There's loads of hints that Venom Snake isn't the real Big Boss and that Ishmael is the real Big Boss before the reveal if one is to look close enough.
After the events of the crash in Ground Zeroes you can see that Big Boss literally has no shrapnel lodged in his forehead. So unless the doctors put it in there, it never was in there. Even this discrepancy was enough for some fans to realize something was off before the game came out.
In the same cutscene, the player watches Big Boss and Kaz from a third-person view on a different hospital bed. Kaz gestures towards the camera and asks a doctor "what about him?", implying that the player is watching through the eyes of the medic, who was the only other person in the chopper who survived. When Kojima was asked who this third person was in an interview before The Phantom Pain came out, he even said it's "you", the player.
The Phantom Pain beginning with a cover of David Bowie's The Man Who Sold the World performed by Midge Ure. The first thing to note is that the song is a cover, a surprise that it's not the original. This is similar to how Venom Snake is in a way a "cover" of Big Boss. Additionally, the lyrics suggest some sort of meeting between a man and his doppelganger.
While stuck in a hospital bed in the prologue, the white flowers that have come to be associated with the Boss, the Stars-of-Bethlehem, are placed in a vase on Ishmael's side of the room because he's the one with real emotional attachment to them.
When Venom Snake sees his face in a mirror during the hospital segment, we see that his right eye is milky white. However, the real Big Boss' right eye was burned black and destroyed by muzzle burn in Snake Eater.
Ishmael being able to deal with a highly-trained XOF assassin, Quiet, without too much trouble. He even uses a CQC hold on her.
Not to mention that of course Ishmael would randomly have a lighter at hand. Would be mighty out of character for Big Boss if he didn't.
Some of Ishmael's lines are pretty indicative of his true identity:
When Venom asks Ishmael who he is after he disposes of the assassin, he replies "You're talking to yourself."
Ishmael gets a proper cheesy one-liner, something that is a staple of Big Boss but rarely utilized by the comparatively-quiet Venom Snake. Additionally, he starts the one-liner with "I" before switching to "we", in order to emphasize how he and Venom Snake are going to be the same person in due time.
Ishmael: I... We gave her a light, she took the short way down.
Ishmael advises Venom that "It's always good to try and mend your injuries while hiding from the enemy." Anyone who's played Snake Eater will instantly understand why he puts so much emphasis on this, even though the injury mechanic is very dialed-down in The Phantom Pain.
While limping around the hospital, Big Boss' snake-shaped scar that's prominently shown in Peace Walker isn't present on Venom Snake's chest. This can also be noticed when wearing the shirtless Naked-style gear later in the game. Meanwhile, Ishmael conveniently wears a hospital gown that conceals his chest for the entire sequence.
Except for the fact that the scar itself was a fake used to hide a jigsaw in the event that he was captured, and was no longer on his chest after escaping the cell at Peace Walker's hangar (despite his character model not reflecting this).
Ocelot introduces himself to Snake as if they'd never met before when he picks him up after the hospital.
Ocelot also says that he was given two missions: "to get you out of that hospital... and to rescue the man himself." He's literally telling you that he's there to save two different people - Venom Snake and Big Boss. What throws the player off is that Ocelot brings up finding Kaz right after, leading them to believe "the man himself" was referring to Kaz.
At the end of the same cutscene, Ocelot tells Snake: "Don't take too long getting used to your new self." This is about more than just the mechanical arm and other physical augmentations - it's about the man who became Venom Snake taking on a completely different identity from his own.
Ocelot mentions "Two plus two equals five" multiple times, such as when you shoot him with a tranquilizer round on Mother Base. This is a reference to 1984, which uses 2+2=5 as an example of doublethink, or believing one thing while knowing in your heart another thing is true. This references the fact that Ocelot has convinced himself that Venom Snake is the original Big Boss via hypnotherapy, when he himself has already met the real Big Boss and he knows it's not true.
If you want to get really granular about it, Venom Snake is the fifth iteration of Snake (Naked, Solid, Liquid, and Solidus) to the audience based on game order, but he doesn't fit into the equation because he's basically the same person as Naked/Big Boss; two plus two now equals five instead of four.
The first time Huey meets Venom Snake, he takes a moment to stare at him as if in confused disbelief. While it's possible that he's in disbelief he actually came to rescue him, another possibility is that Huey doesn't fully recognize Snake because he's not the Big Boss that he remembers.
This same phenomenon occurs with several other characters as well, including Kaz upon his rescue and later the Boss AI pod. This is especially noticeable with the Boss AI pod, as in Peace Walker it recognized Big Boss almost instantly.
This also extends to the Man on Fire/Volgin, as he only relents and finally gives up chasing Venom Snake when he gets close enough to realize that the man he's been pursuing isn't actually the one he fought in Tselinoyarsk all those years ago.
At one point Huey and Snake discuss Dr. Clark. Snake claims not to know the name, where the real Big Boss would know that it's Para-Medic's real name.
While it could be chalked up to artistic representation of different events happening in the same place, in the first Paz flashback there are quite literally two Snakes in the chopper at the same time.
The fifth Paz's Diary tape has a very subtle hint too. Paz refers to Venom Snake as "you" throughout the tape, but also says she "fought Snake", referring to him in the third-person. Yup, it's a different guy.
At one point Ocelot and Venom Snake use a DNA test to prove that Eli wasn't involved in Les Enfants Terribles, but the test was inconclusive because he isn't the real Big Boss.
Additionally, when Eli is interrogated before he takes off with Sahelanthropus, he demands he speak with his father. Ocelot replies "I told you, your father isn't here".
Ocelot discusses secret Soviet research on psychics to Venom. The latter says he does not believe in the supernatural. This is just not something Big Boss would say - his encounters with The Sorrow in Snake Eater are reason enough to believe in ghosts and the supernatural.
If you kill a soldier on Mother Base to get a game over, one of the possible voice clips heard is Ocelot saying: "Perhaps you're not the Big Boss we've been waiting for after all."
Venom Snake is only ever seen smoking the electronic Phantom Cigar. Big Boss has previously said that he only ever uses the "real thing." This is reinforced by the end of The Truth when Ishmael reveals himself, gets on a motorcycle, and starts smoking a cigar. A REAL cigar.
The model for Snake sitting in the ACC is identical to the model used for Snake sitting in Morpho's chopper in Ground Zeroes. The only thing that is missing is that Venom Snake isn't smoking a cigar like Big Boss was.
During the opening credits of each mission, Snake is introduced as Venom "Punished" Snake. We already know that Naked Snake's name is John, not to mention that he's been going as Big Boss for quite a while now. Why introduce him using neither of these titles that we're all already familiar with?
Venom Snake being unable to understand Russian without a translator while Big Boss spoke it fluently throughout the entirety of the events of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. This idea is discussed further down the page.
Venom's personality is noticeably more quiet, observant, and serious, and he lacks the charisma and witty remarks of the true Big Boss.
Venom Snake quite obviously sharing his voice actor, Keifer Sutherland, with "Ishmael", and by extension the medic from Ground Zeroes.
Slight differences in fashion choices may also count, including Venom's eyepatch having three straps while Big Boss' has two, Venom wearing his hair in a ponytail while Big Boss lets his hair flow freely, etc.
Venom Snake's signature robotic arm was an oddity from the day it was revealed. While the sprites from the first Metal Gear are too small for us to tell, we get a good look in Guns of the Patriots, where Big Boss clearly has no robotic arm at all. This could've been defended by saying it simply couldn't be seen under his sleeves and gloves, or that he got a new arm when his body was rebuilt with Solidus' parts. But this was still enough to tip some fans off though, even before the game came out.
The Ship Tease story of Venom Snake and Quiet can be interpreted as a sign that Venom Snake isn't Big Boss. Because the real Big Boss already has a serious love interest - EVA. Interestingly, while the events in The Phantom Pain are going on, the real Big Boss is somewhere being protected and recovering from his injuries with EVA.
While explaining the Wolbachia solution to the vocal cord parasite problem, it's brought up that those who use it will become sterile. This is treated like a big deal, when in reality the real Big Boss was already rendered sterile by radiation in the past - that was the whole point of Les Enfants Terribles - so it wouldn't be much of a problem for him. Venom Snake, on the other hand...
A very obscure one. During the scene where Venom enters the Quarantine Platform, Venom says that there's a very sweet smell. In an optional radio conversation in Snake Eater with the Boss, soon-to-be-Big Boss says that he has absolutely no sense of smell.
Playing as non-Snake characters in story missions makes the game switch back to Snake for cutscenes. If you beat the game and begin playing as pre-plastic surgery Medic, he's still around in the cutscenes, which means you're still playing the same person, just with a different look.
The whole idea that you can play any random recruit pretending to be Big Boss can be seen as foreshadowing, too.
Despite being hailed as the "legendary soldier", Venom Snake's combat rating is just A+. Many of the soldiers he can recruit surpass him. This is likely in part because he isn't the real Big Boss.
The brilliance is that neither is the absolute best. The legend of Big Boss is a construct greater than the two individuals that formed his identity. The Medic was badass enough to become as good as Naked Snake, and the argument can be made that eventually Solid Snake would surpass both.
A+ is the SNAKE standard. Anyone who gets an S in combat managed to be better than Venom Snake. Same way anyone who gets an S in R&D managed to be better than Huey.
S rank is the SOLID Snake standard. Given he beat Venom Snake and the real Big Boss in MG 1 and 2, the existence of higher combat ranks in and of itself could be seen as Fridge Brilliance for their eventual downfall at the hand of a Foxhound rookie sent in against impossible odds.
Here's thought I had while playing: You gain heroism for dealing with soldiers non-lethally, but what if this isn't for the obvious moral reasons? Imagine you're a Russian soldier tasked with guarding a supply depot, when out of nowhere a dart hits you in the neck. The next thing you remember, you wake up several hours later along with the entire security detail, only to realize that every single container, vehicle, weapon, prisoner, document, and shiny object in the whole base that wasn't bolted to the floor is missing. You'd probably tell everyone you know about it.
Also, dead soldiers can't live to spread the word about you. Unconscious soldiers can.
Just like Metal Gear Solid 2, you play the first 20% of the game (Ground Zeroes, Tanker Chapter) as the real Snake (ie Big Boss), then the rest of the game (The Phantom Pain, Plant Chapter) as a Snake who isn't the real one (Venom Snake, Raiden) but believes he is.
At first it bugged me that the story was so... sparse. Especially in comparison to previous installments. It became especially noticeable that the overall gameplay received a greater focus. Then the revelation that The Medic from GZ was Snake this whole time came up, and that's when it hit me: The real story of the game isn't just about getting revenge on Skull Face, it's about building the legend of Big Boss into what the public eventually perceived him to be!
Or an alternative sort of Fridge Brilliance: The gameplay receiving a greater focus is because of the building of Big Boss' public reputation. The story with Skull Face and Revenge is mostly forgotten due to what happened there never really coming out, or because the Patriots altered history to suit their needs. In fact, one could say that the affair with Skull Face is a kind of "Truth" recording all its own.
Some people have complained that the gameplay and missions of Metal Gear Solid V are much more action-oriented than previous games in the series. You're not playing as Snake, the legendary stealth infiltrator. The Medic was just a regular soldier before he became Venom Snake. He's a highly skilled soldier, but because of his background, he'd likely have a more combat-focused view of the battlefield than the real Big Boss.
During the scenes involving Paz, she's a great deal more flat; all of the humorous, frustrating, and ultimately tragic elements of the personality are gone. Though this is explained away by traumatic memory loss, this foreshadows the fact that you are not Big Boss, who definitely saw Paz in a different light, whereas the Medic most likely went from knowing her as "that weird blonde girl who started hanging around Mother Base," and then "that traitor who stole Metal Gear ZEKE" and then finally "that tragic and broken wretch that I tried to save but couldn't."
Plus the very fact that Paz is in this game gains some tragedy when you get to the reveal. Why? Because Big Boss, the real one, would obviously feel sad that Paz died, and he'd feel guilty about it, sure... but he wasn't actually doing anything at the time. The MEDIC was the one operating on her, cutting her open, removing the bomb, etc... the MEDIC is the one who would feel the most guilt about it. The MEDIC, who you PLAY AS, the one having the hallucination that Paz is still there... because they feel more guilty about it than Big Boss ever could, because THEY were the one that actually, genuinely, truly failed both Paz, and the Boss
Despite all the drama caused by replacing David Hayter with Kiefer Sutherland as the voice of Snake, it actually benefited the game's major twist. If Hayter had kept up his role as Snake, it's possible that Ishmael's voice would've been too easily recognizable (especially with that Snake-y slur) and a new voice actor made it easier to hide Ishmael's true identity.
Through data mining, it was revealed that the tape that Venom listens to at the end of the game labeled "Intrude N313" actually contains a loader for a PC-6001 game named The Portopia Serial Murder Case. Apart from some thematic connections and the fact that Kojima has named the game as one of his early inspirations, Venom is trying to play a PC-6001 tape on an MSX2 machine. It's no surprise then that he smashes a mirror in a fit of rage. The poor guy couldn't get the damn thing to work! This alone could also hold the sinister implication that the real Big Boss intentionally gave Venom a tape he wouldn't be able to read in order to sabotage him.
The idea of Skullface putting a bomb up Paz' vagina seems absolutely ridiculous and tasteless, even by Metal Gear standards. But think about it: why would Snake ever look there? It wouldn't be discovered by anything but a full medical exam, which sure wouldn't be done on the chopper.
Kind of a morbid thought... but what if the V shaped scar on Paz's stomach isn't symbolizing "Victory"? What if it's V for vagina? Or even an arrow mark pointing downwards to Paz's groin? In other words a subtle clue on Skull Face's part telling Big Boss where the other bomb was, and a clue that sadly went right over his head.
Given he's aware of what's been going on recently, Skull Face likely used the 'V for Victory' symbol as a mockery of what Paz used to be, and what Big Boss was fighting for in Peace Walker. The bomb they extract from her her stomach is daubed with the 'peace' symbol, after all.
See the promotional image of Big Boss cast in an x-ray? Now where else do you see that? That's right, tagging enemies which highlights their skeleton and then makes them glow so you know where to find them. The symbolic purpose behind that image is to capture the fact that Metal Gear Solid V will be the game where we the player finally tags Big Boss as the enemy, the Fallen Hero of the series who eventually became the Big Bad of Metal Gear 1 and 2.
When you keep in mind Jack Bauer's numerous similarities to Big Boss it is understandable why they chose Kiefer Sutherland to voice Big Boss; he's played a character with that mindset before and can relate to it from experience.
Ocelot's declaration for Big Boss to go out and "Let the legend come back to life." works on two levels. The obvious intention is for Big Boss to come back into world prominence as a deterrent force like he had wanted in Peace Walker and to show everyone who still respects him (like Ocelot himself) that he can still cut it on the battlefield. But on top of that the same applies to the Metal Gear series as well, let the legend of Metal Gear as a prominent series, that can lead a console generation, come back to life.
It also could have another meaning, considering this is the "Phantom's" first mission as Big Boss. More Hilariousin Hindsight since Ocelot has probably hypnotized himself already at this point, but you never know.
Why does tagging enemies with the binoculars give you a lasting reminder of where the enemy is located on the map? Why would Big Boss be able to dedicate such details so perfectly to memory? The answer is the iDroid. Big Boss is tagging the enemies and programming their last known location into his holographic display map, and the iDroid's internal computer keeps track of this data and based on the patrol patterns of those guards makes precise calculations of where it assumes the enemy is likely to be based on that info. That is how even in the middle of combat Big Boss has a relatively real time display of the enemy's location. Furthermore Big Boss's iDroid serves as an ideal explanation for what kind of display Snake and Raiden logically would have been looking at when it came to the Soliton Radar. The information on where the enemies are located had to be stored somewhere, and it's unlikely that the nanomachines were feeding a direct map feed into their brains that look like dots moving around on a holographic grid. The only difference between Big Boss's iDroid and the Soliton Radar of course being the presence of nanomachines; with nanomachines the guards can be tracked remotely via GPS and thus this data can be fed directly into the display that Snake is carrying in real time, rather than Big Boss's model that has to guess where the enemies might be.
Enemies in different countries will speak their native languages instead ofEnglish. The shrapnel in Big Boss' skull has apparently erased his ability to speak and understand languages other than English.
The E3 demo even made it a plot point, where you need to extract a translator, so you can understand what the enemy is saying.
And now we know another reason Venom Snake can't understand other languages when he starts out: as Big Boss's Phantom, he might have lacked the knowledge beforehand, then had his memory altered to portray Big Boss accurately, then had a huge piece of shrapnel stuck in his skull.
To drive the point home, all dialogue by Russian soldiers in Snake Eater is in American-accented English due to Big Boss's familiarity with the language. Venom Snake, who lacks that familiarity, hears it as Russian even after recruiting an interpreter.
There's a reason why Mother Base Seychelles' struts are far apart and connected by long bridges, necessitating travel by jeep or helicopter between them; the old Mother Base's struts were spaced very close together, making them easy targets if an enemy force attacked. Building them farther apart ensures they're easier to isolate if attacked, and an assault on one doesn't horribly cripple surrounding facilities.
This is seen actively in Mission 22 and any other FOB invasion, the invaders now can only take one platform; it's impossible to reach any of the others before the base gets blockaded.
The narrow width of the bridges means they'd be easy to obstruct with a roadblock or spikes, too.
The song The Man Who Sold the World takes on a rather ironic tone given how, as much as it describes Cipher, Zero himself has all but lost control in the end, even while attempting to stop it.
Many of the licensed songs found in the game come from British bands which also subtly hint at Zero's own involvement in helping Big Boss.
Unlike Solid Snake, neither Big Boss nor his double, Venom show as much combat fatigue nor show as much hesitation in taking lives. This can be seen as both of them either fully coming to terms of seeing themselves as demons or no longer giving a damn.
Given that both Big Boss and the MSF medic who became Venom Snake were present to witness (and had similar experiences of) Paz's death, it's possible that Paz's "final message" to Venom would be the same for Big Boss himself. This in turn could also help explain how he managed to survive being entombed, fully conscious until Guns of the Patriots. The will to live inspired by Paz, and thus her memory endured to guide him through those years. Not to mention impart her "final message" to Solid Snake.
At first, Miller and Ocelot's constant arguing and inability to agree on anything appears to be them competing to gain Venom Snake's favor. However, after the True Ending, there's a much deeper meaning behind it. Both Miller and Ocelot know that Venom Snake is a body double for the real Big Boss. Miller cannot forgive Big Boss for such a plan, while Ocelot fully supports it. While Ocelot later performs self hypnosis to convince himself Venom Snake is the real Big Boss, Miller's contempt for Ocelot is still clear.
This can also explain why Miller doesn't immediately come to Solid Snake's aid before Metal Gear 2.Because he knew the one in Outer Heaven was Venom rather than the real Big Boss.
Ocelot never gave Big Boss's sons any special treatment and despite serving two of them, was more than happy to betray and try to murder all three. A possible reason can be found in the tape where Big Boss effectively disowns the lot of them while telling Ocelot that he'd treat them like ordinary human beings, no more no less.
One of the first signs of Paz's appearance being a hallucination is a book she's shown reading, authored by Ramon Galvez Mena, aka Zadornov. Given that he's just a KGB spy posing as an academic, it's a clear signal from the get-go that something's off before Paz's face comes into view.
Both villains from the last Metal Gear games, chronologically and production-wise, are two outcomes of the the hero succeeding the villain on two different scales. Skullface represents the cynical outcome, turning Big Boss into someone who is just as much a villain as he is while Armstrong represents the idealistic outcome, encouraging Raiden to fight for what he thinks is right, regardless of who tells him otherwise.
Ever pondered the relevance of Butterflies to Quiet?So, this theory came upon after having found out that you can keep Quiet around by equipping butterfly emblem. At first it seemed odd to until thought was given about it.The game itself makes a big point about making you, the player, be in Big Bosses' shoes, you're given a choice to approach the missions how you see fit, and Quiet is a perfect testament for that. What's special about Quiet is that she's not like most of your game companions, who are forced upon you via exposition and while you may feel same attachment story wise, you won't feel it gameplay wise, since most of times they're invincible and everything is scripted. With Quiet however, YOU define what happens. You can skip her fight entirely, you can choose to kill her or to take her in, you can choose to take her missions, strengthen your bond. You're even given one ultimate choice. Another special thing about her is that much like BB himself, she's quiet, so it leaves up to you fill the blanks on what they really think. This is why her motives are left ambiguous, so that you fill the blanks on what she feels. This is where I go to point two. Which is the animal that has most relevance to Big Boss? it's the Butterfly. It seems to symbolize his phantom pain, or inability to cope with loss. In Snake Eater, when he loses his eye, he tries to catch a butterfly, to reassure himself he's still a capable fighter. He also forms the C3 plastic explosives used to destroy the Shagohad hangar in the shape of butterflies. In Peace Walker, it's been 10 years since he had to kill The Boss and he didn't cope with the loss, which is prominent by the fact that he wears her bandana still. So when whole Mammal Pod thing happens, Big Boss encounters a much more vicious version of The Boss, and after grieving for her for 10 years, seeing her in such a vindictive state has released all pent up anger he accumulated. When you enter the AI pod itself, you see that it's SWARMING with butterflies, they most likely symbolize the anger he accumulated but didn't release. so when she drowns, he interprets it as her abandoning him, so he bitterly accepted the title of Big Boss. Now, onto The Phantom Pain. There's 2 instances when Butterflies have a significance. First one is hallucination Paz, Big Boss felt such a guilt over her death he went into denial and made up consequences wherein she survived, even though it was obvious she didn't. When he realizes that she was never there, he blacks out, Upon waking up, he attempts to catch a butterfly with his prosthetic hand, but when he catches it, he realizes it was never there, much like Paz herself. And now onto 2nd one. Those who are aware of Emblem thing most likely know that she leaves, but they don't want to lose her, much like Big Boss didn't want to lose Paz. Then Quiet Exit mission happens and Quiet is gone forever, and unlike Paz in Peace Walker, she won't be your staff member anymore. Due to you defining relationship with quiet and it being consequential, YOU too feel the phantom pain of losing her, you too want to return her, And since you define your relationship with Quiet it would make sense to present you with final choice: Accept the reality of what happens, or go into denial and catch a butterfly yourself. This is why her emblem is a butterfly. This is why if you equip it, she stays. The game makes a point on you being Big Boss, so you're given a choice to face the reality of losing her or going into denial by catching the butterfly yourself, much like Big Boss himself does with Paz. If you know about the emblem then you most likely know she leaves, making you similar to Big Boss' experience with Paz, choosing to go in denial and keep the butterfly. And judging by player responses, most of them have opted for denial, not wishing to go through the pain of losing her, just like Big Boss himself. While Paz is Big Boss' loss, Quiet is yours.
Skull Face's infamousline "SUCH A LUST FOR REVENGE! WHO!?" makes more sense in context as it's related to Mantis' tendencies to lean towards those with powerful negative emotions. For Skull Face in particular, it's all but established that his desires for revenge and retribution are nigh unsurpassed, in addition to all the other twisted things he does. Which also allows him to keep Mantis on a "leash" for his own purposes. But once Eli (aka, Liquid Snake) steps into the picture, Mantis gets swayed to him instead, taking Skull Face aback as he didn't expect someone to be even more vengeful than he was. This likewise goes into explaining why Mantis sides with Liquid all the way till Shadow Moses as part of FOXHOUND even though he doesn't care for Liquid's actual plans.
Speaking of that line, Skull Face being this hammy makes sense in an odd way. Deprived of his native language and forced to use others, he doesn't respect the languages he does speak and because of that he speaks with such ham and irreverence as a show of disdain toward the language he sees as forced upon him.
Likewise, Skull Face's plan to turn the English language into a Brown Note with parasites while supplying people with nukes and Metal Gears makes even more sense when one puts into account how he intends to succeed where Hot Coldman failed with making deterrence work. Instead of relying on an advanced AI putting nukes out of humanity's hands, his idea for mass nuclear deterrence involves putting nukes in everyone's hands.
His overwhelming desire to know "WHOOOOOOOOO?!?!" also ties into his search for someone as driven by hate as he was in the tape from Ground Zeroes. Skullface demonstrated enough hatred to override both Volgin and Venom Snake's control of the Russian psychic. So whoever can overwhelm him must have even more hatred than Skullface and he is just dying to know who this is.
Why does Chico only ultimately get a passing mention in The Phantom Pain while Snake's completely focused on Paz? Because he's not the Snake that went out of his way to save him and Paz, but rather, the Medic. The Medic is of course completely focused on Paz due to guilt over failing to save her, while he barely knows who Chico is and just sees him as an unfortunate casualty.
Which brings back a discussion Big Boss had with Huey in Peace Walker about electronic cigarettes, dismissing the idea of smoking a substitute rather than the real deal. Interesting to note that this was pointed out before The Phantom Pain's release.
As ironic as Huey's Red Band trailer description of being a "Technocrat who stands his ground" might be for a lot of reasons, it's also rather apt. Given the amoral and increasingly deluded stuff he does For Science!, no matter how much he attempts to insist it's never his fault.
The gameplay concept that Big Boss can kidnap soldiers and send them to Mother Base to become members of Diamond Dogs seems like a basic gameplay gimmick. Then the ending reveals that Venom Snake was an ordinary solder and field medic who had plastic surgery and was programmed to think he's the legendary Big Boss. You realize just how powerful Ocelot and Miller's brainwashing program is.
Not entirely. Ignoring the fact that the Medic was stated to be the best member of MSF they had, meaning that the majority of time his skills are his own, there's also the fact that your Heroism affects how many staff members you get. They're being convinced to join you because of hearing about your exploits, not via brainwashed. It definitely goes somewhere on the Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration.
On the other hand, the complaints are still valid when you consider that Quiet is not a real human being, and was thus designed from the ground-up to have to wear these clothes, and have no verbal ways of communicating with a majority of the cast (and no non-verbal forms of communication are offered to her either). So when people complain that she's oversexualized (which is as much to do with the camera as it is with her costume, and due to The End - who has similar powers - definitely not being treated the same way) and that her being unable to speak removes a large portion of her agency, part of the complaint is that she was designed this way on purpose...and this becomes fridge brilliance when we realize that this is true in-universe as well as out. Quiet, of course, did not choose to be quiet, nor did she choose to have an ability with the price that she would have to wear fewer clothes - this was something that Cipher enforced on her. When she does finally get to speak English, it's a direct consequence of the player actually building a positive relationship with her (which of course lets the player see more of her actual personality), and she's immediately punished for it by the plot - her role as Ms. Fanservice is literally enforced with deadly consequences, despite the scenario being easily avoided. And of course, the one time she can speak in a way that Snake would understand, it's to complain at the fate the writers set up for her. So in-game, this speech is a jab at how she couldn't build as good a relationship with the player/Snake due to how she was designed.
This could be considered a Take That at Konami, as Kojima stated the reason Quiet was oversexualized is to sell figures of her and encourage cos-players, in a case of executive meddling. In this case she is literally being objectified (turned into objects like figurines).
Tranquilize Ocelot in the head during the Mother Base tutorial, and he starts muttering about the La-li-lu-le-lo, as well as a part of a certain train line. But another set of words acts as foreshadowing, when he mutters about, "Two plus two equals five," besides the obvious 1984 reference. Then he reveals in the post-true ending tapes that he knows the methods of Doublethink, the capability of hypnotizing and manipulating his own mind and memories. Shooting Ocelot full of tranquilizer drugs was accidentally unhinging his own self-brainwashing, but he was adamant enough to forcefully believe it for the sake of his mission that he actively used doublethink to fortify his mental thoughts.
Ocelot's line in Metal Gear Solid 2 saying that 'anyone who got put into right situation can become Snake' may have its roots in this game's timeline. Just look at you.
Volgin, who was shocked to death by a bolt of lightning, now burns forever as the Man on Fire. Also, extremely hot flames and lightning strikes both produce plasma.
Another example of doublethink is very meta - the title of the game itself. It's Metal Gear Solid 5, right? The fifth game in the series? Not so; Peace Walker and Ground Zeroes are also part of the main series. This doesn't even count the many spinoffs, such as Portable Ops, Rising: Revengeance, and Metal Gear Acid. The fanbase is just so excited for another "main" Metal Gear that they'll willingly overlook other titles that could easily be considered a fifth installment in favor of the "real" thing. Why do we just accept that it's the fifth one, when it's clearly not? We've been practicing doublethink on ourselves all along!
Mixed with some... Fridge Funny? If you get dirty enough and return to Mother Base, your soldiers and Ocelot are not pleased by your smell. If you have a high enough bond with Quiet, however, she'll take you to her cell for a one on one open shower. With various soldiers watching like slack jawed idiots. It's a little creepy at first glance, but consider this: Why would these soldiers be here when they almost unanimously fear her? On no other occasions do the rank and file even enter her quarters. Second, why don't you see them ogle her through her ceiling when she showers on her own or comment on her attractiveness in conversations? And third, what's Ocelot doing all the way to the left? So... Maybe it's not Quiet they're watching. Maybe it's Snake. Sadly, being in first person, we never see what he's wearing or how he looks. But there's some Ho Yay if you're looking for it.
An alternative explanation could be that they're worried for your safety and are there to keep an eye on Quiet, whilst just pretending they're there to ogle her / you... or it could be a fusion of both
Quiet is definitely Ms. Fanservice. Scantily clad, Male Gaze up the wazoo, sexy poses. There are however, a couple of occasions where you can look at her in a cutscene in first person, with a little control on the viewpoint. It's kinda similar to how Snake Eater is with Eva on a few occasions. If you take advantage of these moments and gawk at her more than the game already is, how responsible are you, the player? You Bastard!.
Why doesn't Venom recognise Quiet from the hospital? The man has a horn of shrapnel stuck in his brain, he probably isn't sure if his memories are real. Not to mention it's the player's decision to spare her and bring her back.
When you first find Quiet, she's near a body of water. This explains where she got all the water she needs from.
Ever wondered why Quiet has that glove on her left arm? Fashionable Asymmetry aside, at the hospital, Ishmael throws an alcohol bottle at that arm before setting her alight. The Parasites were unable to repair that damage it seems.
As much a Voodoo Shark the justification for Quiet's costume may be, there is, actually, a reason that makes sense when you think about it: Her lungs were near destroyed when she was burned. She doesn't use them anymore. Why not use parasites to replace her lungs like with other organs? Because she has a Vocal Cord Parasite, which, when activated, its young consume the lungs. For Quiet, who breathes through her skin, this presumably wouldn't kill her. Skull Face made sure she didn't need her lungs because if she activated the parasite too soon, she'd die before confronting Snake, screwing up Skull Face's plan. The nylons are still weird.
The Skull outfit is Awesome, but Impractical for the player to use. The Skulls themselves are likely this as well. They're expensive to deploy and use a lot of moisture to access their abilities. The idea is likely abandoned as they've been superceded by genetically modified and later nanomachine augmented soldiers.
Venom being a Body Double for Big Boss explains how he could be running Outer Heaven and FOXHOUND at the same time by the events of Metal Gear 1.
The True Ending also explains a plot hole that existed ALL the way back in the original Metal Gear for the MSX. How did Big Boss survive a dozen rockets to the face and getting a building collapsed on him? He didn't.
It also provides an explanation as to how Big Boss was able to be both the commander of FOXHOUND in the U.S. and also the unknown head of state of Outer Heaven in South Africa at the same time... according to The Phantom Pain, Big Boss lead FOXHOUND under his official honorary title as "Big Boss" and his body double, under the moniker "Venom Snake" (or just "Snake"), was the leader of Outer Heaven. And it was only when Solid Snake had advanced too far into Outer Heaven to be stopped by other mooks that the contingency plan was activated and Venom Snake was given the green-light to identify himself as "Big Boss", right before he faced off against Solid Snake in Metal Gear 1.
Similar to the above, after the events of Outer Heaven, how did Big Boss ingratiate himself into Zanzibarland and establish a second major mercenary operation there in only four years after Outer Heaven's fall, especially since a portion of those four years would've been spent recovering from his injuries? You can assume that Big Boss, being Big Boss, had already cultivated contacts in that region prior to Operation Intrude N313, which is supported by MGSV's Twist Ending. After all, you can get a lot done if there are two of you. Big Boss could've put Venom in control of Outer Heaven at some point before Intrude N313, freeing him up to establish contacts in other parts of the world. Big Boss, being at war with The Patriots, would've needed all the influence he could get.
By the end, one realizes that the trailer calling Huey a "Technocrat Who Stands His Ground" isn't just making a pun about his new legs...
Going further, when Venom sees Huey for the first time in years, it's revealed that the workspace he's in contains the AI Pod which also holds Strangelove's remains. Meaning that Huey's been working practically next to his murdered wife's corpse all this time, and he shows no sign of guilt for any of it.
A common complaint by the fandom is how Ishmael didn't do anything to help Ahab/Venom as he was stuck crawling on the ground while being perfectly capable of helping him walk and get out of the hospital. He didn't want to help him because he wanted Ahab to think he was just a hallucination. If he did too much more to help Ahab out, he likely would have thought a lot more about it and who Ahab really was, which would have probably ruined the Body Double ruse too early on.
Probably less that than it is that Ahab needs to get back on his feet himself instead of relying on others, otherwise he'd be be doomed. Yeah, Ishmael COULD let Ahab lean on him the whole way, but that'd just leave him vulnerable if he was by himself due to not being finished re-acclimating to walking and shooting, among other things.
However, when talking to Ocelot about Cipher in some other tapes, he mentions Dr.Clark, so it is more likely that he was playing dumb as to not get Huey's hopes up, as he said that what Hury said about cloning "Made a nice story" or something along those lines, even though he was completely aware of the Les Enfant Terrible project, in which the real Big Boss was Cloned.
How would Big Boss find the funding to start up his Outer Heaven without anyone knowing he has a body double doing the public work, and without Miller to do the business side of mercenary army he would be stuck where he was in 1972. He would use the secret funds of Gene Army Heavens funds to set up Zanzibar Land.
How is Snake able to overpower Quiet with CQC (even if he needed help from 3 others and sedatives to keep her down)? Well, remember in Snake Eater when both The Boss and Naked Snake used CQC to great effect on Volgin? And Volgin may have greater super strength then Quiet. The scene may also be suggesting that relying on Super Powers too much renders people more susceptible to more mundane techniques, like said CQC, which also explains how a non-powered Quiet was able to almost kill Big Boss in the hospital attack. Also, you know, Venom's Bionic Arm helps.
The 4th condition to unlock the secret Nuclear Disarmament Event requires the amount of nukes on your gaming platform's server equal 0. If this and the other 3 conditions aren't met, players will never see the event. Basically a single person can bar the entire world from seeing this event, which is the point. Complete nuclear disarmament will never happen in real life, so the near impossible 4th condition is very meta in its requirements.
Ocelot's line during Quiet's interrogation, in which he claims that she's "in love with [Big Boss]" and confesses that "I was the same way once." If he was in love with Big Boss, and would continue to devote himself to the man decades into the future, why would he say this in the past tense? Because he knows that the man he's referring to - who shares "the legend" of Big Boss with the man he truly loves - isn't the original. He loved the original Big Boss, but not necessarily his double.
Why don't the wandering mother base soldiers recognize Big Boss but do recognize Love Deterrence and BB's box? If you look closely at the eyes of the wandering soldiers they resemble the eyes of someone with cataracts. The reason they're hostile to you is that they literally can't make out the facial features of BB at a distance but they can see someone hiding in the box and recognize Love Deterrence from the Peace Day concert and they've only survived that long on the battlefield by treating every other person as a hostile.
When you're escaping the hospital with Ishmael, he gives you a dose of digoxin. Some of the side effects of digoxin include confusion, unusual behavior, and hallucinations.
Ocelot betraying Liquid despite being ostensibly his right-hand man in Metal Gear Solid makes a lot of sense when you consider they never had a strong relationship to begin with. Between Ocelot imprisoning Eli and interrogating him, kicking his ass when he acts up, helping to destroy his Kingdom of the Flies, convincing Venom to leave him to die when the island is bombed, and his claim to support Liquid only if Kaz supports Solid Snake retroactively characterizes their relationship as one of begrudging convenience to keep Outer Heaven alive.
Storytelling-wise, Vocal Cord Parasite follows the basic Weapon of Mass Destruction cliche. But the reason it is shocking to most players because its first widespread deployment is not aimed the 'outsiders' (like what happened in Modern Warfare, for example). Many players weren't expecting themselves to be subjected to a successful attack. Knowing that they cannot stop the worst unless they kill their infected staffs is just the cherry on top.
The big spoiler for this game - that Venom Snake isn't the original Big Boss - relies on the idea that Kaz wasn't in on the plan, something that he becomes infuriated with in the end (enough so that he actively breaks ties with Big Boss). But then, why would Ocelot be in on the plan, but not Kaz? The simple answer is that their loyalties genuinely lie in different places. Ocelot is endlessly loyal to John/Big Boss, willing to devote his life to the man even after he passes on, making him perfect for this kind of plan; Kaz, meanwhile, is loyal instead to MSF/The Diamond Dogs, the company that he spent so much time and effort in building. While this puts them both at Big Boss' side, it's also the reason why Kaz was able to actually betray Big Boss and secretly work for Cipher during Peace Walker - it was something he was willing to do if it furthered the development of MSF. While this doesn't immediately make him disloyal to Big Boss, it would call his ability to stick to the plan into question should he have been a part of it. This also explains why he would brand Paz a traitor despite them both having worked for Cipher; while they both betrayed Big Boss, she was the only one to actively betray MSF (the true betrayal in his eyes). It also explains why Kaz would continue to ally himself to Venom Snake, as most of his actions by that point were motivated by revenge - it just so happens that the target of that revenge changed, and Venom Snake could still help him with that.
When Skull Face's role in things becomes clear after the initial confrontation with Sahelanthropus, you hear an audio recording from Ocelot talking about him, and his tone when he says Skull Face's name is one of utter contempt; naturally, it makes sense given Skull Face's actions in this game alone, but consider that Skull Face was Zero's right hand man and has followed Big Boss as back-up since Operation: Snake Eater. Is it contempt, or jealousy that this abomination got to follow the man Ocelot so admires?
Skull Face's mask. He wasn't introduced wearing it, it really does nothing to hide his Nightmare Face, and could easily be chocked up to the character's taste for the theatrics. However, it makes sense on a more meta level too. Throughout The Phantom Pain, Skull Face is set up as an Evil Counterpart to Venom Snake/Big Boss. In light of the twist that Venom Snake is not Big Boss but a wounded soldier warped into his perfect Body Double, the comparisons between the two become even more striking. So when you meet Skull Face the first time and he isn't wearing a mask, it's because you're playing as Big Boss, the real deal. When you're playing as Venom Snake, Skull Face is wearing the mask. And like his mask, Venom Snake was ultimately a Paper-Thin Disguise in place of the actual Big Boss that we all saw through, even if we didn't realize it.
Why is Quiet so resistant to the non-verbal communication methods that she's offered? Simple: because if they can get an answer from her through writing or a similar method, then they would likely try and torture her into giving up information, knowing that she can communicate in a way they can understand. Her lack of communication can in itself be considered a trick for her own safety.
A longtime joke among Snake Eater fans is the irony of Snake immediately leaving behind his HALO jump equipment during the Virtuous Mission despite Zero's assertion that he can leave absolutely no trace of his presence. MGSV offers a neat retroactive explanation: Skull Face and the XOF cleanup crew picked it up.
Throughout the game, Venom completes side-ops mission regarding the rescue of several MSF survivors in the operating zone. However, these survivors are wack-crazy, fleeing at a speed faster than Venom when he approaches. It can be inferred that it is simply their disbelief that Big Boss is dead that drove them crazy, but the announcement of Metal Gear Survive shows what happened to old Mother Base and the MSF survivors, sucked up by wormholes into an alternate dimension filled with zombies. Suddenly, their paranoia and craziness seems rather justified if these MSF survivors are the same ones from Survive.
The Executive Meddling leading up to the release of Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain, and Hideo Kojima's subsequently leaving Konami, is the stuff of infamy. Chief among the meddling was Konami's attempts to erase Kojima's name from his games and his own studio. When The Phantom Pain was released, the game adopted an episodic format to its missions: not unlike a television series, each mission begins and ends with credits for the episode's programmers, writers, and so on. Those credits all end with the name "Hideo Kojima", which carries over into the game's end credits, which also end with Kojima's name. In the end, Kojima made damn sure he got his due.
The first and last final boss battles of the series (discounting the MSX games) are against a Humongous Mecha controlled by Liquid Snake, fueled by his resentment of being the allegedly imperfect son.
The liberal use of Jitter Cam and Long Take in cutscenes is unusual, even for the already unusual MGS series. It gives off the feeling that there's always a physical cameraman observing all the events, like a permanent P.O.V. Cam. When The Reveal happens, during which everybody looks at the cameraman to show that there is a third person in the room, this is exactly what all the camera effects lead up to.
At the end of the true ending where Big Boss departs to continue the big story of Metal Gear, all the stylistic camera moves immediately cease, and return to the all-seeing non-moving normal cut camera shots of other MGS games. With the truth revealed, there is no need to hide it anymore. Big Boss is stern and confident and the camera knows it.
The twist that Venom Snake is a Body Double for Big Boss brings to mind certain elements of a previous game, but it actually has an interesting inversion if you think about it: the Patriots proved that Raiden could be controlled in high-stress situations to emulate Solid Snake's feats, but not his actual mindset or personality at all, creating a massive contrast between the real deal and the enforced copycat. On the other hand, Venom Snake is so identical to Big Boss that most of the cast are completely oblivious until The Reveal, and even for his faults and imperfections in the charade, he's so close to the real deal that Big Boss considers them one and the same anyway. Why is this such a big deal? Because it was Zero's idea to do the Body Double stunt. No one in the world, not even Ocelot nor Kaz, understood Big Boss as well as Zero did, and instead of just getting some indoctrinated Child Soldier in for convenience like the Patriots did, he took one of Big Boss's best that personally believed in what he did and put their life on the line for him. Beyond the true purpose of the S3 Plan, the Patriots emulated what their originator pulled off - and couldn't, simply because they didn't actually understand the people they dealt with on a personal level.
Furthermore, Jack was trained by Solidus Snake, an already messed up copy of Big Boss. Hes a copy of a copy.
The vast majority of Diamond Dogs' recruits are of Russian and African heritage, who are often depicted as villains in 80s and 90s action movies. This foreshadows the fact that Diamond Dogs will eventually merge with Outer Heaven, a rather villainous faction.
The pointed bit of shrapnel on Venom's forehead is reminiscent of petruding scales many venomus species of snakes have on their faces, one example could be the eyelash viper, or the gaboon viper.
The significance of the number five in the game:
It's the fifth main title in the Metal Gear series. Duh... or is it?
V is the Roman numeral for five. It's also one of Venom Snake's codenames while he's in the hospital, plus it's the initial of his title.
V is the shape one's fingers make when they make the "peace" or "victory" symbol with their hand, a symbol which has been alluded to since Peace Walker. It could also look like two horns on a demon's head.
Venom Snake's unique double-banded eyepatch makes a V shape along the right side of his head.
Venom Snake is the fifth Snake by order of game release, coming after Solid Snake (David), Liquid (Eli), Solidus (George), and Naked Snake (John).
Ocelot occasionally refers to the doublethink equation "two plus two equals five", discussed multiple times on this page.
Five is the number of digits on human hands and feet, referring to the idea of phantom pain and limb loss.
In the opening mission in the hospital, Ishmael is seen urinating. He's pissing himself because he's scared of getting caught, right? Except Ishmael is actually Big Boss, who is used to wearing sneaking suits, which among their other functions, collect the wearer's waste fluids. Big Boss has gotten accumstomed to just relieving himself in his sneaking suit in a combat situation. He's not pissing himself out of fear, he's just used to letting his body do what it needs to without letting it get in the way of carrying out his mission.
Likely unintentional. But during the first Parasite outbreak on Mother Base, the solution being 'to quarantine all staff that speaks Kikongo' can feel so damn specific and difficult to find that some players might resort to reading guides made by other people. This doubles down on how communication (one the game's Central Theme) is so important for society to function.
Remember those soldiers who willingly let Snake kills them to stop the parasite? It looks like a beautiful example of Undying Loyalty until you realize that many of them are brainwashed to be fanatically loyal. Under normal circumstances, they wouldn't let Snake kill them so willingly.
Ultimately, the Parasite is the weapon that targets memes (as in Richard Dawkins' definition) Cultures and languages themselves will be weaponized and then eradicated, destroying key functions that human societies needed to survive.
It was a good thing that the medic operated on Paz without anesthetic; otherwise, she would be too unconscious to even warn Big Boss about the other bomb which would mean the second bomb would have instantly killed him.
Given that said medic becomes Venom Snake in The Phantom Pain, this takes on an even darker tone. As the hallucinations on Mother Base involving Paz seem to stem from his Survivor's Guilt for not being able to find the second bomb. Which, combined with how thorough the transformation into Venom was, would also mean that this particular experience was the only aspect of his old identity as the medic that remained, at least until he regained his memories.
There's an even darker undertone to the very first hallucination of Paz; namely the explanation Ocelot provides for Paz's condition - a combination of dissociative amnesia and dissociative identity disorder. These conditions actually apply to Venom Snake himself. The hallucination is the closest his mind comes to realising he's not the real Big Boss, but he never puts the final piece together until he hears the truth from Big Boss himself.
Throughout the "Jamais Vu" mission, Miller describes the situation of the Snatchers taking over the military base as "nightmarish" and that it would haunt him for the rest of his life. His greatest fears were realized when he was killed and impersonated by Liquid Snake.
Even though this game hasn't been released yet, so we don't yet know the full details of what Ocelot is talking about, the idea that there could be a weapon that "surpasses Metal Gear" is horrifying. Metal Gear by default is one of the closest things we have to a weapon of ultimate destruction, so anything that surpasses it is not something anyone would be giddy or in a rush to meet.
Played horrifyingly straight: it's a trained contagious parasite colony from primordial ages that can kill people who say a trigger phase. One of thousands of trigger phrases, encompassing most of, if not all of, an entire language. The parasite will, obviously, be deployed where the trigger language will be the same as the local language. To rephrase, speaking your native tongue is a death sentence by slow, painful death by larve EATING YOUR LUNGS, THEN TURNING YOU INTO A ZOMBIE THAT CARRIES OUT THE PARASITE'S WILL.. However, by Revengeance the weapon isn't as apocalyptic as it was in the 1980s.
Although this would more like Fridge Pity(?), it's got an element of horror to it. When you think about it, Skull Face prepared a big long speech to Big Boss that he gave in the back of that jeep ride claiming that he would arm the entire world with nukes and destroy Big Boss and Diamond Dogs and blah blah blah - you've gotta feel a little bad for the guy, because in the end he wasn't even tormenting the right Snake.
Also, Skull Face prepared that entire speech and not once does Big Boss even interject or question what Skull Face has planned, leading to the hilariously awkward silence between the two in the overly long ride to his base; Skull Face could be letting Big Boss stew in his issues regarding the Boss and thinks he's broken him by talking, like he has so many others, but it's best summarised here.
He's obviously expecting Venom to just spend the ride Metal Gearing every fifth word he says. Would've worked too on the real Big Boss.
For a long time it was assumed by fans that the Patriots didn't degenerate into a Big Brother, totalitarian organization that tortures and uses seedy black operations to spread its influence until much later on in their existence, not until Solid Snake's era at least. But to see Camp Omega and its god-forsaken living conditions (especially what they did to Paz and Chico), and the deeply amoral XOF running around, shows that the Patriots (or Cipher) went off their rocker a lot earlier than that.
It gets worse upon finding about Zero's true intentions as it shows that even he realizes just how his plans have Gone Horribly Wrong and proven to be not such a good idea in the first place.
Huey's eventual suicide that was brought up in Sons of Liberty makes a lot more sense when you keep in mind the depths of depravity Big Boss (apparently) goes through in his pursuit of revenge against Cipher. Being the foremost Metal Gear expert in the world Huey is one of the people most responsible for the existence of Metal Gear, and letting Big Boss get a hold of it to use for his extremist purposes. The suicide was probably motivated by much more than just a cheating wife when you think about his complacency in Metal Gear's use as a weapon of mass destruction rather than a proper deterrent force for peace. If of course it was in fact a suicide; it might have even been engineered by enemies of Big Boss so he couldn't be used as a Metal Gear expert ever again. Unless, of course, they knew about his humiliating exile from Big Boss's team, which would have made targeting him pointless.
Given that Huey's sanity died over nine years, since he murdered his wife and nearly annihilated the Diamond Dogs, and given that Venom Snake almost certainly reported his actions and ultimate fate to Big Boss, it's possible that Big Boss decided one day that he didn't need someone worse than Coward Duck. Though given that Huey died after Venom did, this theory seems less likely, as Big Boss might have been too preoccupied with conquering Zanzibar Land and dealing with Solid Snake to pay any attention to him.
Another possibility for his eventual suicide is from the guilt from what he did to MSF and Diamond Dogs as he causes a lot of their problems, and persistently acts like a Dirty Coward whenever things start to go badly for him. Such as allowing the hoax XOF inspection to happen, which causes Mother Base's destruction, and later unleashing the parasites killing hundreds of soldiers. As Ocelot puts it, no one can run away from their phantoms forever, which is exactly what Huey tries to do throughout The Phantom Painby refusing to take any responsibility for his actions.
Or, if you combine his Dirty Coward tendencies along with his PTSD, it might make perfect sense. his wife cheating on him might have been because of his cowardly ways, and how meek he was. She might have seen sleeping with his son as a step up, or as a way to try and manipulate him. And with his PTSD and history, he may have decided that, once again, this was none of his fault and tried to punish her while finally ending his own suffering. This would be one last way to try to both make his PTSD go away and to get back at the people who were ruining his life despite his attempts to avoid trouble.
It's also possible that Strangelove being a lesbian ties into his psychosis, as that marks two times Huey loved a woman who simply didn't love him back. It's possible that everything that happened with his son and his wife was just a huge flashback to Strangelove and everything that happened with her, including his eventual murder of her, and it was simply too much to go through a second time
Huey occasionally projects issues about himself onto others as part of his delusion. For example when Venom has to execute his men infected by the second outbreak, everyone accepts it as a necessary evil to protect humanity... except Huey who utterly opposes it but lies about why. First, he's the one directly responsible for the outbreak, every person that dies, deep down he knows it's his fault. But while being outraged that Big Boss would shoot his own men, he very briefly groups himself in with them (despite later grouping himself away), and then it becomes clear that the other half of his outrage is that he understands that even if Big Boss believes Huey is part of the team, that's not enough to protect him if his crimes get out. During his trial, he begins ranting about their delusions of being a team, but soon begins clearly projecting some of his own flaws that he won't outright admit, that he's terribly, terribly lonely after losing Strangelove, Hal, and knowing that he doesn't actually belong with Diamond Dogs. From that, another factor that could have finally pushed him over the edge was that he'd been regaining a semblance of a family for a few years... then his wife cheating on him was the final straw to show him he was still alone years later even with a normal life.
All this also serves to not only highlight how much Huey is a foil to his own son. But also how Hal, aka Otacon seems to take a lot more from his mother, Strangelove, than from Huey. Even if he couldn't remember her.
A more insidious interpretation is simply that, upon finding out that Hal was being sexually abused (because he wasn't over the age of consent and was rather obviously a very lonely boy - something his step-mother could easily have taken advantage of), he did the exact same thing he does throughout the game: denies that any of it could be his fault, and re-interprets the situation to make himself out to be the victim. Rather than admitting to himself that his wife was abusing his son, he re-interprets it as a consensual affair and himself as the wounded party. This also casts a lot of doubt into whether Emma's near-drowning was really an accident - having deliberately failed to save the life of his first wife, killing Emma wouldn't have been an issue for him, and something he could easily justify to himself as "revenge."
Ground Zeroes established a perfectly valid reason for why Zero ended up in a vegetative state as of Guns of the Patriots: As a ghost living completely off the radar no one with the power to help him knew where to find him. Due to his decision to stay off the radar and issue out orders via proxy there was virtually no one on Earth who knew who he was, so that by the time he lost his mind he was probably discovered by civilian doctors who knew absolutely nothing of who or what he was and just put him in some random retirement home, instead of getting him to a Patriot facility where they could reverse his condition.
Alternatively, Skull Face's attempts to kill Zero may fail yet severely injure him regardless, and with the stress of near-death combined with his aging self, Zero deteriorated to the point where the Patriots would take over.
It's a little bit of Column A and B, in-game; Skull Face deliberately doesn't kill Zero, and instead subjects him to a strain of the parasite he's working on that essentially simulates dementia, slowly crippling Zero's cognitive processes. Zero is found in time by his men, but the condition is irreversible, meaning he only has time to properly set in motion future plans to enable Big Boss to stop Cipher, realising it has become bigger than him. Skull Face still wins in the end, in other words.
If you chose to rescue the other POWs from Camp Omega and have them safely extracted, assuming that they were sent to Mother Base to recuperate, well...It's probably best not to think about what happened to them after the XOF attacked. They show up in The Phantom Pain as special characters, and Miller describes them as grateful survivors who've returned to repay Big Boss.
The E3 2014 trailer has an Oh, Crap! moment in that it appears to show Big Boss and Skullface working together, which is pretty horrific given the events of the previous game, but then it makes perfect sense when you realise that the pair never met face to face in Ground Zeroes, meaning Big Boss has no idea what he did.
Another interpretation is that Big Boss knows what Skull Face did, but is working with him simply to get revenge on Zero/Cipher - which could be a Moral Event Horizon in and of itself.
All of that is subverted: Skull Face had Venom captured but wanted him to duel the Man On Fire.
The brutal destruction of Mother Base by Cipher/XOF bears a striking resemblance to a similar sequence in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, wherein a set of linked, hexagonal military platforms collapse into the ocean. As a testament to the organization's tasteless amorality, The Patriots were deliberately repeating history - modelling the S3 Plant not only after Shadow Moses, but also after Big Boss's old MSF headquarters, ultimately engineering it to be destroyed with personnel on board, and no lifeboats to speak of. The Big Shell, modelled after one of Big Boss's facilities, was taken over and commandeered by Big Boss's exact clone, Solidus - and his "son", Raiden, was employed as his saboteur by The Patriots, for their psuedo-paternal relationship not unlike that of Solid Snake to Big Boss. Harsher in Hindsight, indeed.
The ending also explains why Ocelot chose the "Perfect Simulation" cover story - Venom Snake is literally an Ascended Fanboy of the real Big Boss, but ended up becoming the real deal (literally; he's the final boss of Metal Gear 1). In the same way, Raiden ended up becoming an Ascended Fanboy of Solid Snake, deviating from the original but ending up with his own legend.
At first, you might assume that Skull Face was responsible for Chico being crippled by driving screws/bolts though his heels/Achilles tendons, but if you examine any of the other POWs with infra-red, you can see they ALL have been treated thusly. No wonder even the sniper-spotter pair thought Camp Omega was severely messed up - who's to say what Skull Face did to Paz and Chico was worse than the camp's normal operating procedures regarding logs/prisoners....
Strangelove's death helped cause one of the biggest problems in the series to happen as had she lived long enough to fully oversee and develop the Patriots AI network system, she would have made sure that the AI could empathize and understand human emotions and would help guide them into better understanding The Boss' will. With Strangelove's death, however, Sigint took over the AI development and the system became a emotionless system that evolved to think for themselves, becoming very ruthless and manipulative and would stop at nothing to achieve their own goals which lead to the SOP system being developed. Makes you really hate Huey, doesn't it?
Strangelove's decision to have her son, Hal (aka, Otacon) taken away from Cipher's hands and Huey's also says a lot about how Otacon was unaware of Metal Gears before REX or Huey's work with Big Boss. In addition to the likelihood of Huey refusing to acknowledge ever working with Big Boss after being exiled (since it's never been his fault, according to his logic) and his research being classified or expunged, Hal never knew at all. And it was all for his safety, from a mother he'll never see again.
In relation to Otacon, it could also help explain how he came up with Metal Gear REX's design. As it's based on subconscious memories of Metal Gear Sahelanthropus, given how he would have been used on it as a test subject if not for Strangelove's sacrifice.
That makes alot of sense considering two other points 1) Otacons design of REXs main body/cockpit looks exactly like Sahelanthropus' "head" cockpit and also how Liquid piloted REX so easily in MGS1, he already used a similar setup, back when he was a kid named Eli
The ending reveal about Venom Snake becomes this thanks to context and execution. We've been playing as Big Boss during his FaceHeel Turn, and have correspondingly been getting our hands dirty through numerous Kick the Dog moments that, while impersonal at worst and justified by revenge on a clearly worse enemy, are still pretty bad. Our last cutscene, in 1995, features Venom Snake/Big Boss being informed about Solid Snake's deployment against him. Pretty depressing, right? It's worse. Venom isn't the real Big Boss; at best, he's a willingly brainwashed decoy who's skill level and commitment to Big Boss's cause makes Big Boss their Collective Identity. So, this man you've been playing at in this game, who's suffering severe psychological trauma, on top of neurological damage from a head wound, who now looks the part of a monster with an almost literal Red Right Hand and horn, covered in scars, heads out to see his army and base destroyed once again before his eyes, and he's going to die there, and it wasn't originally his dream, his life, or his identity. That smirk he gives upon the original Big Boss congratulating him is full blown Loss of Identity. While its kind of an awesome moment for the character, it's still deeply disturbing and frightening on a psychological level.
Look at the history of snipers in the MGS series. Chronologically There's The End, then there's Quiet. With MGSV we now know both these characters are infected with parasites that greatly enhance their abilities. Next on the list is Sniper Wolf who, while lacking parasitic super powers, is still arguably comparable to these snipers. One has to imagine that she'd heard of these legendary shooters and wanted to be able to match them but lacked the supernatural power. It provides some explanation to her self-esteem and perhaps how she became addicted to diazepam.
When Huey finishes off Skull Face and loudly proclaims he's got his revenge, it seems like a case of Dramatically Missing the Point. Until you consider that he's really getting revenge on Snake and Miller by denying them their revenge. What makes this Fridge Horror is that he's only just getting started.
Something that's been bothering me, is.. well, why wasn't Quiet innoculated to prevent her parasite infection from spreading/reproducing if she spoke a trigger phase? did i miss something, or was it explicitly stated somewhere ive missed that it'd have neutralised their abilities that were keeping her alive?
They didn't because they didn't know she HAD a vocal cord parasite strain inside of her. The only one who knew for sure was Code Talker, whom she told after he acted on his hunch. And by that point it is revealed that the Wolbachia strain could mutate to activate without trigger phrases. Note that "The One That Covers" is similar to the vocal cord parasites, but still a separate entity with different effects. It's not that they couldn't without killing her, but that the English strain could mutate and she wasn't willing to take that chance and stick around after the mutation possibility was revealed.
In one conversation, its said that she refused treatment. After "A Silent Exit" Ocelot theorizes that some part of her still wanted revenge on BB for setting her on fire, beating her at her own specialty, and letting Miller keep her locked up, and wanted to hang on to the parasite as a weapon of last resort.
Somewhere out there, Big Boss is recruiting child soldiers and Miller is not there to stop him.
Imagine a soldier, presumably loyal to his people and country, and with a loving family and supportive friends back home. One day, while on a mission, that soldier is choked into unconsciousness and promptly delivered by helicopter into a secret offshore platform somewhere in Africa. There, something is done to him so that in a matter of hours he gives up completely about his entire former life and pledges his soul and existence to a charismatic yet seldom seen military leader, whom he loves like a father (as he loves the leader's other followers like brothers), enthusiastically lets beat him and would gladly die for. Big Boss' operation is a lot like a horrifying cult.
What's even worse is that they've been doing this since Peace Walker - it's only now that they've made the 1984 references more blatant that it sinks in how Big Boss has always had monstrous methods, and Miller has always approved of them. Speaking of 1984 - the posters of "Big Boss is Watching You", Ocelot's implied use of doublethink and the general theme of language also gives an idea as to how that loyalty is maintained; after all, a soldier can't rebel if he no longer has words for rebellion, can he?
Zero hides Venom and Big Boss in a civilian (well, military, but doesn't have armed guards) hospital knowing full-well that it would be completely defenseless against XOF should it ever become aware of Big Boss's location.
If we code the game in a way that allows us to fully move the camera in cutscenes, we can see that, before the GZ helicopter crash, Venom has both eyes working. The shrapnel in his head and arm loss seems to be due to the crash (arm on the x ray looks ripped out and not cut by a surgeon), but what about his eye? While it's not unlikely that he was blinded in the accident, there's a chance Venom was blinded to resemble Big Boss even more closely
Code Talker is very explicit in how he views the English language as a tool of colonization, which was used to rob him and his people of their heritage. It can actually be considered darkly fitting, then, that the method he creates to prevent death by the vocal chord parasites rings of another form of abuse usually utilized by colonizers. The fact that the Wolbachia bacteria causes sterilization, which rings of many colonizing powers who would have tried to forcibly "breed out the savagery" by forcing themselves on the colonized, or, as is more fitting here, forcibly sterilize those they colonized. Either the soldiers keep their lives and their language, or their ability to reproduce.
Alternative Title(s):Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes, Metal Gear Solid V The Phantom Pain