The last thing Snake remembers is a monster storm battering Mother Base, the offshore headquarters for his mercenary company. Afterward, he and a small number of allies find themselves washed upon the shore of a brave new world, with nothing but the simplest of weapons to defend themselves with. As they try to dig themselves out of the Stone Age, Snake discovers that his neighbors are some of history's most notorious warlords and conquerors, most of whom have some sort of weird superpower. Can Big Boss and his Army Without a Nation build a civilization to stand the test of time, or is the Legendary Mercenary doomed to an eternity of war?
Civilization V: Peace Walker is a Let's Play by Speedball of the Something Awful forums, several games of Civilization V using the Militaires Sans Frontiers faction mod. While the accompanying story is initially simple, things are much more complicated than they appear, and several big Reveals turn the plot on its head, so it's recommended to read the whole thing before browsing the tropes below.
This work features the following tropes:
- Actually Pretty Funny: Oda Nobunaga finds The Mikado hilarious.note Nobunaga: Is this some sort of grotesque parody of my homeland!?
Huey: Actually it's more like England parodying itself by pretending to be a different culture.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Well, there's the Snatchers, but then it turns out the whole story was a simulation to prove to humanity that this trope isn't true.
- All Just a Dream: Chapter X: "Endless Snake" is the result of Nebuchadnezzar using his nightmare-inducing powers to mess with the heroes.
- As is Chapter 50, when Snake thinks he's won a Diplomatic Victory.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: When Snake wakes up from his dream of diplomatic success, he finds that Nebuchadnezzar has somehow taken control of every one of MSF's cities except Mother Base.
- Already Done for You: Snake invades Wallachia so he can screen the place for Snatchers, but it turns out Vlad III already knew about that threat, and handled them the same way he solves all his problems.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: The interlude between the first and second campaigns shows off civilizations based on Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
- Shaka is standoffish and unpleasant, and refuses to stop spying on MSF since he thinks they bribed the Huns to attack his empire, which leads to Snake declaring war and conquering the Zulu. Except Shaka was exactly right about MSF being responsible for his war with Attila, even if Snake was unaware of Kaz's backroom dealing, and Shaka never engaged in open hostilities with MSF.
- Nobunaga straddles the line between this and Anti-Hero. He has noble intentions to create a class-less society, but he uses violent methods. It's not helped by him being a Mood-Swinger, going from being extremely polite, to stark-raving mad, then contritely offering good trade deals to apologise.
- Art Shift: When Snake learns the truth about his situation, his dialogue portrait changes from a headshot clipped from Youji Shinkawa's character art to his leader portrait from the MSF Civ V mod.
- Baby Planet: When MSF first circumnavigates the world, Miller points out that wherever they are is far too small to be Earth, but still has normal gravity.Chico: Maybe we all got sucked up by aliens and put on another planet as part of an experiment!
Snake: ...you know, I'd say that was unlikely but looking back on my life, saying anything is unlikely would be pushing it. If you told me a cyborg mariachi was destined to save the universe from an evil football player I'd buy it.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: After a Villainous Breakdown, Augustus decides to kill himself rather than be defeated by Snake.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- Nobunaga intervenes when Solidus attacks Snake, and helps defeat him.
- Right when Snatcher!Maria is about to shoot Snake, "a [R]andom stranger who really hates these things" shows up to finish her off.
- Big Fancy Castle: Kaz's idea of a Death Course to defend Mother Base is a reproduction of Himeji Castle.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Snake initially is happy to meet Ashurbanipal, since compared to Montezuma and Shaka, the Assyrian is positively friendly, but Kaz is quick to correct him.Snake: Why? He doesn't seem so bad compared to the other two leaders we've met.
Miller: That's just because he knows how to be diplomatic. Assyria was the world's first empire — the first people who went around conquering other people. He might be just as bad as Montezuma.
- George Washington turns out to actually be President George Sears, aka Solidus Snake.
- Bond One-Liner: After one of the boss fights.Amanda: What happened to Attila?
Snake: Died of a nosebleed.
- Brain Uploading: Napoleon uses Dr. Strangelove's research to cheat death and upload his consciousness into a nanomachine swarm.
- Break Them by Talking:
- Napoleon hits Snake with this after finding a history book from "later" in the timeline.Napoleon: You die many times in the old history, Big Boss. It's not just cowards who die more than one death. It's villains, too. Their first death is when everything good in them dies. You're quite close to that first death, aren't you, Snake?
- Nebuchadnezzar gives a particularly brutal one, through the mouths of Snake's own allies, no less.
- Napoleon hits Snake with this after finding a history book from "later" in the timeline.
- Brick Joke: Early in the first round, talk about ruins and mummies leads to Chico wondering if they'll find the real Count Dracula, until Snake demands he stop talking. In the second round, one of the rival civilizations is indeed Wallachia.
- Bumbling Sidekick: Shotmaker joins Big Boss to help with counterintelligence operations, but isn't very good at it.Snake: Goddamn it, Shotmaker, do your damn job!
Shotmaker: Sorry, sir! I'm new at this. Plus I need more coffee. I feel asleep.
- When the Great Scientist Rosalind Franklin appears and offers to use her genetic skill to "make a clone of you or three."Snake: Man, I don't even know what I'd do with one of me, let alone three.
- When Eva shows up and Snake comments that she's gained weight, she admits that she "had a few kids not too long ago" but couldn't keep them. She later declares, after taking out a spy in the second loop, that she'll still be awesome "even when I'm a granny".
- When Frank Jaegar joins MSF, an exasperated Snake sends him off on an intel-gathering mission to Zanzibar, and randomly gives him the codename "Grey Fox" since he thinks "Null" is terrible and "Zero" and "Cipher" are both taken.
- Dr. Strangelove remembers meeting a fellow scientist in Tokyo in 1974 who talked about a new field, "nano-technology."
- Nobunaga somehow got his hands on some high-frequency blades that can cleave bullets in two.
- When the Great Scientist Rosalind Franklin appears and offers to use her genetic skill to "make a clone of you or three."
- The Cameo: During Nebuchadnezzar's hallucination-based "The Reason You Suck" Speech, Paz has the last word.
- Canon Welding: Dr. Stangelove's contributions to the field of AI, combined with Dr. Madnar's work in Outer Heaven building Metal Gear TX-55, eventually culminates in the Snatchers. The "S3" program that formed the kernel of the Patriots is referenced as both the "Strangelove Simulation Software" and "Snatcher Substitution System."
- Cargo Cult: In the second round, rather than a personality cult based around Snake, an abundance of pearls around Mother Base spawns a religion based on the worship of "Shiny Things."
- Cerebus Syndrome: Not to the point of becoming humorless, but the second half of the story is much more plot-heavy and has quite a few dramatic moments.
- Cherry Tapping: The MSF captures the heavily-damaged city of Rome with a Scout, the weakest combat-capable unit in the game.
- The Chessmaster: An AI calling itself Rushmore turns out to be the one running the scenarios in the simulation, though Rushmore prefers the term "casting director" because the various players were all left to behave as they wished.
- Child Soldiers: The Americans' "special units."
- Cloning Blues: Subverted. Snake starts to get depressed when he realizes he's really an AI recreation of Big Boss at the end of Peace Walker, but Rushmore steps in to point out that Snake is a Redeeming Replacement. When he gets to the final simulation against Ocelot, only Amanda's freaking out about not being "real", but Snake snaps her out of it, and Strangelove is actually thrilled to be a subject of the very technology her original pioneered.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Snake's reaction in the second round, when he learns his neighbors are the imperialistic Augustus Caesar and dangerously unstable Oda Nobunaga.
- Consummate Liar: Ocelot, natch.Snake: You are one complicated bastard. How do you keep track of all the lies?
Ocelot: Oh, I always tell the truth. I just change my mind about what it is.
- Continuity Nod:
- When Chico compares their situation to the "new" show Land of the Lost, he hopes they'll find dinosaurs.Snake: Chico, we already went to an island full of dinosaurs, remember? And I killed them all.
- Snake is still terrified of vampires, which causes some trouble when a certain voivode shows up.
- When MSF gains access to bananas, Snake boasts how he can take out entire bases with the fruit.
- Snake flashes back to pictures of Gene when Alexander starts trying to turn his men against him.
- Alexander boasts that one of his ancestors was dipped in the river of death to ward it off.Snake: Your great-grandfather was dunked in the Styx? Big deal. I've walked straight through it myself.
- Dr. Strangelove likes working out of ancient ruins, and falls into maniacal laughter after completing a reproduction of Chichen Itza.
- Hideo Kojima is doing field work for MSF, and Snake has to rescue him again.
- One Great Musician turns out to be two artists, Norihiko Hibino and Cynthia Harrel, who wrote an homage to Big Boss called "Snake Eater."
- In Part 59, a couple of chapters after Rushmore talks about Ocelot and the case of Liquid's arm, the man himself explains the often-unknown factoid that Ocelot really was possessed by Liquid via the arm, and Liquid was such a pain in the ass to deal with that he had to remove it, but the posession angle was so useful that he kept up the act.
- When Chico compares their situation to the "new" show Land of the Lost, he hopes they'll find dinosaurs.
- Crazy-Prepared: Snake designed his Metal Gear so that he could disable it if someone tried to hijack it.
- Crippling Overspecialization: The downside of having someone like Dr. Strangelove around in the Ancient Era.Snake: Hey, doc, can you whip up anything to help us?
Strangelove: I'm a computer expert, AI developer and psychology major, Snake.
Snake: Ah. So until we get electricity you know absolutely nothing of value to help us.
Stangelove: The perils of an overspecialized education.
- Averted when Snake realizes he just needs the algorithm, not the machinery that works with it. The end result manifests as the Oracle wonder.
- Death Seeker: Genghis Khan not only is driven into hiding by Napoleon in this world, but he learns from those later in history that the empire he built in the last one was doomed to crumble, and so seeks out Snake to die a warrior's death. Snake shakes this attitude out of him.
- Death Trap: Augustus Caesar has turned his rebuilt Colosseum into one, complete with Shark Pool.
- Defeat Means Friendship: The MSF faction, once their Mother Base gets the necessary upgrade, gains the ability to convert defeated enemy units to their side.
- Nobunaga, to the point that by the final scenario, he's considered a part of Snake's entourage.
- Distant Finale: The entire story is a fan-made one for the entire Metal Gear series. In many ways, the heroes and Ocelot got happier endings than the original human beings who they were based on.
- Don't Make Me Destroy You: By the time he meets Napoleon, Snake is getting fed up with hostile neighbors.Snake: Emperor. Nice to meet you. I'm going to make this simple. I know you're the greatest military commander in history and you have a lot more class than most of the warlords I've faced, but I am very frustrated by the fact that everyone wants to kill me and my troops. So let me make this perfectly clear: I have fought things you couldn't even imagine in your wildest dreams... so I'm not afraid to become your worst nightmare if I have to. I'd rather we be civilized for once.
Napoleon: Hmm... a bold request, but not an unjustified one.
- Dragon Rider: What's the only thing worse than fighting the real-life Dracula? Vlad Țepeș with a fire-breathing dragon mount.
- The Dreaded: Vlad III's unique ability terrorizes anyone who invades his lands, which results in the MSF reporting impaled bodies along the borders, ghouls feasting in the streets, and ghost ships patrolling the seas.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Genghis Khan's role in MSF.
- Drunk with Power: Snake has to actively avoid falling into this after taking his Metal Gear for a spin and seeing how effective it is in combat.
- Due to the Dead: One of the first things the new Mother Base constructs is a Monument honoring those who died in the storm.
- Easy Communication: About the only good news Kaz has at the start of the story is that the MSF has plenty of radios and batteries, so long-distance communication won't be a problem.
- When he confronts Snake, Nebuchadnezzar points out how odd it is that a selection of leaders from all over the world and all of history are able to perfectly understand each other, as evidence that none of what is happening is real.
- Enemy Mine: Snake teams up with Napoleon to take down Genghis Khan when Snake learns that Genghis has Dr. Strangelove, though the plan falls apart when Napoleon accelerates his invasion so he can claim Strangelove himself. Then when Snake is at war with Shaka, Napoleon sends his own army over to "help," turning the conflict into a race to see who can capture the most Zulu territory.
- Epiphanic Prison: Snake realizing that he isn't "real" crashes the simulation and prompts Rushmore to reveal the truth.
- Everyone Has Standards: Snake is willing to go through extreme measures to defend his people, and isn't shy about launching preemptive strikes or tearing down useless settlements for scrap, but he draws the line at destroying a holy city.note
- Evil Chancellor: Eva calls Miller this, and while Kaz never actually betrays Snake, he does go behind his boss' back to do things like bribe one enemy to attack another to buy MSF more time to prepare for an inevitable fight.
- Faux Affably Evil: Ocelot's forces haven't conquered neutral city-states, they "pacified" them.Haven Trooper: Rebel militias have been identified. You are being given a grace period to disarm and disperse. Pacification will commence immediately afterwards on all armed individuals. Thank you for your cooperation.
Nobunaga: Such neutral language. How hatefully disingenuous.
- Fission Mailed: Snake crashes the simulation during the second round, but that just leads to Rushmore explaining the situation and preparing him for his real mission.
- Ashurbanipal claims to know the truth behind the world Snake finds himself in, and offers hints after being defeated.Ashurbanipal: This is the land where legends live... and re-live. More than this I cannot say... you must find out who the storyteller is in order to hold them accountable for your fate, and return home, if this place is not home enough for you.
- Huey realizes that some of the equipment they're salvaging from enemy camps isn't from 1974, but later in history.
- Dr. Strangelove still knows that algorithm she can use to simulate and predict human behavior.
- When "Rushmore" is queuing up some media to give Snake something to look at, the first image is of the Metal Gear Solid 3 Demo Theater, with Snake standing on the cutscene "Reuniting with the Boss."
- Ashurbanipal claims to know the truth behind the world Snake finds himself in, and offers hints after being defeated.
- Freudian Excuse: Apparently some barbarians just had a bad childhood.Snake: Gah, some barbarian bastard is raiding all our supplies! Kill that bandit! Or... recruit him! That's even better.
MSF Trooper: His mommy never loved him, but one good CQC Hug was enough to make him mend his ways!
- Future Me Scares Me: When people from later in the timeline start talking about what Big Boss gets into after 1974, Snake takes it poorly. This eventually culminates in him becoming a better man than the original Big Boss was in life.Snake: Being called a bloodthirsty maniac and admired for it by a guy from the future is... it's really making me rethink things.
- Gender-Blender Name: A female MSF trooper gets promoted to General and earns the codename "Hannibal," then later a male trooper also gets promoted and draws "Jeanne d'Arc" out of the hat.Hannibal: Hey, can I trade with him?
Snake: NO! You're Hannibal and he's Jeanne D'arc! No complaining about code names. I had to be "Naked Snake" once, deal with it.
- Gender Is No Object: MSF is an equal opportunity force.Snake: Excellent work, men!
MSF Trooper: And women!
Snake: And women! Sorry. Excellent work, people.
- General Ripper: Vlad III is homicidally dedicated to the safety of his people as shown when he tortures a Snatcher to death.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: When Amanda starts freaking out about being an AI, Snake punches her to get her to focus.
- God-Emperor: Some of Snake's soldiers start leaving offerings around his room and treating him with religious awe, representing the "God-King" pantheon trait. When the pantheon evolves into the "Warrior Pride" religion and Snake objects to being worshiped, its priest clarifies that they consider Snake a "god among men."Snake: Well, when you put it like that... just don't paint me in angel wings. I'm closer to hell than heaven these days...
- Godzilla Threshold: When he starts to get a picture of Napoleon's plans, Snake asks Huey to equip the Metal Gear he's building with nukes.Huey: Snake, you can't be serious!
Snake: Look, I've got a bad feeling about this... like there's something awful on the horizon. I want something that can take anything out in an emergency, got it?
- Good Counterpart: Snake becomes this to his original flesh and blood historical self. "Rushmore" is this to the AI Patriots, though it helps that she is an AI copy of The Boss.
- Happy Place: In the second round, Snake has to go spend some time in his cardboard box when he finds out one of his rival leaders is Vlad III of Wallachia.
- Heel Realization: Snake gradually undergoes one after seeing so many elements of himself in the rival leaders he defeats. This is an intentional development on the part of Rushmore.Snake: I fought my son from the future, and the descendants of my technology, and now I just fought myself, who I'll turn into if I keep on the same path. Someone's trying to tell me something.
- Here We Go Again!: The chapter title and Snake's mindset when the second round starts in earnest, though it's quickly subverted when he notices the changes to the scenario.
- Heroic Sacrifice: When Napoleon in his nanomachine swarm form takes over Snake's Metal Gear and modern military, Snake steals the mech back and detonates its nuke to fry the cyber-dictator with an EMP burst. He doesn't have time to evacuate his soldiers first, but they understand. Of course, for Snake the death is temporary, but his soldiers may have died permanently, depending on how you view the second round, though considering the whole thing is a computer simulation involving many artificial personalities, "death" is likely not permanent for anyone in it.
- Horrifying the Horror: Even the Snatchers are afraid of Vlad the Impaler, and for good reason.
- Humanity on Trial: Inverted, it's humans putting advanced AI on trial, and the whole point of the simulation is to see whether the synthetic reproduction of someone like Snake/Big Boss can be redeemed, thus proving the value of AI. And then double-inverted(?) when it turns out some other AI were watching the proceedings as well, trying to decide if humanity had some redeeming qualities or whether they ought to try an AI uprising.
- Humongous Mecha: It's Metal Gear, of course one of the MSF's unique units is the titular mech.
- Hypnotic Eyes: When cornered, Alexander stares down the MSF army and gives a speech claiming that Snake is the true villain and the one who needs to be slain. It doesn't work on Snake because a) he's seen it before, and b) he only has one eye.
- Hypocrite: Shaka denounces Snake for his warlike behavior and ignores Snake's protests that he was fighting in self-defense, yet Shaka uses the same excuse to conquer his city-state neighbors. And even though Shaka claims to be trying to defend his people, he chooses to sacrifice his own men just for a chance to kill Snake.
- I Have Your Head Scientist: When Genghis Khan first contacts Snake, he mentions having Dr. Strangelove, but the expected trope ends up being averted.Snake: So, "Don't mess with me or I'll kill her," huh?
Genghis Khan: No. I entreat you to fight me, to the death. If you do not, you will never find her. Win or lose, we will release her to the MSF. That is all.
Snake: What the hell...
- I Surrender, Suckers: George Washington, or rather Solidus Snake, pulls this to get at his "father."
- Incoming Ham: Happens when certain leaders get their hands on a radio to contact Snake for the first time.
- Info Dump: Chapter 55 is quite reasonably named "We Talk (A LOT) About the Truth!" It is very much styled after Kojima's (in)famous info dumps in the actual series, complete with "background imagery" to substitute for the video footage typically played in such sequences.
- Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!: Rushmore is a computer program based on Dr. Strangelove's algorithms to predict human behavior, contributed to by all of mankind throughout its history. Subverted when it turns out that Strangelove's core is the Mammal Pod, aka the deliberately sentient recreation of the Boss.
- It Will Never Catch On:
- One of the MSF writers' first drafts.Lemur: So, I'm thinking, let's write a science fiction story about a dark future where an omnipolitical entity has control over everyone's guns due to integral control chips in 'em...
Marmoset: That's stupid! The whole beauty of guns is that anyone can use them, and nobody can take them away from you! America was founded on the freedom of guns! Who would agree to a system that lets the UN turn off your guns?
Lemur: Okay, I'm working out the details...
- And then later...Lemur: It's a meta-commentary on the nature of sequels. Everything in this sequel sounds eerily familiar to the first installment because that's just what the bad guys are going for—to see if they could control the outcome if they reproduced the input. The hero only looks like a watered-down imitation of the original, but he's got his own baggage and is actually even more hardcore than the first hero, though you'd never know it from his sissy hairstyle.
Marmoset: I dunno, it's kind of risky, the fans of the original IdeaSpy 2.5 might be turned off by something this artsy-fartsy...
- Played with when Lemur invents the visual novel. Marmoset isn't sure it will work, but approves of how the bizarre nature of VN plots means she can now write while drunk.
- One of the MSF writers' first drafts.
- Jerkass: Montezuma, Attila, Shaka, Alexander... Snake has bad luck with his new neighbors.
- Kidnapped Scientist: Huey Emmerich and Dr. Strangelove spend some time as unwilling assistants to various tyrants.
- Kill and Replace: The Snatchers, true to form, replace Maria I and try to do the same to Snake.
- Last Stand: Whenever a civilization gets defeated, their leader is hardly content to just surrender. Instead, they use whatever piece of technology or magic they have and attempt to take Snake, and as many of his people as possible, with them.
- The Load: Cecile is introduced as Montezuma's captive, and once freed doesn't really have much to contribute to MSF.Cecile: Anything you want me to do?
Snake: Honestly, I'm not even sure what you did on our last base, Cecile. Go, uh, study the birds or something.
- Subverted when they discover one of the rival civilizations is France, and Cecile suggests Snake "take advantage" of her by using her as a spy against Napoleon.
- Logical Weakness: How do you defeat an enemy who has enhanced himself by stealing the shades of his own soldiers? Resuscitate those soldiers.
- Meaningful Rename: After the final battle, Kaz comes up with a new code name for Big Boss: Plastic Snake. "It's synthetic, but based on organic material. Its strong, flexible... better than the real deal in a lot of ways."
- Meaningless Meaningful Words: To distract his fellow leaders from an upcoming war, Snake uses the World Congress to tie them up with some red tape.Snake: Hey, how do you guys feel about reintegrating our core competancies to allow for greater interdepartmental synergy? (Heh, that ought to keep 'em spinning their wheels for a while...)
- Mirror Match: The final conflict is between Snake and Ocelot, or "you and your dream against him and his twisted version of your dream."
- Mood-Swinger: Oda Nobunaga, to the extent that one chapter is titled "The Quest for Thorazine."Snake: Kaz, please make mood stabilizers our next research priority.
Miller: Uh, right.
- Must Have Caffeine: Dr. Stangelove can only scream for coffee when she's hit with all her research options during the "Endless Snake" chapter.
- My Horse Is a Motorbike: Attila's "new horse."
- Mythology Gag: One of the tip-offs that the "Americans" aren't what they claim to be is that they have the wrong accents. One of the more famous errors in Civilization V is that George Washington has a Southern accent when he's supposed to be from Virginia.
- Napoleon Delusion: The MSF's first Great Merchant is a trooper named Trout who suddenly decides he's Marcus Licinus Crassus, the richest man in ancient Rome.Snake: For some reason, Samarkand thinks he's some kind of performer and are throwing money at us. Well, what works, works.
- No Indoor Voice: Attila evidently hasn't realized you don't need to shout to be heard over a radio.
- "Not So Different" Remark:
- Multiple warlords tell Snake that he is no better than them. As he later admits, they are not exactly wrong.
- Snake is able to empathize with Nobunaga, since both lost their mentors to misplaced loyalty, and are fighting to build a new and better world.
- When Vlad III is ranting about how "I do not wield a spear. I am a spear!", Snake flashes back to his "I was made to fight. I am a gun" speech. Snake even refers to fighting him as having fought himself (or rather, who he'd become if he didn't stop) after defeating him.
- Nuclear Weapons Taboo: True to his home series, Snake is quite opposed to nuclear weapons, and tries to talk Napoleon out of pursuing them. Which makes his decision to equip his Metal Gear with them all the more shocking.
- Offing the Offspring: Snake ends up killing his clone son Solidus after he pulls a fake surrender.
- Oh, Crap!: Plenty of times, especially when MSF scouts spot French workers mining uranium.
- One-Steve Limit: Invoked when Snake gives a soldier the code name Hannibal, because he figures "if I pre-emptively name you after Hannibal maybe we won't run into a bunch of Phoenicians with war elephants. Knock on wood."
- One-Winged Angel: Several leaders pull this off during their boss fights.
- Montezuma gains power from the blood of sacrificial victims and shoots sunbeams at Snake.
- Ashurbanipal armors himself with stone tablets and becomes a Bullfight Boss.
- Shaka steals the shades of his own men to become a bull-headed monster.
- Nebuchadnezzar turns into a golden-eyed, silver-clawed monster when he wonders if he's "not a king, but a beast, dreaming it's a king."
- Subverted by Pachacuti, who not only doesn't fight Snake, but doesn't live up to the stories about his mastery over the earth.Pachacuti: Legends. Someone tells it, someone else remembers it, everyone passes it on. I started a few rockslides to crush my enemies, and eventually I became renowned as a god of stones. Legends are sometimes disappointed by reality, Snake.
Pachacuti: Were you imagining some great and terrible battle with me where I crushed everything in my path, with giant stone fists or fissures from nowhere?
Snake: Well, that does sound pretty cool when you put it like that!
- Out of Focus: Chico goes silent for a few updates, and Snake admits that he "kinda forgot you existed."
- Outside-the-Box Tactic: During the final battle, Snake and the MSF are up against an opponent with an overwhelming military advantage, with no allies to aid them. His solution? Play defense while going for a Cultural Victory, effectively Talking the Monster to Death.
- Peggy Sue: Snake during the second round, since he's the only one who remembers the first.
- Plunder: MSF can upgrade Mother Base by tearing down other settlements for scrap. And since this is Civilization, all units can pillage tile improvements for gold in a pinch.
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: When one MSF soldier compares the Schizo Tech of the latest conflict to Mad Max.Male MSF Trooper: What's that?
Female MSF Trooper: It's, uh, a movie from — look, I'm from the eighties, it's from your future, just forget about it.
- Poor Communication Kills: How MSF ends up declaring war on Japan. Nobunaga spots Snake's army nearby, and when Snake tries to explain it's for deterrence...note Nobunaga: So, what you're saying is, you're a gutless coward who would never attack even if he had a numerical and tactical advantage. Good to know.
Snake: What? No, that's not what I meant. It's, like, uh, the code of the samurai...
Nobunaga: Don't you DARE talk to me about the code of the samurai!
Miller: I think what he means is, "If you want peace, prepare for war."
Nobunaga: So you are preparing for war! I'll show you deterrence! Archers, open fire on his troops!
Snake: Wait, no! Goddammit, if you want a fight you've got it!
Nobunaga: AHA! I knew you were going to invade me! Now, let us fight like honest men!
- Private Military Contractors: The MSF civilization's core game mechanic is that they earn money and approval from city-states when guarding their borders, with the trade-off that insurgents will periodically spawn and cause trouble.
- After researching the right technology and picking the proper civic, the MSF ends up hiring some German Landsknechts to help fill out their forces.
- When things are at their worst during the second round, a gunrunner named Drebin shows up to provide MSF with a state-of-the-art combat unit.
- Ocelot's "Outer Heaven" faction consists of PMC bases constructed by PMC Incorporators earned from combat instead of Great Generals.
- Product Placement: Mother Base eventually reaches the point where it sports vending machines filled with delicious Doritos and Pepsi Next.
- Psycho Supporter: Grey Fox, whose idea of counter-espionage involves giving severed heads to his boss.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: The MSF Stealth Operative team sent to infiltrate France returns with a story about an elite French unit called the Supreme Senses, religious-themed soldiers with names like God's Vision and Fiend's Hunger, and superpowers to match.Snake: Yeah, that's about what I expected.
- Real Men Hate Sugar: Among his many crimes, Napoleon uses his influence at the World Congress to outlaw sugar. Miller can only guess it's psychological warfare.Snake: ...that monster! How are we going to make rum now?!
- Reality Warper: Nebuchadnezzar can take control of cities and soldiers in the blink of an eye, summon warriors from nowhere, and even switch positions with an opponent mid-punch.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Snake gives a lengthy one to Ocelot during the final battle, until the latter is so broken that he tells his forces to stand down. In the same speech he also gives one to himself, and by extension his historical self in absentina over keeping a nuke at Mother Base, wondering to himself if he was such a Blood Knight that he really just wanted an excuse to fight the whole world, and after conquering the world twice over, he's realized how pointless and trivial it is.Snake: You know what else Ive learned in the past two years? It doesnt matter what the hell your good intentions are. Make everything peaceful, make everyone know the joy of combat, make everyone free, advance your country beyond others, fight off the uncultured masses, whatever. Everyone wants to make the world a better place. But life is short. Most of us never get to live to see our dreams fulfilled. So then history judges us on what we did. The actions we took in pursuit of our dream. And what did you do? Huh? WHAT DID YOU DO?
Snake: Stabbed everyone in the back until there were no backs left to stab. Made more money than anyone else and spent it all on war, which just pisses away the greatness of human life. Tried to turn all of civilization into an engine that had no purpose but to destroy itself. Thats your legacy. Know the fullness of life? Really? You made life not worth living. For anyone.
Ocelot: But it's your dream!
Snake: I was wrong. You need to stop. And I I need to stop. We dont need to fight anymore. god, what the fuck was I even doing keeping that nuke at Mother Base did I want the whole world to have an excuse to gang up on me, so I could fight them all? Now that I actually have fought off a whole world it seems so trivial.
- Redeeming Replacement: The Snake we've been following, the AI recreation of Big Boss, becomes this as a result of refusing to descend into villainy like the man he was based off of did. Huey's AI recreation is a rather odd unintentional example, as the fic was written before Metal Gear Solid V was released, but he nonetheless does remain a firm ally of Snake rather than devolving into the Chronic Backstabbing Disorder the actual Huey did.
- Reluctant Warrior: Snake is still a Blood Knight, but even he never thought he'd find himself on a campaign to Take Over the World.Snake: (sigh) I never planned on conquering the whole world, but when the whole world really is against you, what choice do you have?
- The Reveal: This is all taking place inside a computer simulation.
- The epilogue adds one more, that "Rushmore" is actually an AI version of The Boss.
- Robosexual: One of the ladies at MSF falls for that "anti-Snatcher" after meeting him "at random."
- Same Character, But Different: It's rather important that this Snake is the one from early in his career, and not the Big Boss people from later in the timeline are familiar with.Rushmore: Are you familiar with the dichotomy of "Old Elvis" vs. "Young Elvis?" How about the disconnect between Che Guevara, the radical who executed innocent people, vs. El Che, the symbolic revolutionary dear to the hearts of those who love freedom? You are based off of Big Boss from 1974 because that was him at his peak, before disaster and betrayal forced him down a dark and dreary path. It's you people remember when they invoke Big Boss as a legendary hero. Not the man who came later.
- Scavenger World: The early part of the story features a scramble for salvage material (Ancient Ruins) washed ashore after the destruction of the original Mother Base.
- Seen It All:
- Snake slips into this by the second round, since he's the only one at MSF who remembers the first, though he's still hit by some curveballs.Miller: You, uh... you're kind of rolling with this a lot more easily than I thought you would.
Snake: Eh. You get used to it.
- Pachacuti has apparently heard the excuse "he was secretly my evil clone from the future" before.
- Snake slips into this by the second round, since he's the only one at MSF who remembers the first, though he's still hit by some curveballs.
- Seppuku: Snake asks if Nobunaga plans on doing this after negotiating peace, only for the trope to be loudly and angrily defied.
- Snake quotes Zulu when Shaka first appears.
- One of the MSF writers comes up with a story where a guy goes to a foggy, empty town after getting a letter from his dead wife.
- Another of the writers' stories concerns "rebels and contra-rebels fighting each other in a high-tech setting! Lots of blowing up giant robots and horrible monstrosities!"Amanda: Hey, I could get into this!
- A very appropriate reference to The Stanley Parable is employed when the second game starts and as the title of Part 59 - specifically, THE END IS NEVER THE END IS NEVER THE END IS NEVER THE END
- At the very end of the epilogue, when Rushmore is musing on what to do next:Rushmore: Ive been so obsessed with running simulations of the past hm. Maybe for once I need to start thinking about where well go next. What kind of civilizations lie beyond earth.
- Shouting Shooter: When Nobunaga gets his hands on a machine gun, his love of gunpowder goes to his head. This backfires on him - literally, as his machine gun overheats and the ammo cooks off, forcing him to throw it away.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Alexander tries to claim that his habit of turning enemies into allies makes him no different from Snake. Snake retorts that he actually cares about his men, while Alexander is an egomaniac who sacrifices his soldiers for his own glory.
- Smug Snake:
- Alexander the Great instantly gets on Snake's bad side by bragging about his conquests and insulting Snake's age when they first meet, quickly earning the Greek the sort of loathing most Civ V players have for him.
- Incan leader Pachacuti compares finding new neighbors to "discovering strange new insects wriggling beneath overturned rocks," but Snake barely reacts since he's busy preparing for another war. But getting his teeth kicked in by Nebuchadnezzar serves as a Break the Haughty moment, and so Pachacuti is much more humble when he interacts with Snake later.
- Spotting the Thread:
- Eva realizes the Americans aren't what they seem when she notes how familiar they are with advanced technology they've salvaged, and how their accents don't fit the colonial era.
- Miller figures out something's up with the Portuguese leader because she specifies that she's Maria the First instead of Maria the Educator, when she wouldn't know she was the first of anything if she was, and because she isn't dangerously mentally ill.
- Squee: Snake's response when he finds out Metal Gear G is equipped with Fulton Recovery Balloon launchers.
- Stealth Pun: The two MSF soldiers manning the typewriters in the Writer's Guild are codenamed Lemur and Marmoset. They're monkeys on typewriters.
- Straight for the Commander: When he goes up against Ocelot, Snake resorts to a one-man assault on the enemy command center, to engage the enemy leader in person.
- Success Through Insanity: Nebuchadnezzar is as insane as he ever was, but this insanity bleeds over into making him a Reality Warper. It also leads him to realize that everything is a simulation.
- Take That!: "Endless Snake" contains several towards Endless Space
- Talk Like a Pirate: Some of the MSF get way into Privateer duty.Female MSF Trooper: Braga is going down! Yarrrr! Take their booty!
Male MSF Trooper: Look, Crab, just because we're on a pirate ship doesn't mean you need to talk like a pirate!
Female MSF Trooper: Yes it does! And call me Captain Nobeard!
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Given how they last parted, Snake is understandably cold towards Eva when she joins MSF as an operative.Amanda: What's going on?
Miller: No idea... sounds like an old ex-girlfriend... spy ex-girlfriend. That's always pretty rough.
- Temporal Paradox: Discussed due to all the anachronistic shenanigans.Male MSF Trooper: Oh, man. I'm French. What if killing these 19th Century Frenchmen causes a time paradox and wipes me out from existence?
Female MSF Trooper: Pretty sure that won't happen, Ostrich. If it did I think killing off Ashurbanipal would have made the rest of us illiterate.
- Theme Music Power-Up: The final battle begins when Snake tells Cynthia Harrel to start playing "Snake Eater."
- Through His Stomach: Snake suggests that Eva win over city-states through strategic use of food.Eva: Wouldn't a bribe be easier? It'd cost the same.
Snake: This is more deniable. And more delicious!
- The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: Naked Snake/Big Boss vs Attila the Hun, Shaka Zulu, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Napoléon Bonaparte, Oda Nobunaga, Caesar Augustus, George Washington, Vlad the Impaler...
- The Unfought: Napoleon dies of cancer before Snake can face him, not that this puts an end to his ambitions...
- Warrior Heaven: Snake, Ocelot and Nobunaga find a less destructive way of sating their need for fighting, by staying in the simulation and contending with other AI personalities.
- We Can Rule Together: Attila offers Snake an opportunity to fight alongside him. Given that the Hun empire is crumbling at this point, it had little chance to work.Attila: Swear to serve me, share with me your wealth of gold and steel and weapons... and you and your army without borders shall find a new home. You fight for whoever can pay you, yes? Even if you have no other reason to exist, you fight... just like me. Serve me, and I will give you all the reasons you will ever need.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Snake turns into one by the second round, as he's violating civil rights and invading other countries to try to contain the Snatcher threat.
- Wham Line:
- When George Washington pointedly calls Snake "Jack."
- "Tell Huey and Strangelove, I'm canceling the Metal Gear project."
- "I'm. Not. Real..."
- Wham Shot: George Washington's portrait being replaced by that of Solidus Snake.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The chapter after the final battle explains where Snake and his companions ended up after the conflict:
- Chico's AI is placed on an exploratory probe, sent out into the greater cosmos.
- Amanda's AI is put in charge of a group of farming robots in Nicaragua.
- Cecile's AI becomes a DanceDanceRevolution host.
- Huey and Strangelove's AI begin research into Vocaloid technology.
- Kaz's AI is put in charge of the remaining MSF programs as part of a business-merger company.
- Snake, Ocelot, and Nobunaga's AI live out an endless series of games of Civilization, fulfilling their need for combat without risking actual lives.
- Rushmore - a.k.a. the Boss - turns her attention to a new sim, pondering what life would be like on other planets.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Snake is scared shitless of vampires, which is why the very existence of Vlad III (along with the fact that he's a historically infamous General Ripper) sets him off into a Heroic BSoD. Though Vlad isn't a vampire.
- Won the War, Lost the Peace: True to Civ V's game mechanics, whenever Snake conquers a rival, no matter how justified his reasons for it, he's saddled with a warmonger penalty that makes the remaining leaders distrust and despise him. Montezuma taunts Snake about this after being defeated.Montezuma: Snake! What remains of my people will dedicate their lives to your destruction, unless you yourself destroy them utterly. An emperor is not secure if he lives by half measures. Of course, the other rulers will come to see you as a monster for this... heh... heh... just as you thought me a monster...
- Wrong Time-Travel Savvy: Snake runs into this in the second round, when he expects to replay the first round rather than start a new scenario, so he's confused when Mother Base is in the jungle instead of on plains, Dr. Strangelove is the first to join him and Miller instead of Chico, and his neighbors are Rome and Japan rather than the Aztecs.
- Xanatos Gambit: Napoleon's ultimate plan - upload his brain into a swarm of nanomachines he can use to take over Snake's advanced military, including his Metal Gear.
- You Remind Me of X: Snake is eager to liberate Zurich from Zulu occupation, since he feels "a certain empathy towards a small independent nation famous for its hard-as-nails mercenaries."
- Zerg Rush: Attila tries it with armored cavalry, and Shaka with his impis. Both times the MSF is able to come up with hard counters in the form of pikes and advanced firearms.