By: Adam O’Brien
You 100% don’t need me to tell you that the ending to the latest Metal Gear is controversial. It felt slightly shoehorned, didn’t really offer any kind of closure and blatantly just wasn’t finished. However there is one thing about it that is very smart and interesting. Spoilers below.
Snake is different in this game. From when you first start to play you realise that he’s not the man he once was. He’s quiet, lost his ideals and the anger has been eating away at him for years. It isn’t until the end that we realise why. We are still Snake, just a different Snake. This new imposter goes by Venom Snake and is actually the antagonist of the first ever Metal Gear game on the SNES you didn’t play.
At the end of The Phantom Pain we see the first level in the game but from another perspective. We see that we were the medic in the helicopter crash at the end of Ground Zeroes. During the coma we were given plastic surgery and given hypnotherapy to make us believe we were big boss(I know). All to cover up the real Boss’ location. His phantom. Who feels pain.
I have heard all ludicrous claims that the real Boss is being mirrored by real life creator Hideo Kojima as he also left Konami or that the game not being finished is to draw attention to how humans long for closure. Some people just can’t accept that sometimes companies just run out of money and patience and ship games, regardless of how finished they are.
Back to the point, the twist feels forced, kind of unnecessary and doesn’t really change anything but it does make sense as to why Snake is different in this game. Snake is us. Kojima has said many times that he wants us (the players) to project ourselves onto the protagonist. That’s why there is so little voice acting, to allow us to keep the illusion that this is us in the game. But now this makes sense.
Only it’s not an illusion. Were we playing Snake we would be role playing as him but not really making choices that he would be, we would be making choices that we want. Now, as we are playing from a new character from scratch, all the choices that I made in the game make sense because I was playing my character, as opposed to playing Big Boss. Snake didn’t just suddenly turn silent for the sake of the director wanting us to feel like a badass.
To me, this is the coolest aspect to the twist. It made me realise that the choices I made in the game were mine, and not predetermined. The biggest draw of this game is the seamless stealth and unrivaled creativity afforded to me via the sandbox and only in the twist did I see that this was all me, and not Big Boss.
Finally it was me in Metal Gear Solid. And if that doesn’t excite you, well then I don’t know what can.