground Zeroes allows you to develop Gekko at Mother Base, somehow.
- Bilingual Bonus: Averted in Ground Zeroes where, as it's a U.S. black site, Camp Omega's signs are written in both English and Spanish. Played straight in the levels shown so far in The Phantom Pain, where soldiers and their Mission Control will speak in their native tongues (such as Russian in Afghanistan). The Afghanistan mission also has untranslated Arabic signposts and graffiti.
- Bloodier and Gorier:
- Snake loses an arm in the opening of the game, and graphical improvements allow the game to showcase bloodier, more realistic wounds.
- The Phantom Pain opens with an entire hospital ward being mercilessly slaughtered in graphic and disturbing ways.
- One scene has Snake and two others reaching through Paz Ortega's open intestines as she writhes and screams in pain to extract a flashing object adorned with a peace symbol.
- Body Horror:
- Chico has a headphone jack in his chest.
- The Camp Omega prisoners (including Chico) have bolts screwed into their Achilles tendons, which makes walking or merely standing up extremely painful.
- The XOF commander, Skull Face, who pretty much looks as if he's rotting.
- The audiotape of Paz's interrogation culminates in her being sedated, having most of her organs removed and a bomb inserted in her intestines, along with another one "where no one will look" (complete with wet sounds). In the second-last scene, Snake, Chico and the chopper's onboard doctor extract the device from Paz while she's fully conscious and screaming in pain.
- Snake wakes up from a coma to find he's missing an arm, and gets a piece of shrapnel embedded into his skull.
- Cold-Blooded Torture:
- Tons. What's worse is that the protagonists are also administering it this time around.
- Skull Face has established himself as the king of this, outlasting the kind of torture that Ocelot or Volgin would give. He notably beltwhips Paz, forces her and Chico to have sex, rapes her, and the kicker: forcing a bomb into her abdomen that is set to go off when Snake rescues her in a timely manner. Oh, and this isn't even going into the second bomb Skull Face shoved up her vagina. That very bomb ends up killing Paz and sending Snake into his coma, right after he is forced to take out the first one without any anesthetic.
- Creator Cameo: Many Kojima Productions employees lent their likenesses to supporting characters in order to showcase the FOX Engine's facial capturing technology.
- Programmer Mike Fudge is one of the doctors operating on Snake and Miller at the beginning of the GDC 2013 trailer.
- Composer Ludvig Forssell appears in the E3 2013 trailer as the Soviet soldier who gets killed by Snake with his own rifle.
- Animator Brian Robison from Kojima Productions LA is the undercover agent that Snake must contact in the "Classified Intel Acquisition" side op.
- In the "Intel Operative Rescue" sidenop in Ground Zeroes, Snake must rescue a "VIP" agent who has procured one of Chico's tapes. At the end of the mission, the VIP is revealed to be none other than Hideo himself.
- Playtester Ziang "Jackie" Tan appears as a POW in the special E3 2014 mission, as seen in the Kojima Report podcast. He shows up in the later TGS 2014 mission set in Africa as well.
- Crew of One: Snake can commandeer armoured vehicles, allowing him to drive and use the vehicle's gun at the same time.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory: A number of button functions that were series mainstays were switched around due to the inclusion of a non-game pausing peripheral and Snake's Limited Loadout. It may take a bit to get used to pressing L2/LT for Codec, or Select/Back to pause, or holding Up to change weapons, or etc.
- Darker and Edgier: The darkest Metal Gear story yet. The tale of Big Boss' face heel turn covers some pretty heavy subjects, like race, revenge, child soldiers, cold blooded torture, body horror and rape.
Miller: The world calls for wetwork, and we answer! No greater good. No just cause.
- Divided for Publication: The prologue mission, Ground Zeroes, was released separately from The Phantom Pain, which is still under development.
- Dull Surprise: A complaint towards Kiefer Sutherland's portrayal of Snake in Ground Zeroes is that he sounds bored when he isn't putting strong emotions into his lines, with the ending of the game being a notable exception. Hideo Kojima has stated that this subdued performance is partly deliberate, given that Snake has become jaded as a result of the experiences he's lived through. However, in a simultaneous inversion of this, his motion capture performance and the lines from The Phantom Pain show considerably more emotion.
- Evil Counterpart: XOF, a mysterious black ops unit led by Skull Face that uses the reversed logo of Snake's old FOX unit and inverted acronym for FOX for a name.
- Facial Horror: Skull Face lives up to his moniker; he has a crooked nose, a Glasgow Grin, and a severely burned face.
- Snake's face becomes more and more torn up and mangled as the game continues, gaining shrapnel lodged in his skull in the shape of a horn and several crossing scars.
- Faceless Goons: Apparently not. Every soldier has a unique face.
- Follow the Leader: Both games have retooled some mechanics that have been in previous games in the series - such as Regenerating Healthnote and "tagging" enemies to keep track of themnote - to resemble modern stealth games.
- Forces with Firepower: Big Boss will be up against several different national armies over the course of both games:
- Foregone Conclusion: Snake, Miller, Huey, Zero, and Ocelot will survive, but things will be irreversibly changed.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: The heroic Snake has thin scars running across his face and body, not to mention a bit of shrapnel that looks like a horn. On the other hand, the villainous Skull Face's entire face is made of scar tissue.
- Glasgow Grin: Skull Face sports disturbing, smile-like scars running up the sides of his cheeks.
- Grand Finale: This is technically one for Big Boss's myth arc, bringing him full circle to become the antagonist that players fought in the original Metal Gear. However, Kojima personally considers it to be another adventure for Big Boss, noting that there is still another decade between The Phantom Pain and Metal Gear.
- Gun Accessories: Suppressors and flashlights can be now attached and detached on the fly in game as required. Scopes and underbarrel grenade launchers come with some models.
- Handicapped Badass: Keeping in theme with the game's meaningful name, many of the principal characters are handicapped or crippled in some way.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Miller makes it absolutely clear that he will do anything to exact revenge on XOF. Interestingly enough, Snake seems to be aware that this is happening to himself and his allies.
- Kick Them While They Are Down: The play mechanics allow Snake to knock out wounded enemies by kicking them when they've fallen.
- Lens Flare: Several, given the Fox Engine's emphasis on lighting. There are notably some that look like bar codes during some cutscenes.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: The game has about half the cast that was present in Peace Walker make appearances, and introduces a number of other characters to the series, making this game have the biggest ensemble in the series since Metal Gear Solid 4.
- Meaningful Name:
- A "phantom pain" is a sensation of pain in a limb or body part that is no longer there. Both Snake and Miller end up losing limbs over the course the game. Similarly, the antagonist, Skull Face, is missing most of his face. It also refers to emotional pain brought from losing loved ones, and how their deaths haunt people.
- "Déjà Vu" means something looks familiar even though you've never seen it before, and it's the title of the extra mission where the player must re-enact scenes from the original Metal Gear Solid in Camp Omega. There's no way Big Boss has ever been to Shadow Moses Island, so there's no way the stuff should look familiar to him, but it's familiar to us, the players.
- "Jamais Vu," on the other hand, means something familiar seeming unfamiliar to you as if something was wrong with it. The mission is about detecting and eliminating body snatchers, who are close-but-not-perfect imitations of the real people they've snatched. "They look the same, but they're not!" is a common cry from people in body snatcher movies.
- Mini-Mecha: Snake is seen driving a car sized robot at the end of the extended E3 2013 trailer.
- Multi-Part Episode: Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain together serve as Metal Gear Solid V as a whole.
- Necessary Drawback: The three vehicle types Snake can ride have advantages and disadvantages to each.
- The jeep is the fastest vehicle, but provides no cover or weaponry, is extremely fragile, and simply passing by an enemy will get you seen.
- The truck provides cover while making it harder to get seen and has better durability than the jeep, but is only moderately fast, and poor driving and driving too close to guards will cause them to spot you.
- The tank completely covers you, which makes it near-impossible to get seen unless you do something incredibly stupid, is extremely hard to destroy, and gives you a cannon loaded with infinite ammo to kill enemies, but is the slowest vehicle.
- Nerf: The Mk. 22 Silenced Pistol gets a downgrade from Boring Yet Practical to Difficult but Awesome. While it's still just as powerful as ever, you now need to accommodate for bullet drop. On the other hand, it's fitted with an integrated suppressor that never breaks.
- Zigzagged with CQC. The chaining of CQC attacks is a lot more difficult to pull off than it was in Peace Walker (you can still chain-throw enemies just like in Peace Walker, though you won't get nearly as many opportunities as in the previous game because nowadays enemies aren't stupid enough to mill around you and wait to get thrown), but CQC will knock someone out with one throw, as it did in Metal Gear Solid 3 and Metal Gear Solid 4.
- Even further zigzagged with the Fulton Recovery System in The Phantom Pain. It no longer counts as an item with limited ammo (it instead costs 300 GMP per use) and is more versatile, as it can be used on everything from soldiers to vehicles to sheep. On the other hand, Fulton balloons always have a random chance of failing,note and that chance increases in bad weather.
- As shown in the Tokyo Game Show 2014 trailer, enemies can and will notice your Fulton balloons at a distance, as shown when a sniper shoots down a POW Snake tries to recover.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The original trailer for The Phantom Pain made it look the game was a completely new IP being developed by an unknown Swedish company.
- Numbered Sequels: The first one in six years since Metal Gear Solid 4, although Peace Walker and Metal Gear Rising were released in the years between, the former being the previous Kojima-directed game in the series and the chronological predecessor of Ground Zeroes.
- Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: Metal Gear Solid V uses a Roman numeral, in contrast to the Arabic ones used by previous entries. The "V" stands for "victory", in response to the recent leap forward in Western video game development.
- One Game for the Price of Two: Ground Zeroes was initially intended to be a prologue portion of The Phantom Pain and was only produced separately when development of the main campaign was taking too long. While Ground Zeroes is not required to play The Phantom Pain, data from the former can be carried over to the latter.
- However, Kojima Productions has at least been more considerate about the pricing of Ground Zeroes, pricing the shorter of the two games at $30 instead of asking for a full $60. Purchasing the digital versions nets players a $20 price tag instead.
- The Oner:
- The opening of Ground Zeroes is a single continuous shot, with zero cuts. According to Kojima, this technique will feature heavily in cutscenes, where the transference from cutscene to gameplay (and vice versa) won't use jump cuts very often, and will instead use single, unbroken camera movements.
- The assault on Mother Base by XOF forces from Snake's perspective, starting from when he receives word from his pilot that the base isn't responding, and ending when Paz jumps out of the helicopter and explodes, blowing him backwards.
- One-Woman Wail: A good portion of the lead-up to the song "Sins of the Father".
- Protagonist Journey to Villain: Snake starts out a well-intentioned mercenary trying to find a place where soldiers can be free in the world, only to transform into a "demon" willing to commit unspeakable horrors for the sake of revenge. The entire point of the game is to show how he goes from a heroic mercenary trying to follow what he believes to be the Boss's dream to the bitter old man who Solid Snake ended up defeating twice.
- Reality Ensues: If you try to crawl over a claymore mine to pick it up, it explodes instead.
- Regenerating Health: One of the biggest departures for the series; Snake now has regenerating health (and faster than the very gradual regeneration he had in Metal Gear Solid 3). No visible life bar, but getting shot will make bullet holes and burns appear at the edges of the screen, and they linger for a while, impeding your vision.
- Retcon: Kojima has noted that there will be several minor changes to the continuity with this game, given that it's a prequel that greatly expands upon events alluded to in previous games. One such change is that Big Boss becomes a cyborg in this game with the prosthetic limbs, when originally he didn't become one until Metal Gear 2.
- Revenge: One of the central themes of the game is revenge. Snake and Miller are hell bent on getting back at XOF and Cipher (a.k.a. Zero and the Patriots) for what they're done; no matter how many they have torture or kill along the way, or if they become monsters themselves in the process.
Miller: We pull in money, troops, just to combat Cipher. Rubbing our noses in bloody battlefield dirt... all for revenge.
- Scenery Porn: The FOX Engine is designed to emulate lighting as accurate to life as possible, resulting in some quite impressive visuals.
- Scenery Gorn:
- The Ground Zeroes prologue ends with your offshore base exploding and then collapsing into the ocean.
- The Phantom Pain's opening chapter takes place in a hospital that's burning down around you.
- Schizo Tech: The iDroid is a little handheld device that projects holograms, communicates with people across the ocean, has a fully-functional satellite map system... and doubles as a Walkman.
- Secret War: The game revolves around two black ops units, the "Diamond Dogs" MSF unit remnants and the "XOF", battling it out for survival. Not to mention, Snake's gripe with Zero and Cipher (aka the Patriots). Skull Face seems to have take interest in Cipher as well, possibly making this a Mêlée à Trois.
Narration: FOX vs. XOF, a phantom battle waged by the vanished.
- Sequel Escalation: Metal Gear Solid 4 tried to build battlefields that were constantly changing with two factions at war, and later focused on sneaking around enemies that had access to vastly superior technology. Metal Gear Solid V is trying to re-implement the shifting battlefield and apply it to an open world. It also expands the army managing aspect of Peace Walker, with Snake now able to sent out spies to infiltrate enemy bases and get information from them.
- There's even an example between the prologue and the main game - Kojima has touted the environments of The Phantom Pain as being hundreds of times bigger than Ground Zeroes and Peace Walker combined.
- Holding guys up with your gun and pinning them with CQC have been improved—when you hold a guy up you can order him to the ground, or even make him call out to his buddies to lure them into a trap. Interrogations are now mini-menu-driven instead of just holding down one button.
- Simulation Game: Kojima has stated that Metal Gear Solid V is the evolution of the series into a full-on "stealth simulation".
- Start of Darkness: This prequel marks the face heel turn of Snake and Miller from anti-heroes to revenge before reason anti-villains, willing to preside over torture sessions conducted by Ocelot.note
- Stun Guns: Two of them are now available: The Wu Silent pistol, which is the silenced tranquiliser pistol that's been a staple of the series since Metal Gear Solid 2 and the Urugan-5, which fills the role the Rubber Slug Shotgun did in Peace Walker, except as a 5-shot revolver.
- Trailers Always Spoil:
- The GDC 2013 trailer make it clear that Ground Zeroes closes with the destruction of MSF's Mother Base, as well as Snake suffering massive injuries and falling into a coma for nine years.
- The E3 2013 trailer confirms the return of Paz and Huey, as well as Miller losing an arm and a leg.
- Unnecessary Combat Roll: Averted - Snake's somersault ability has been replaced with a lunging Quick Dive that makes it so he always lands on his belly, instead of the somersault which allowed Snake to land on his feet. However, he'll still do a roll when dismounting a horse at speed.
- Unorthodox Holstering: Snake slings his rifle across his left hip in a crossdraw manner.
- Video Game Caring Potential: You don't have to save the POWs, but dammit, no man left behind; you are given a score bonus for every POW rescued.
- Walking Armory: Downplayed. Each gun Snake carries is visible on his person (a sidearm in his holster, a knife on his belt, a rifle across his hip and a larger gun on his back) but grenades and placeable weapons are stored away in his Utility Belt.
- War Is Hell: The games portrays the darkest aspects of war on Snake's quest for revenge, such as loss of limbs, child soldiers and torture.
- Weapon of Mass Destruction: Cipher has been working on a weapon that surpasses the eponymous "Metal Gear" autonomous nuclear launch platforms.
- Wide Open Sandbox: The first in the series to do so. The Afghanistan section, for instance, allows you to free roam across a massive desert canyon.
- X Meets Y: Both games can be described as mixing constantly changing battlefields from Metal Gear Solid 4 with the mission based gameplay and base-building mechanics of Peace Walker, with wide open sandbox features thrown in for good measure.
Tropes in Ground Zeroes
- 100% Completion: Your completion ratio is given as a percentage at the title screen. The main story mission makes up 10 percent with the rest being divided among the side ops, extra ops, and trials.
- Action Prologue: To The Phantom Pain. It isn't essential to play Ground Zeroes to enjoy The Phantom Pain, but it serves to tease the main plot, allows players to get a feel for the darker tone, and as a refresher on the Big Boss timeline.
- Alternate Continuity: "Jamais Vu" is explicitly stated to have taken place in a different universe than the main game, which is obvious when you account for the sudden appearance of the Snatchers and the time-travelling cyborg.
- Alternate Timeline: Discussed in the prologue description text for "Jamais Vu". It states that given the size of the universe it is not improbable to assume that any number of branching timelines could exist at the same time, making it so that any given reality could be just as real as the other, simultaneously existing and not existing at the same time, existing in its own reality but not in that other reality.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: Completing the "Jamais Vu" mission will unlock extra armors for Raiden. Completing the quiz at the end of "Déjà Vu" will unlock the 1998 polygon rendered Solid Snake on Normal and the Cyborg Ninja on Hard. Apparently, these will carry over to The Phantom Pain along with the MSF sneaking suit.
- Anti-Frustration Features: If (and more likely when) your chopper is spotted by the Marines when exfiltrating after a mission, it doesn't count as an Enemy Combat Alert.
- Reflex Mode and the corresponding differentiation between being Discovered and an Enemy Combat Alertnote are meant as one; although being Discovered with Reflex Mode enabled does forfeit a No Reflex bonus, that's still better for one's score than the penalty from each Enemy Combat Alert.
- Art Evolution: Commented in both Extra Ops. When the player contacts Miller while observing the logo of a mainline Metal Gear title, he will state the number of pixels or polygons that Snake's sprite or model was made of in that particular installment.
- Artistic License – Military: Several examples, most notably the knockoff woodland pattern the Marines wear (it's woodland pattern, but with a coloration similar to that of modern-day AOR 2) as well as some of the Marines sporting rather...relaxed facial grooming. Also the use of "Repeat" over comms, and when the Marine fireteams contact CP (Command Post) CP is the one who says "Out." (More correctly, the Marine patrol would say "Out" to indicate that they were done sending traffic.)
- Back for the Dead: Paz, who dies before she can reveal crucial information on XOF and Cipher.
- Bag of Spilling / Bus Crash: The nuke-armed Metal Gear ZEKE that MSF builds in Peace Walker is explained away by the U.N. inspection; MSF dumped ZEKE and their nuclear weapon underwater to securely hide them, which explains why Snake can't use nuclear leverage come The Phantom Pain.
- Snake's loadout for the rescue mission is described as "the bare essentials" to minimise disruption, meaning that he can't use any of the flashier equipment that was available in Peace Walker.
- Big Damn Heroes: At the end of the main story mission, Snake's chopper flies in to rescue Miller and the surviving MSF forces as Mother Base breaks apart.
- Big "NO!": Snake lets one out when Paz jumps out of the helicopter.
- Chico can be heard giving one, too.
- Billing Displacement: Keifer Sutherland's name comes last in the cast list of the opening credits. But he is billed first in the end credits. This also happened to David Hayter at the beginning of Peace Walker.
- Boring Yet Practical: By far the easiest way to S-Rank the "Destroy the Anti-Air Emplacements" mission is to A-Rank it first, then replay the mission with the provided rocket launcher, taking the emplacements out from the starting point.
- Bottomless Magazines: Averted. As Snake continues firing at the XOF troops during their assault on Mother Base, his gun runs out of ammo, and he angrily tosses it down before grabbing Miller's hand.
- Broad Strokes: The side ops in Ground Zeroes are set a few months before the main mission, but they're "pseudo-historical recreations", implying they might had happened differently than what is actually depicted in the game.
- Call Back:
- In Chico's Tape 1, after Chico is caught by a camp guard, some clattering is heard, then a short clip from "Love Deterrence"note is heard playing before being shut off.
- The eponymous character from the Intel Operative Rescue mission is none other than Hideo, who had a S rank in Intel when recruited in Peace Walker.
- Call Forward: In the opening of the story mission, Miller repeats a line from Colonel Campbell in Metal Gear Solid.
Miller: Excellent, Snake. Age hasn't slowed you down one bit.
- In a side-mission, after rescuing Hideo Kojima, Snake puts on his glasses and Kojima asks "Snake, what took you so long?"note , echoing a scene in trailers for The Phantom Pain where Snake rescues Miller in Afghanistan.
- Catch Phrase:
Snake: Kept you waiting, huh?
- Chekhov's Gun: The U.N. Inspection, which is a front for XOF's attack on Mother Base.
- The Chessmaster: Skull Face's plan is to deliver a crushing blow against MSF and pin the blame on Cipher, leading the two to destroy one another.
- Cliff Hanger:
- The ending of Ground Zeroes. Paz explodes as she falls out of the helicopter Snake is in, causing it to spiral and collide with another helicopter. Cue a Fade to White, some information regarding the immediate aftermath of the event, a timeline, a monologue by Skull Face, and the credits, along with a short preview of the next game.
- It does, however, establish that Skull Face is rebelling against Cipher, and he interrogates Paz about the organization as well as its owner, Zero. Paz agrees, knowing that it can save Snake. However, the scene cuts when she begins her explanation.
- Convenient Coma: Snake falls into a coma for nine years after massive physical trauma, allowing for a convenient time skip from 1975 to 1984.
- Collection Sidequest: Finding all nine XOF badges in the main story mission unlocks the Deja Vu or Jamais Vu extra-op, depending on the version. There's also an achievement for collecting all 19 cassette tapes scattered throughout most of the seven missions.
- Continuity Cavalcade: In the "Déjà Vu" extra op, there are tons of references to other games in the series, including the ones that aren't even canon.
- The main objective is to "relive" scenes from the first game through certain set pieces. Specifically: the Hind D, running out in the open helipad, the final escape scene, blowing up the tank with a grenade, looking at a surveillance camera, the Moai head, and Psycho Mantis' HIDEO blackout.
- Attempting to rescue the two hostages causes them to die in a similar manner as Baker and Anderson from the first game. Saving both will produce a small scene where FOXDIE attempts to disrupt the game but is shut out by the FOX Engine.
- A rifle outfitted with a special flashlight allows players to remove the logos of previous games that are scattered throughout Camp Omega. This only applies to the mainline Kojima-directed games (the original MSX2 games, the numbered Metal Gear Solid entries and Peace Walker), while the spin-off titles (which includes Portable Ops and Metal Gear Rising) are not affected.
- Cutscene Boss: The sequence where Snake fights upon the burning Mother Base unfortunately isn't playable.
- Cutscene Power to the Max: During the fall of Mother Base, Snake shoots down a helicopter with a burst from his rifle. This is impossible to pull off in-game.
- Damsel in Distress: The main story mission opens with Snake attempting to rescue Paz, who survived the events of Peace Walker, from Camp Omega in Cuba so he can interrogate her about the Cipher organization, as well as to rescue Chico, who went after her.
- Dark Reprise: "Here's to You" gains darker subtext when it plays over the credits, along with every time it appears in an audio file.
- Despair Event Horizon: Miller crosses it once Mother Base is blown to smithereens. He even starts yelling at Paz, even when it's clear she has nothing to do with the attack and has been through intense trauma.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Shooting at your chopper will cause Miller to chew you out over the radio saying, "That's not funny!"
- When you rescue Chico and are told to place him down on the ground before extracting him onto the chopper, he will give you a cassette tape with important clues to finding Paz. If you decide to extract Chico without checking on him, the same cassette tape will slide down the chopper door and land on the ground, causing Snake to obtain it anyway during the cutscene. Almost doubles as an example of But Thou Must.
- If you've already unlocked the extra skins after the "Deja Vu" mission and complete it again, Miller will ask why you continue to take the quiz even though you've already obtained the bonuses.
- If you try to throw a grenade at an enemy chopper in the "Jamais Vu" mission, you will see the trajectory indicator of the grenade pushed down by...wait for it...the downdraft of the rotor blades.
- Diegetic Interface: Snake's iDroid is his in-universe map and menu screen. You can even bring it into your universe if you connect a tablet or smartphone to the game console. The downside is that it doesn't pause the game, so make sure you only check your map in a safe spot!
- Discontinuity Nod: During the Déjà Vu/Jamais Vu mission, call Miller while viewing the logo for a non-Kojima directed Metal Gear game (i.e. Ghost Babel, Portable Ops) and he will feign ignorance about it. Trying to erase them with the special light will have no effect, causing Miller to remark "looks like that's nothing special." Strangely enough, this also applies to Metal Gear Rising even during the Jamais Vu mission (which involves the player controlling the Metal Gear Rising incarnation of Raiden).
- Downer Beginning: The story mission ends with Mother Base demolished, MSF disbanded due to the casualties that they have sustained, XOF triumphant and having no apparent opposition to their goals, Snake mutilated and comatose for the better part of a decade. And that's all before The Phantom Pain begins properly.
- Downloadable Content: The two Extra Ops in Ground Zeroes were initially platform-specific: PlayStation players got the "Déjà Vu" mission, which is a large throwback to the first Metal Gear Solid, while Xbox players got "Jamais Vu", which has Raiden fighting Snatchers. The missions were eventually released on both consoles via a patch.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Paz dies before she can tell Snake about Cipher.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Camp Omega is a very unsubtle reference to the United States' unofficial prison facility located in Guantanamo Bay, as well as the horrid conditions and practices at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Interestingly enough, it's never directly stated if Camp Omega is a part of Guantanamo Bay or if it's a separate prison (though the latter is acknowledged as having existed within the Metal Gear universe).
- The story mission also has several unsubtle references to the Tanker chapter, made all the more explicit by Word of God saying that he sees Ground Zeroes as the Tanker to The Phantom Pain's Plant. Both missions are short but crammed with little details, taking place at night during a rainstorm; involve unusual objectives new to the series (First Person Snapshooter vs. Escort Mission with immobile escortees); both involve the U.S. Marine Corps doing something shady (although in GZ they're actual Mooks); and both are Downer Beginnings where the mission goes horribly wrong and the player character is knocked unconscious as the result of a vehicle crash. The main difference, aside from the lack of a character switch, is that we know what happened to Snake afterward.
- Downer Ending: Snake successfully airlifts Chico and Paz out of Camp Omega, and removes a bomb discovered inside Paz's abdomen. However, the "nuclear inspection" turns out to be an invasion by XOF, who leave Mother Base to sink into the depths of the ocean. Snake barely escapes with Miller, who loses his mind with grief. As he screams at a now awake Paz, she opens the helicopter doors and jumps out, before a second bomb inside her body explodes. Snake's helicopter collides with another, and the screen fades to black.
- Easter Egg: One involving Chico and Paz. It can be activated by obtaining the cassette tape from Chico, but not extracting him, instead rescuing Paz and laying her down next to him. Chico will lay down and cuddle together with Paz, whispering her name and apologizing for giving into the torture while crying. Paz will react to Chico's voice and start humming a song (either "Love Deterrence", "Sins of the Father", or the "Metal Gear Solid Main Theme") in an attempt to comfort him.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Several dogs start barking at Skull Face and the other XOF soldiers when they first approach Camp Omega.
- Foreshadowing: During the opening cutscene to the Intel Operative Rescue Side Op, Snake will hold up a pair of rectangular eyeglasses. They're Kojima's famous glasses. When Hideo makes his Creator Cameo at the end, he dons them after unmasking himself.
- Gunship Rescue: Snake now has the ability to call in a helicopter to pull him out of hot spots or provide air support; and it'll play music of the player's choice as it flies in.
- Heroic Suicide: Paz jumps off out of the helicopter she's in seconds after she reveals that there's a second bomb in her body. Unfortunately, her fall doesn't quite clear the radius of the helicopter, and the explosion ends up damaging the vehicle anyway.
- Hope Spot: After the discomforting scene of the removing of the bomb from Paz's stomach, Huey contacts Snake and tells him that everything's going swimmingly in terms of preparing Mother Base for the inspection. That tranquility doesn't last.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: As Snake extracts Paz from the administrative building, she weakly repeats "Kill me...kill me", having known about the two bombs planted inside of her.
- I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: The Marines guarding Camp Omega take a lot of interest in the XOF Unit that has been residing at their base recently, commenting on their gear, logos, and even their weird commander Skull Face. But in one instance two guards can be heard talking about the nature of what the XOF Unit is, and one of the Marines in question decides to cut the conversation short because he doesn't want to get in trouble and politely asks the other guard to stay quiet about it as well.
- Interface Screw: Relatively minor, but after meeting Baker and the DARPA Chief, the FOXDIE virus infects the FOX Engine and causes the screen to turn very weird colors, as well as spitting out nonsense notifications. The problem fixes itself in a few seconds, however.
- Kansas City Shuffle: Snake discovers that XOF tricked him into evac'ing Paz while she has a bomb in her gut. Removing the bomb and saving her, Paz wakes in time to explain the first bomb was meant to be found, so to distract Snake from the second one.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Snake's enemies are members of the U.S. Marine Corps posted in what's a not-at-all-subtle ersatz Guantanamo Bay, where the prisoners they've captured are tortured beyond all reason. One look at what they've done to the prisoners' feet makes it a lot easier to swallow trading blows with these guys, and in fact, may encourage some to just barge in guns blazing, since there's no way in hell this is legal or right.
- Kill 'em All: Operation Trojan Horse leaves no survivors in Mother Base except for Master Miller, Huey, and a couple of lucky soldiers. Luckily, Strangelove, Amanda, and Cécile were off-base during the attack.
- Last Day to Live: A doctor notes that Paz will only live for another 24 hours at most, which is how long the bomb in her gut (and the second bomb in an unspecified location) will still function.
- Laughing Mad: When you rescue her, Paz will occasionally be subject to fits of nervous Mirthless Laughter. Considering the torture she's been through, it's not unjustified.
- Limited Loadout: Snake can carry one sidearm, one rifle grip gun and one big gun.
- Lost in Translation: After the player erases every marking in either Extra Op, Kojima will call in from the radio and thank the player for their support. This is a throwback to the Japanese version of Metal Gear Solid, where Kojima will give a similar congratulatory message if Psycho Mantis detects save data from Snatcher and Policenauts.
- Meatgrinder Surgery: After rescuing Paz, Snake and a medic discover that she has a bomb planted in her abdomen and have no choice but to remove it without anaesthetic, while Paz is fully conscious and screaming her bloody head off in agony.
- The Mole: Huey is strongly implied to have been one, which would explain why Ocelot tortures him in The Phantom Pain.
- Mundangerous: As there is no swimming mechanic falling into water from a tiny cliff face will make Snake sink into the water like he had boulders attached to his feet. See Super Drowning Skills above.
- Mutilation Interrogation: The extent of prisoner torture is apparent when Snake tries to evac Chico, only to see XOF has put metal bolts in his achilles tendons so standing is agony. Done tenfold on Paz, who is tortured into giving up info on Cipher, and is rewarded with two bombs in her torso.
- Mythology Gag:
- The opening scene of Ground Zeroes has Snake removing his infrared goggles while facing towards the camera, recreating the title screen/promotional art of the original Metal Gear Solid.
- Also, the mission starts with Snake climbing a cliff at night, just like Solid Snake does in Metal Gear 2.
- The "Jamais Vu" trailer for the bonus mission where Raiden shows up to kill Snatchers infiltrating Camp Omega mentions that the snatchers began showing up after a Russian jet crashed nearby. Snatchers were Russian in origin in their original game. The mission takes place at night because the Snatchers' artificial skin, which degraded rapidly in sunlight, forces them to operate in the dark in the original game (a major plot point was about this distinction). Also, after seeing a few of them, a snippet of a song from the MSX 2 game plays, but those outside Japan are unlikely to recognize it unless they've played either a Fan Translation of it or the extremely rare Sega CD English port. The only significant difference is that they use the weapons of their victims, rather than the laser cannons from their mouths.
- The Snatchers burn a bright blue when killed, just liked slain FROG/Haven Troopers did. In the original game, Snatchers often self-destructed after they were neutralized to prevent their bodies from being studied.
- Like several other Metal Gear games of late, a protagonist's entering line (in this case Big Boss) is "Kept you waiting, huh?"
- A very subtle one. Players may notice at least two rats who will lead Snake all the way to Paz. This is a callback to Metal Gear Solid when Master Miller advises Snake to follow some rats.
- Necessary Drawback: When calling for an extraction chopper, you have several possible places to call for one. Typically, a far-away LZ that is unguarded by the enemy, or a hot LZ right in the middle of the base that's sure to piss off the locals and stands a good chance of getting blown up.
- The iDroid can display a map with every soldier you've marked on it, and even your "last known position" so you can tell where you can probably safely sneak away from after an alert, but doing this forces you to look at the map and not at the soldiers, because the action doesn't freeze. Attaching a tablet or smartphone to the game lets you see the map on your tablet instead, but that too has a downside, since you need to look at it instead of the screen. Either way you'll be distracted from the danger.
- Never My Fault: Kaz's bleak, venomous rants about Paz during the infiltration will come across as this when Peace Walker reveals he was feeding information back to Cipher himself and acting as a double agent, making him utterly hypocritical when he was doing it out of choice and Paz was forced to do her work.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Huey was the one that called for the U.N. inspection in the first place, thinking it would bring greater publicity to MSF. Hoo, boy, was he wrong.
- It might be a subversion, since it can be interpreted that Huey was working for Cipher or XOF and betrayed MSF.
- Chico going off on his own to try and rescue Paz, only to get captured himself and forcing Snake to leave Mother Base ahead of the UN inspection to rescue them both, since Chico knows about Metal Gear ZEKE. Though, considering that the inspection was a front for an attack by XOF, this might have been a good thing.
- No-Gear Level: "Déjà Vu", much like the game it homages, has Snake start with no weapons, having to use whatever he can find. On subsequent playthroughs, Snake will have access to unlocked equipment.
- Nostalgia Level: The two "extra ops".
- "Déjà Vu" involves the player recreating scenes from MGS1 in Camp Omega. Reaching the goal after recreating all the scenes will unlock a quiz in which Miller will test the player's MGS1 knowledge. Answer all the questions correctly and the MGS1 version of Snake will be unlocked as a playable character for the mission. Playing as MGS1 Snake will cause all the Marines to be replaced with Genome Soldiers and the two POWs with Donald Anderson and Kenneth Baker, all of them using the same skin textures from the PS1 game. Clear the quiz again on Hard and Gray Fox will become a playable character as well.
- "Jamais Vu" features Raiden hunting down Snatchers disguised as Marines.
- Oh, Crap: Snake's reaction to learning that there's a bomb inside Paz, realizing that he was set up from the beginning.
- On Site Procurement: Zigzagged in Normal Mode, which starts every mission with a WU Silent Pistol and an AM MRS-4 Rifle. There are several weapons beyond your starters, though, which can only be mooched off Marines or found in warehouses. Played straight in Hard Mode, which starts you with nothing except grenades, empty magazines, and Night Vision Goggles, unless you have weapons already unlocked from a past run.
- OOC Is Serious Business: At the end of the game, the normally calm, collected Miller is absolutely furious at MSF being destroyed and tries to strangle Paz with his bare hands.
- Pre-Order Bonus: Or rather, a bonus for buying one of the first editions of Ground Zeroes. In any case, it allows you to transfer unspecified data from that game to The Phantom Pain - even across consoles (provided both consoles are exclusively Sony-related or Microsoft-related).
- In Europe, pre-ordering the PS3 version of the game would get you a free digital copy of Peace Walker HD Edition as well.
- In Japan, depending on where you preordered from, you could acquire a special item (a gun, a box, or a staff member) to transfer forward into Phantom Pain.
- Punch Clock Villain: The marines guarding Camp Omega talk more or less like normal people doing their job, which makes their indifference to the horrible torture all the more chilling.
- Put on a Bus: Strangelove, Cécile, and Amanda are all mentioned to have gone their separate ways from MSF shortly before the main story mission. Thankfully, this ensures their safety following the attack on Mother Base.
- Rape as Drama: Paz is raped by Skull Face in front of Chico.
- Recycled Soundtrack: The "Deja Vu" mission recycles several tunes from the original MGS, while remixing the Encounter theme for the alert status. "Jamais Vu" reuses background music from Snatcher and Metal Gear Rising.
- Remixes of the two standout songs from Peace Walker (the main theme and "Heavens Divide") appear from the get go with other tracks available by discovering tapes, ranging from a remix of the original Metal Gear Solid Encounter theme to the obligatory 8-bit rendition of "Theme Of Tara" from the original Metal Gear.
- Respawning Enemies: If you try to slay all the Marines in the area during a Combat Phase, more will show up to replace them until you get out of their sight.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Defied - Snake is about to take out the invading soldiers at Mother Base after rescuing Miller, but Miller tells him not to. He agrees for the time being and gets back into the chopper.
- Running Gag: The famous Moai heads are back, and you can find them while flying around in Intel Operative Rescue. Hard Mode even has a trial to complete for shooting them all.
- Sacrificial Lion: Paz dies in Ground Zeroes unexpectedly, and Snake's failure to save her is something that haunts him.
- Save Scumming: Discouraged by the scoring systemnote but still possible. If you play your cards right, you can take advantage of this and still earn an S-Rank.
- Schmuck Bait: Minor example. If you find the "Classified Intel Data" cassette tape, the description reads "Do not use in music players". As Snake uses a Walkman, the only thing you can play it in is a music player. Doing so results in seven seconds of high-pitched wails and static to play. Not terribly harmful, but useless.
- The intel is actually a spectrogram that displays a picture of a cage, much like the one Chico was held in.
- Scoring Points: Each mission is ranked using a points system similar to the VR Missions in Metal Gear Solid 2. Your rank (E, D, C, B, A or S) is based on how many points you score during the mission, with time having a heavy point weight ratio, but also accounting for enemies killed, how often you were spotted, whether you triggered Reflex mode, how many prisoners you rescued and how often you restarted from checkpoints.
- Semper Fi: Members of "Marine CP" guard Camp Omega.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: What drives Snake in Ground Zeroes is the fact that Chico and Paz have crucial information on MSF's enemies. The game ends with Paz exploding, and it's unclear if Chico survived the incident. Snake and Miller survive, although the former is placed in a coma.
- Shout-Out: Snake's rainy cliff face climb in the opening of Ground Zeroes is based on a scene in The Guns of Navarone. Kojima previously cited the film as an influence.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Both "Here's to You" and "Love Deterrence" appear several times in various audio files, and every situation the songs are used in are extremely grim. The latter plays when Snake rescues Paz from Camp Omega. The former, which eulogizes the execution of two innocent men, is hauntingly turned into a chilling battle march when it plays over a group of soldiers gearing up and going off to sneak attack Mother Base and indiscriminately slaughter MSF.
- Special Effects Failure: A VERY minor, VERY nitpicky one. The marines, when reloading their rifles, will insert the new magazine, and then slap a bolt catch, as if it were a M-16 rifle (the rifle used by the Marines to this day) However when Snake reloads the rifle, he racks the charging handle after loading in the new magazine, showing that the AM-69 doesn't use a bolt catch. This is probably because the motion capture actors were military, and they did their reflexive reload motion on a M-16 placeholder prop, due to the fact that the AM-69 is an entirely made up rifle.
- Super Drowning Skills: As there is no swimming mechanic in this game trying to go into the water surrounding the base will kill Snake instantly. Snake drowning from landing in the water would make sense if he were to jump from one of the higher cliff faces — not so much with the cliff faces that are elevated a very small distance above the water. Justified in the long run for one simple reason — there's nothing really worth exploring in the surrounding shore line, your objective is in Camp Omega.
- Tech Demo Game: For the Fox Engine - or at least it was initially presented as such.
- Time Travel: Explanation behind Raiden's appearance in the "Jamais Vu" mission, being thrust around 40-plus years into the past. Notably, he works alongside Big Boss and his plight is not Played for Laughs unlike in Metal Gear Raiden: Snake Eraser... or rather, not nearly as much as it was back then.
- Thousand-Yard Stare: In the GDC 2013 trailer there is a scene where Snake is riding around in a helicopter as he stares off distantly into the horizon, his face characterized by a blood splattered forehead and a hollow expression. Given the wounds on his face this is in the aftermath of Paz's death via time bomb and the subsequent helicopter crash he went through as a result giving him good reason to be so upset.
- Torture Always Works: Skull Face tortured Chico to get information out of him. It didn't take long for the poor kid to break under the pressure and talk.
- Trojan Horse: The mission spearheaded by XOF and Cipher is called "Operation Trojan Horse" for a reason. Specifically, the plan is to lure Snake out into Camp Omega to rescue Chico and Paz while XOF, disguised as UN inspectors, infiltrate and destroy Mother Base. It succeeds.
- Unexpected Shmup Level: When exfiltrating by chopper, each mission ends with a brief rail-shooting segment. Rescue The Intel Operative is almost entirely a rail shooter by itself.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: Jamais Vu is much faster-paced with less emphasis on stealth...unless you're going for an S rank.
- Unstoppable Rage: At the end of Ground Zeroes, as Mother Base burns to the ground and his loyal soldiers die one by one, Snake roars back into the losing battle just to kill a few more XOF grunts. This from a soldier who almost never loses his composure. If this is any indication how far he's willing to go for revenge in The Phantom Pain... it might be best to just start running for cover now.
- Video Game Caring Potential: You're highly encouraged to go out of your way to rescue various prisoners located throughout the map. Extracting them gives you a massive point bonus, and you usually have to do to this to get an S ranking.
- Video Game Tutorial: According to Word of God, Ground Zeroes itself is one massive tutorial to help hardcore fans get used to the new Wide Open Sandbox stealth mechanics.
- Wham Line: When Paz wakes up after the escape from Mother Base, she drops a bombshell on Snake:
Paz: The bomb, there's...
Snake: It's all right, we got it out.
Paz: There's another... In my...
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Huey is mysteriously missing during the attack on Mother Base, and nobody addresses his disappearance in the ending. However, the trailers for The Phantom Pain spoil the fact that he is alive and well, as he would have to be for continuity purposes.
- Whole Episode Flashback: The side ops unlocked after beating the main story of Ground Zeroes could be considered this. With the exception of the clearly non-canon Extra Ops, each is a "pseudo historical recreation" of one of Snake's repeated infiltrations of Camp Omega between the Peace Walker and Ground Zeroes Incidents. They detail MSF's discovery of Cipher's involvement in the camp and their initial investigations of the mysterious XOF unit prior to the main story.
- Why Am I Ticking?: After Snake rescues Paz, he finds that there's a bomb stitched inside her. With no clear indication of when the bomb is going to go off, Snake orders his soldiers to extract the bomb from her stomach without anesthetic. Unfortunately, that wasn't the only bomb.
- Word Salad Title: The term Ground Zeroes is never used in the game, and even if it's subtle foreshadowing to the destruction of Mother Base, it's still a singular term; there don't seem to be any other "Ground Zeroes" aside from that one.
- X Meets Y: Mission rankings are a combination of the Scoring Points system in Metal Gear Solid 2's VR Missions and the letter ranking system in Peace Walker.
- You Are Too Late: By the time Snake catches wind of XOF's plan to destroy Mother Base, the attack has already begun. Also, he ends up realizing too late that Paz had a second bomb inside of her.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Mother Base, Snake's offshore research station home during Peace Walker, is destroyed in the game's prologue by XOF.
- Younger Than They Look: At the start of the story mission, Snake appears to have gray hair thanks to the new lighting engine.
Tropes in The Phantom Pain
- Abandoned Hospital Awakening: Snake wakes up from a nine year coma to find everyone fleeing the hospital he's in as a black ops team storms the building.
- 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.
- An Arm and a Leg: 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bad Dreams: Tramautic events from Snake's past in Metal Gear Solid 3, Peace Walker and Ground Zeroes appear to him as fiery hallucinations of enemies he's killed.
- Bag of Spilling: Snake not only loses the Mother Base and his organization, but also his peak physical conditioning, reducing the Legendary Soldier to a skinny near invalid.
- Blood-Splattered Warrior: One scene in the E3 2014 trailer has Snake's face literally covered in blood.
- Bounty Hunter: According to an interview with Did You Know Gaming?, cashing in on bounties will be one of the kinds of side missions available.
- Canine Companion: In the TGS 2014 presentation, Snake encounters an orphaned wolf-dog cub and fultons it back to Mother Base, suggesting that like sheep and horses dogs will be a staple animal companion. At Mother Base, Ocelot introduces the same cub to Snake, which he named D.D. to serve as the mascot of their Diamond Dog namesake. D.D. then runs up to Snake and affectionately jumps at his leg, leading to a hug from Snake as the dog eagerly licks the man's face, all the while Ocelot smiles approvingly. A time skip then occurs where D.D. is a mature wolf and jumps in the helicopter with Snake as they prepare for the next mission.
- Call Back:
- Snake experiences hallucinations of The Boss and Volgin from Metal Gear Solid 3.
- Snake eventually gets a left hand version of Zadornov's prosthetic right arm from Peace Walker. Kojima has said that one of the functions available will be the Rocket Punch that Zadornov attempts on Snake.
- Call Forward: Ocelot has grown a mustache and started wearing a duster, referencing his outfit in the chronologically later Metal Gear Solid.
- In Metal Gear 2, it's mentioned off-hand that Big Boss might had gotten cybernetic implants between games. In The Phantom Pain, he actually does get a robotic arm to replace his amputated one.
- 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.
- Controllable Helplessness: During the siege on the hospital, Snake can barely crawl after nine years in a coma.
- 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: The young boy in the gas mask, 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.
- Defeat Equals Friendship: Fulton Recovery Balloons will return.
- 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:
- Distracted by the Sexy: Ditching the Books seen in every other title, The Phantom Pain reimagines this with a brand new cardboard box with a front that unfolds to reveal a pinup girl when Snake stands. 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 standing cardboard box. Guards who come close can then be immediately CQC'd for a quick knockout. A different box type folds out to the side, allowing Snake to dive out the side of the box to stealthily escape.
- Easy-Mode Mockery: Variant. A chicken hat will be available ingame to anyone who dies often (much like the corpse camo from Metal Gear Solid 4) which will make enemies notice Snake more slowly.
- The Eighties: The main story is set in 1984. Kojima admitted the year was partially chosen in reference to George Orwell's 1984, and to have each Big Boss game take place in a different decade.note
- Equipment Upgrade: Snake's prosthetic arm can be swapped out with different, better arms that perform different functions, such as a gold arm that shocks an enemy into submission like the Stun Rod from Peace Walker.
- The Binoculars can be upgraded with the Analyzer to scan an enemy's stats, just like the Analyzer from Peace Walker.
- Escort Mission: Inverted in the hospital level. The player controls a vulnerable Snake as he is being escorted by the bandaged "Ishmael".
- The E3 2013 trailer shows gameplay of footage of Snake escorting Miller out of Afghanistan, although like Chico and Paz in Ground Zeroes, Miller is immobile and must be carried.
- Every Scar Has A Story: The shrapnel-horn on Snake's head in The Phantom Pain comes from an accident that occurs during the hospital escape sequence from The Phantom Pain.
- Everything Trying to Kill You:
- 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.
- Face-Heel Turn: The Phantom Pain will be showing Big Boss' final steps from well-meaning anti-hero to the Big Bad of the first two games.
- Fan Disservice: A hot bikini clad mute sniper girl? Nice. Said hot bikini clad mute sniper girl being tortured with electric rods? Not nice.
- Fantastic Drug: Averted. When Snake 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 Snake to literally crawl after him.
- Fast-Forward Mechanic: Smoking Snake's Phantom Cigar can accelerate time.
- Final Death: Snake's on-field partners can be permanently killed if the player is not careful according to an interview with Kojima.
- Fingerless Gloves: Snake wears a black fingerless glove over his right hand.
- Ground Punch: One of the prosthetic arm's functions allows Snake to punch the ground, emitting a shockwave that temporarily reveals nearby living things.
- Hallucinations: Snake sees several apparitions during the escape from the hospital, including demonic versions of what appear to be Volgin and The Boss (along with her horse) and a flying whale.
- 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, a young boy in a gas mask, and some agile bald techno-ninjas—do not have a name given at all, just a subtitle that says "Those Who 'Do Not Exist'."
- Hook Hand: What Snake initially has in place of a left hand after waking up from the coma.
- Horned Humanoid: After getting a piece of shrapnel lodged in his forehead in just the right way, Snake becomes one of a sort.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Downplayed. Just like past games, Snake still carries an improbably large amount of stuff on his person. However, the actual amount of stuff he can carry has been reduced to realistic proportions, including two main weapons, one sub weapon, and some small support items (barring the ever-present cardboard box). Snake can still swap gear just like Old Snake in Metal Gear Solid 4, but it costs GMP to deploy and isn't instant.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: As shown in the E3 2014 demonstration, Quiet is apparently capable of sniping an airborne grenade into a helicopter to blow it up.
- In-Universe Game Clock
- 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.
- 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.
- Killed Off for Real: Kojima has claimed that if any of the AI companions you bring with you into the field die, they are killed permanently.
- Loyal Animal Companion: So far, Snake is confirmed to be able to obtain a horse and a Badass wolf.
- 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.
- Mood Dissonance/Soundtrack Dissonance: The E3 trailer triumphantly proclaims "Snake is Back" with a dramatic song playing at the background while cutting to a scene of Snake putting Chico in a stranglehold and (possibly) gunning down a group of caged African peasants.
- 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.
- Nerf: While Fulton Recovery Balloons can now be used on things besides soldiers, they now also have a certain chance of failing, and it costs Snake money to use one. Unlike Peace Walker, attempting to use the Fulton Recovery System indoors will lead to the balloon bursting against the ceiling.
- 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.
- Old Save Bonus: Bonuses from Ground Zeroes can be imported into a new game of Phantom Pain - notably, any living prisoner and soldier Snake extracts in the former become additional Mother Base staff members in the latter.
- 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.
- Out of the Inferno: Snake and Ishmael get caught in an explosion, only for Snake to hallucinate a ghostly Volgin walking out of the inferno.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: One box front unfolds into a cardboard cutout of a saluting soldier, which suspicious guards will automatically mistake for one of their own, salute back, and go on their merry way.
- 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.
- Primal Fear: Being helpless and unable to move properly, losing parts of your body, and being relentlessly hunted are all common themes in nightmares.
- Product Placement: Snake wears a 1980s Seiko digital watch, based on one Kojima owns.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: The name Code Talker seems to be derided as silly Gratuitous English, but it's a real codename.
- 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.
- 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."
- Snake hallucinates a giant white whale covered in flames flying through the sky.
- "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 a 2004 comic, 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.
- Snake holding D.D. up is one to The Lion King.
- Shown Their Work: Jay Tavare, Code Talker's voice/motion capture actor, claims that his character would speak 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
- Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan: After escaping from the hospital, Snake has to rescue Miller from the Soviets in Afghanistan so he can rebuild his private army.
- 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.
- Time Skip: While Ground Zeroes is set shortly after the events of Peace Walker, The Phantom Pain is set nine years later in 1984, just a decade before the events of the first Metal Gear. Game Informer's timeline also implies that there's a smaller time skip between Snake's hospital escape and the formation of Diamond Dogs. Presumably, this is to facilitate Snake's physical rehabilitation after escaping from the hospital.
- 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, including being able to pop out the top to shoot enemies, catch enemies and Fulton them away, and dive out the side in case guards come to check the box.
- Villain Song: "Sins of the Father" can be considered one for Snake and his allies.
- 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 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 Shot: The E3 2014 trailer has one - it shows Skull Face walking freely with Snake in the hangar where a new type of Metal Gear similar to ZEKE and REX is being held.
- Whole Costume Reference
- The gas mask-wearing child looks suspiciously like Psycho Mantis, while Eli wears an outfit similar to what Liquid Snake later wears.
- Snake's main wardrobe in Afghanistan resembles what The Boss wore during Operation Snake Eater, complete with ponytail and scarf. His new sneaking suit (as seen in the TGS 2014 gameplay footage) resembles the one that would later be worn by his clone in MGS1.
- Winged Unicorn: The hospital level features a setpiece where a horse with a horn and wings made of fire chases after Snake.
- 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.
V has come to.