Is ‘The Phantom Pain’ Really a New ‘Metal Gear’?

Published 2 years ago by , Updated July 17th, 2013 at 3:35 pm,

Phantom Pain Metal Gear Solid Theories

In our discussion of the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards winners post we cited how decidedly barren the show was in terms of mystery reveal trailers. Last year’s show, for example, was chalked full of trailers many never saw coming, or at least were not sure would make an appearance.

This year, however, the only big mystery came in the form of a new game from an unknown studio. And this new game, titled The Phantom Pain, has sparked quite the debate across gaming forums everywhere, leading many to believe it is little more than a clever rouse, meant to lead gamers on a wild goose hunt for its true purpose.

For those that have yet to see the trailer, all you really need to know is it stars a man with bandages over his face, whose arm has been replaced by a wooden shaft and a hook. That alone would be an intriguing concept, but it only gets more and more mysterious from there.

As the unidentified character is guided through a war torn hospital filled with military troops, tons of fire, and several odd occurrences as well, he is never shown from the front, neither do they do anything beyond crawl or stumble across the floor. So to say that the content contained within the trailer definitively points towards anything would be stretching credulity, however a few minor details suggest this game might not be called Phantom Pain at all. In fact, the popular theory running rampant around the Net right now suggests this is actually a new Metal Gear or is part of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes.

Just one look at the main character’s salt-and-pepper mullet instantly calls to mind Solid Snake or Big Boss without so much as seeing his face so in that regard the connection is clear. And then there’s the mysterious figure that appears at the end of the trailer, a character who is wearing a uniform that looks eerily similar to the get-up of Volgin, one of the main villains in Snake Eater. Yet another detail that is hard to explain away, but isn’t set in stone.

Phantom Pain - Is This Volgin

And while these details can be contextualized by stills from the trailer, other hints that point towards Metal Gear come by way of some clever investigation into The Phantom Pain‘s developer Moby Dick Studio. That company, a developer with no previous credits to its name, claims to have been founded by its current CEO Joakim Mogren.

Now it’s a little tin hat and crop circle-y for our blood, but if you swap the letters around for Joakim you end up with the name Kojima, the man behind the Metal Gear franchise. However, more investigation into Moby Dick reveals it is a Swedish-based developer, and in Sweden the name Joakim is somewhat common.

And there’s a gif going around that proposes some vague lines in the game’s title are actually meant to spell out Metal Gear Solid 5, which is the least credible of the theories out there as it connects dots that may not even exist. However, the person who managed to connect those dots did so in such a way that you still end up seeing the title. Check out the gif here.

More theories are popping up by the minute, and as they grow so too does the feeling that we have a Half-Life 3 level conspiracy theory on our hands. On a very surface level there are some connections to the Metal Gear franchise, but even then that could be stretching it.

The easiest route to dismissing the game as Metal Gear related comes courtesy of Spike TV’s Geoff Keighley who tweeted:


Now Keighley is the man behind these exclusive trailers — he secures them, he promotes them, and he knows way more about them than we ever will until launch. So for him to say The Phantom Pain is a completely new game — or at least to imply that by a hastily put together tweet — should definitively put the theories to bed.

The real smoking gun will probably have to come from Hideo Kojima himself, who, if he wants to prove Pain is not MGS, can simply mention that this new IP runs on the Kojima Productions Fox Engine and therefore has similar visual qualities, but it is by no means the same product. Or does he even need to explain himself? The man has already tipped his hand towards his future projects already.

We already know that Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is a thing — we’ve seen 10+ minutes of footage from it — so why would Kojima stoop to such secretive tactics? And if it’s Metal Gear Solid 5, why are all the connections that are being drawn up related to Big Boss and Snake Eater?

Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes Screenshot 1

Personally, this sounds more like gamers trying to find connections to current IPs rather than accepting a product as something new. It happened with The Last of Us, where many thought that game was simply Uncharted 4‘s new direction, and it happened to a lesser degree with Watch Dogs, Ubisoft’s open-world, technology-based title.

Until such a time as the stars align, and all the details come together, AND Kojima comes out from behind his curtain to say, “You got me,” it’s hard to believe Kojima Prod. would deliver a trailer, a title, and a studio that are all part of some elaborate magic trick. Why can’t this just be a new and potentially exciting game that has caught our eye with some intriguing concepts?

Feel free to share your theories in the comments. Why do you think it’s a new Metal Gear? Why do you think it’s not?

The Phantom Pain currently has no release date.

Source: NeoGAF

TAGS: Kojima Productions, Moby Dick Studio, PS3, The Phantom Pain, Xbox 360

  • Pat

    I’ve been trying to assemble a theory but haven’t been successful. The trailer is full of hints, and I feel like I could grasp something deeper if I think about it the right way. Here are a few points I would like some opinions on:

    1) Dr. Kio Marv was a video game designer. If he is the man at the beginning of the trailer, is it possible that we are witnessing some type of simulation? We know that Kojima likes to break the game/reality barrier, and there is precedence in the series for simulations used to create better soldiers (i.e. the entire central plot of Sons of Liberty).

    2) Which Snake is the main character? He crawls on the ground, is probably missing an eye, and has a mullet, so it’s without a doubt a Snake. But which one? I would conclude it was Big Boss if not for the hook arm, which points more to Liquid. Were there other clones made? Solidus was directly cloned from Big Boss and was unrelated to Les Enfants Terribles, so it is very, very possible that other clones were produced as well. My money is on Phantom Snake.

    3) “From FOX, two phantoms were born”. This slogan is very intriguing. Most people think this implies Big Boss and Zero, and while that may be true, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. What are phantoms? Big Boss certainly doesn’t fit that description. I think that Big Boss and Zero create the phantoms together. Could it perhaps be Solidus and Mystery Snake? We know Solidus was kept a secret, so that seems more logical to me.

    Connecting these theories together, I could loosely imagine that this dream sequence is a combat simulation designed to brainwash and/or train a Big Boss clone. I would enjoy the story of a new Snake failing his potential to be Big Boss and trying to escape the Patriots who want him eliminated.

  • bigbosslegend

    There were 8 clones created altogether and the other 6 were supposely aborted to enhance the power of the original 2. They kept a 3rd clone a secret so they actually aborted 4. The Twin snakes are liquid and Solid and they shared big boss’s traits. Solidus was enhanced stronger than those but he also aged super fast unlike those 2. Solid Snake andLiquid also age faster because they are clones but not as fast as Solidus. As you can see in MGS4, Solid Snake ages badly just like Solidus did. The timeline shows that there were 8 clones created in the Les Efants Terribles project. Timeline also shows that Big boss was in a coma at one point. (the guy in the trailer was in a coma). Even MGS4 shows and talks about BIg boss being in a coma. This entire trailer looks like it takesplace after Metal Gear 1 and before MG2. This was after outer heaven but BEFORE zanzibar Land.

    This would mean Solid Snake and Liquid are alive and in their 20’s and Grey fox is also Alive. Mantis would be young around the age as the phantom in the trailer. After the outer heaven incident, the place blew up. This could of put Big boss in a coma and he could have lost his arm in the process.
    He was reconstructed in MGS4 and he wore long sleeves and gloves. So we couldn’t see if he has a prostectic arm and couldn’t see his burn scars either (from when Big boss got burned alive in MG2 by solid snake).

    This is a MG game for sure. there is over 15 hints from the trailer that were MGS related. Ground Zeros is a sequel to MGS3, Portable Ops and peace walker, but this was seems to take place after MG1. That is where the gaps end between the 2 games.

    From Fox (the fox engine) 2 phantoms were born (2 games).

    • Pat

      Thanks for that feedback, I agree that it seems like a logical place to put MGS 5 in the timeline. I also like your interpretation of the “2 phantoms were born” line. The only minor correction is that, at least according to the Metal Gear wiki, there were 6 abortions. Solidus wasn’t part of Les Enfants Terribles, that is to say, he wasn’t genetically modified. He was a pure clone, hence my idea that there could be more. What I had forgotten though is the piece of evidence that shows a scar underneath Big Boss’ lip that seems to match up in GZ and PP. It would have been nice if the two games were essentially part 1 and 2 of the same story, but I tend to agree that there will be a gap.

    • Christopher D Camp

      This is exactly what I came up with during my extensive research. This HAS to be a MGS game. The only thing I could not figure out was why he doesn’t have his “S” shaped scar anymore.

  • James

    I truly believe this is MGS5. But, while a lot of people are trying to make sense of the story, I for one believe this is all in Big Boss’ head. A sort of Kojima take on “Jacob’s Ladder.” Which would be brilliant.

  • Visualiza

    There’s not a semblance of a well-reasoned argument here; you haven’t even made an effort to offer any decent counterpoints. If the best you can seriously come up with is “Keighley said it’s a new game so we believe him”, then you need to go back to the drawing board. Sorry, but writing everything off as internet conjecture only works when you have overwhelming and obvious evidence to the contrary. I understand that playing devil’s advocate can be a good idea, but you need to bring carefully thought out logic to the table, and frankly, there’s none here. You’re getting so much negative backlash because there wasn’t much thought to this entire piece outside of “let’s see how many hits we can get today”, and it shows.

    • Anthony Taormina

      Guess what? I know it’s crazy to think so in the world of absolutes that you and most of the people that have commented live in, but this is not an argument. I presented all the facts we knew and why or why not they made sense. The end. I wasn’t arguing for either side.

      My personal opinion (put on at the end) was merely that I would rather see this be a new IP than a game we already knew was coming.

      • Pat

        Keighly said it was a completely new game that hasn’t been shown before, not a completely new IP. MGS 5 fits that description and I don’t think his statement puts any rumours to bed. A close analysis of the title card and the amount of grooves and empty space cut into the lettering fits much too perfectly to be a coincidence. There’s also a plethora of other very crucial and unambiguous evidence that isn’t included in this article. I think people are just up in arms against you because you are in the minority who is hoping/believing it’s a new IP. You’re allowed to be. That being said, this game is without a doubt related to the Metal Gear series, and maybe an updated article with more recent evidence could be interesting to these guys.

  • obzen

    well, Im sure Anthony Taormina feels real stupid right about now