Memorable Metal Gear Moments: ‘I’m not here to fight’

A look back at a certain character’s resurgence during the grand finale of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, as a decades spanning timeline comes to its conclusion.

Metal Gear Solid 4 ends with Otacon and Sunny looking at the rising sun, as a symbol of new hope, of a new world freed from The Patriots’ grip. The screen fades to black and the end titles appear, listing the voice actors. The last one on the list is for Big Boss, which is strange, as he wasn’t really in the game. Or was it just in one of the flashbacks? But no. Just when you thought the game was over, the story seemed concluded, everything seemed to be wrapped up, at that moment we are presented with one of the most shocking and memorable plot twists of the series. After we already thought we’d seen the last of Solid Snake, the game brings us back to the graveyard where we’d left him, where we thought he had ended his own life. But it turns out he didn’t, he’s still at the graveyard, on his hands and knees, breathing heavily. And then, a sudden voice breaks the silence. ‘That’s right. Good. No need for you to go just yet’. Snake freezes. He seems to recognize the voice, and it leaves him in utter disbelief. Slowly, Snake turns his head to the side. The figure remains obscured to the player, and leaves him wondering ‘who is this? who can it be?’ We see the character’s legs, his clothes, a long, brown trench coat. The camera tilts up. And there he is, unmistakable: Big Boss. His iconic figure, as we’ve only seen in artwork is now there in the flesh: trench coat, grey hair slicked back, white beard and eyepatch and a weary look on his face. Before we can process what’s going on, Big Boss raises his hand, holding The Boss’s unique gun, The Patriot. He aims it directly at Snake, who quickly readies his own handgun in response. What is this, one final boss fight? But no, Big Boss lets go of his weapon, and as it drops to the ground, he lunges forward to grab Snake. But not to attack him, but to hold him in his arms for the first time, the son he never wished for, and who up until this moment has always been his nemesis. ‘I’m not here to fight’.

mgs4-big-boss-cqc-hug

For many of the characters, the events of MGS4 is about redemption. They finally have to face their mistakes, accept the reality of where their past decisions has led them. Face the difficult consequences head on, with all of their senses. For Big Boss, it’s no different. He came to that graveyard for many reasons – to free Snake, to end the Patriots once and for all, and most of all, to come clean with what he’d done. As he breathes in the FOXDIE virus, instigating his own end, he uses the last of his strength to stumble to The Boss’ grave. And now, fifty years after he pulled the trigger and killed her, he finally understands. He understands what she did, he understands how the pain and sorrow caused him to make mistake after mistake. He sees things clearly now, and it makes him experience all kinds of senses: regret, longing, and sorrow, but also peace. As he rests against her tombstone and smokes his final cigar with his son, there’s one feeling that lingers. ‘This is good… isn’t it?’ Surrounded by the peace and tranquility of that graveyard, he dies.

mgs4-big-boss-final-cigar

This final scene is one of the longest cutscenes ever in the series, and for a franchise that’s known for lengthy cinematics, that’s saying something. But it’s so well-made, with its melancholic feeling of finality and penitence, a bittersweet ending, resting somewhere between sad and peaceful, but with a positive feeling towards the future. And so a story that spanned decades of global events, about life and death, about war, and ideology, about the very nature of humanity – ends with the drop of a cigar.

  • ObsessedGeorge

    Nyxus, your writing is unbelievably good. It made me shiver, shed a tear and smile! For me, this final scene is where Kojima’s storytelling and cinematography is in it’s full glory, despite what many say about MGS4. It can’t be matched by anything else. It’s been carved in to my brain from the moment I first experienced it 7 years ago. Thank you for letting me re-live it again today. 🙂

    • AlbertoBalsam/ShampooManLeguy

      Amen brother

  • This final scene is one of the longest cutscenes ever in the series

    Not just in a series, but in Gaming. It is also in Guiness World Records for Gaming and as you said it is so well-made that you could watch it multiple times again and again after MGS4 completion. It’s great.

  • Salad Snack

    Personally for me, the series ended there. It was the perfect final to this perfect game series. The games after that felt like something created for fanservice, most likely for Big Boss fans. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on them, but they felt kinda unnecessary :/

    awesome article by the way 🙂

    • AlbertoBalsam/ShampooManLeguy

      “Big Boss fans”
      LOL
      I HAD A GOOD LAUGH
      THX

    • Well, chronically the series did end there, that is still true. It is a great way to close the saga, indeed!

      • AlbertoBalsam/ShampooManLeguy

        Yeah but the way He was speaking , it appears he was being an elitist.Maybe I’m the toxic guy here and I’m just accusing the guys saying the right thing.So confusing

    • MinimalistGeek

      Peace Walker, GZ, and TPP are absolutely necessary for understanding Big Boss’s ideology in contrast to Solid Snake as well as The Boss, and where Big Boss goes wrong. Try answering where exactly Big Boss ideology goes wrong with just MGS3, and MGS4 knowledge, and i can guaranty that it will be absolutely vague at best.

      Every MGS game provides crucial puzzle-pieces for several characters, and games after MGS4 are no different contrary to many people believing that they are useless.

      • Salad Snack

        so where *exactly* did he go wrong? By creating an army without borders? we get that from Metal Gear 1 & 2, too plus his ideoligies. By rescuing soldiers from the field? By destroying Metal Gears? By saving Chico and Paz? By fighting Zero and Skull face, the bad guys from everyone’s point of view? That’s my problem. In all of these games he’s still a hero.
        I let a friend of mine play the Metal Gear saga and she began with MG1 and MG2, the old ones. She thought of Big Boss what an asshole he is in these games. In MG1 he sends out his own man on a suicide mission just to let the world know he’s not interfered with Outer Heaven. Sadly she couldn’t enjoy MGS3 that much after MG1 & 2. But at that point I began to ask myself, when did we ever think of Big Boss as an asshole in PW, GZ and TPP?

        So again, where *exactly* did he go wrong?
        (sry for my eng)

        • matttt

          “It’s not about changing the world. It’s about doing our best to leave the world the way it is.” Big Boss spent his life in reaction to his having to kill his mentor and hero (and his belief that she was sacrificed as a pawn to the state), believing that soldiers should not have to be loyal to masters who will misuse them for selfish and corrupt reasons. However, his projects and choices based on his ideals of a world where soldiers would no longer be misused all become twisted and warp the world into one where mind-controlled mercenaries fight petty wars for money.

          As the one who controls Snake through these games we only see his perspective, where his actions are good and just. However, for the most obvious example, in his own MSF and DD, he kidnaps and indoctrinates soldiers into his personal army, which is already villainous from an outside perspective. He has basically enslaved these people, destroying their previous lives and preventing them from returning to their families and homes by making them part of an organization which is more than likely an enemy of their homelands.

          Where Big Boss focused on the freedom of soldiers and imposing his will on the world, The Boss fought and gave her life to protect the world, to prevent the same drastic changes that he forced. Snake only saw soldiers and who controlled them, where she she saw the entirety, her loyalty to not just those in charge and her comrades, but the lives of the people. She accepted the necessity of her own death to prevent the stable MAD from falling into chaos and war.

          • Also, Big Boss fought for a place in the world, no matter the cost, whereas The Boss sacrificed her own life and honor to keep stability in the world. Big Boss realizes this at the end of MGS4.

          • Alex

            “He has basically enslaved these people, destroying their previous lives and preventing them from returning to their families and homes by making them part of an organization which is more than likely an enemy of their homelands.”

            Except that is not true, we see him leaving them open to their own decisions, many just fall in love with him fanatically. But there are soldiers in TPP that do not stay with DD after their time in the brig. The kids, the PW sedenistas, Strangelove, Huey etc. were all not forced to be a part of his army, they just wanted to join. He saved people and let it be up to them, which I guess one can argue is the best way to recruit people. He’s only a devil by being a saint, which MGSV really showed metaphorically.

          • Jesse Moreno

            I think where Big Boss went bad was when he bought into his own hype about being the greatest soldier that ever lived, a title bestowed upon him only because he killed The Boss, something he could not have achieved without both The Boss’ help and willingness to die for the mission and XOF, whom we learn shadowed him during Snake Eater and cleaned up after him. By the time we hit Phantom Pain, we have a Big Boss that believed he was the legend everyone built him up to be, so much so that he agrees to completely erase a comrade’s life just to continue his legacy and work. He uses one of his soldiers for his own purposes, which is completely antithetical to his previous motivations I’m not saying Big Boss was completely evil, but there was a turn to the dark side, subtle as it was.

            I would argue that Venom doesn’t act as Big Boss would, but rather he acts as how everyone thinks the legend of Big Boss would.

            Solid Snake , on the other hand, constantly talks about how he isn’t a hero when he absolutely is. He’s selfless, he cares for his friends, and he’s saved the world several times over, not to further his own legend or ego but because that’s just where his moral compass lies.

          • Alex

            Both Big Boss and Solid Snake were well aware and jaded by the concept of “Legends” and the reality behind them, how legends come to be. There are numerous occasions where they both go into this. It would be very backwards for him to suddenly buy into it. Its similar to when people think Kojima gets full of himself when he really doesn’t, he’s just as humble/jaded as his protagonists that act as metaphors/commentary in this regard. Just because they both use their name as means of rallying people (A Hideo Kojima Game/Kojima Productions, Big Boss’ army etc.) doesn’t make them full of themselves, just smart/tactical. Big Boss despised the name and took him a long time before accepting it, but again, more so as a means to an end. Peace Walker plans became a threat to the world, Paz/Cypher became a threat, Skullface/XOF became a threat, and The Patriots slowly became a threat to the world’s freedom. Everything he’d ever done was in response to threats.

            With Venom the path had already been set by other characters, initiated by Zero and then continued by Ocelot, who convinced him the world needs this, that the world needed both him and his legend alive and spreading. Venom in his prior life was a fanatic soldier that would give/do anything for the Boss and upon realization of the truth, accepted it and moved on as so.
            There was never any exposition hinting at how Venom’s programming/brainwashing (whatever you want to call it) was distinguished to be different from how Big Boss really was. In fact, Zero went out of his way explaining in detail how he is identical.

    • Alex

      Ironically, MGS4 was all about fan service. Not that I’m complaining, it was amazing.

  • Who does not have MGS4 limited edition bonus disc, I recommend watching this [Turn CC for English Subs]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3WrTQ4olLc

    Honestly, I think MGS4 was the hardest game Kojima and his team made (not because it is harder then MGSV or other titles, but because the transition from SD Era to HD era with HD sound, small movie-like-scenes, blu-ray, PS3 as a horrible architecture was just a pain.)

    But it was worth it.

  • Full Options

    Thanks Nyxus, really nice read !

  • vic boss

    Isn’t kinda strange that it started with the drop of a cigar too, back in mgs3 when naked snake was just about to jump he threw his cigar when Zero was rushing him to get ready to jump.

    • Good observation!

  • NakedSnake85
  • Any chance you could go back and revisit your article on Zero’s death, which happened same scene? I’d love to know what you think of it in light of MGSV’s revelations….

    • Hmm, you know, that article is really about the scene in the relation to the story of the game and its underlying themes. So MGSV does not change much about that particular interpretation.

      Sorry for the boring reply. 😛

      • Well, how about an article on the Zero tapes? I thought they were some of the best writing in the entire series, and single-handedly “Justified” MGSV’s existence in the canon, but there isn’t much about them that I can see online.

        • Yeah that sounds like an interesting idea. Maybe something for the future.

  • PrinceHeir

    Amazing end. Tbh I didn’t like some of the retcon parts(Liquid’s arm, Ocelot becoming fake Liquid etc) but boy when Big Boss appeared. WOW!!

    Even though I only finished the game once. After playing MGSV and recently rewatching some of the MGS4 trailers. MGSV really took alot of mechanics in MGS4 and refined them. Though I still prefer the MGS4 system for some reason. It’s not too fast paced, but not too slow. Perfect actual stealth. Cutscenes were long as hell, but it don’t matter. I love watching them.

    I plan on doing a replay walkthrough on its 10th anniversary in 2018(time flew by so fast!!).

    Also the unlockables and secrets in this game is mind blowing. Seeing Mantis as hidden as the one controlling the beauties blew my mind on that one!

    Here’s the trailer that will make you play the game once more!

  • Jefferson DE Almeida Cruz

    Meet The Characters Of The New Metal Gear Solid Game 6,7,8

    Types of Characters
    Characteristics

    Protagonist (s) It is the most important character of the work, around which the story unfolds. He is usually a hero, and in some cases there may be more than one.

    Co-protagonist (s) It is the second-largest character of the play. It is usually the person who helps the hero and in some cases there may be more than one. Sometimes he is a supporting actor who falls in the graces of the public, and acquires relevance equivalent to that of a protagonist, possessing a particular plot.

    Antagonist (s) It is the character that rivals the protagonist, almost always fighting against him at the end of the play. Usually it is the villain and in some cases there may be more than one. However, the antagonist need not necessarily be a person or personification of object, animal, among others, but that which hinders the goals of the protagonist.

    Opponent The character who helps the antagonist. Like the coprotagonist in relation to the protagonist, he is usually friend or relative of the main antagonist, although sometimes he serves or works for him.

    Supporting or secondary character It is the character who has another function in history, and may or may not be related to the main story. Its importance may vary depending on the plot.

    hero
    Anti hero
    Villain
    Enemies
    Boss Bosses

    List of main characters in the Metal Gear series

    Solid Snake
    big boss
    Dr. Hal Emmerich
    Meryl Silverburgh
    Raiden
    High-Tech Special Forces Unit FOXHOUND
    The Patriots
    Forward Operating Bases

  • Jefferson DE Almeida Cruz

    Meet The Characters Of The New Metal Gear Solid Game 6,7,8

    Types of Characters
    Characteristics

    Protagonist (s) It is the most important character of the work, around which the story unfolds. He is usually a hero, and in some cases there may be more than one.

    Co-protagonist (s) It is the second-largest character of the play. It is usually the person who helps the hero and in some cases there may be more than one. Sometimes he is a supporting actor who falls in the graces of the public, and acquires relevance equivalent to that of a protagonist, possessing a particular plot.

    Antagonist (s) It is the character that rivals the protagonist, almost always fighting against him at the end of the play. Usually it is the villain and in some cases there may be more than one. However, the antagonist need not necessarily be a person or personification of object, animal, among others, but that which hinders the goals of the protagonist.

    Opponent The character who helps the antagonist. Like the coprotagonist in relation to the protagonist, he is usually friend or relative of the main antagonist, although sometimes he serves or works for him.

    Supporting or secondary character It is the character who has another function in history, and may or may not be related to the main story. Its importance may vary depending on the plot.

    hero
    Anti hero
    Villain
    Enemies
    Boss Bosses

    List of main characters in the Metal Gear series

    Solid Snake
    big boss
    Dr. Hal Emmerich
    Meryl Silverburgh
    Raiden
    High-Tech Special Forces Unit FOXHOUND
    The Patriots
    Forward Operating Bases…

  • Eugene Voldo

    Eh, Metal Gear Solid saga ended with MGS4. That’s true. But its ending was so long and boring, that I dont even remember any details besides Zero in a wheelchair and “YOU MUST LIVE ON, SNAKE!”. I had beated MGS4 once, played online for two or three hours, got my ass kicked many times and then sold it.
    Remeber how Star Wars Episode VI ended? That’s what I call a great end. But definetly not a 1-hour talk-show about loose ends that Kojima tried to cover up in one take. It’s simply awful.
    My opinion, guys, so dont come at me with forks and fire.

    • I disagree. It was fantastic. Metal Gear is a heavy-story driven saga and Star Wars VI as great as it was… is not. So of course you had a huge cut scene where the latest things were explained by the main characters. When MGS4 came out, MG saga was 21 year old with lore that was huge for it’s time (5 games+MGS4). It is espionage and full of great twists and you can’t just end it: “Hey, you killed Liquid Ocelot, good job buddy!” “Credits Roll” “Thanks for playing! GG! Well played!”

      • Eugene Voldo

        I respect your opinion. I know a lot of guys who really liked how Kojima handled MGS4 ending. I think it’s just a matter of taste. In my eyes the main problem of MGS4 is that Kojima tried to give answers to all mysteries and loose ends since MGS1. And I still think he made a mistake. But as I said some guys like it and some guys don’t.

      • MinimalistGeek

        It also didn’t need to go into absolute hand-holdy lengths. I love the ending with Big Boss, but you can literally cut half that shit, and won’t lose much of anything that important in experience.

        Many people remember Big Boss scene but most of them can barely remember the exposition that he starts giving, and quite frankly it’s pointless.

        • Alex

          The exposition was important for the lore just as the emotion was important for the storytelling. It filled valuable gaps in what was really happening in MG1/MG2 in the Big Boss/Zero war and provided an entirely new/different context for the mysterious Ocelot character, providing insane character depth to a once established villain. I would say this exposition was far more important than things like explaining Vamp.

    • AlbertoBalsam/ShampooManLeguy

      Star Wars VI is the most overrated Sci Fi movie I have ever seen.What a load of cringeworthy scenes there were.

  • NakedSnake85

    Guys. There is a new MGSV event coming up. I set it up with another fellow mgsv player called seinyx85.
    The event is powered by konami. I had the chance to speak with Robert Peeler and He and konami are on board. There will be prizes.
    Anyone who is intrested please pm me in one of these social media
    PSN : FILANDRIANOS
    YOUTUBE/FILANDRIANOS (Comment in my videos)
    FACEBOOK / FILANDRIANOS
    TWITTER / PANOS FILANDRIANOS.
    I WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOU THERE

    • It’s not huge for Japan. Every building out there have a good Building Code up to 8.5 m.g. earthquake. Kojima will be alright 😉

      • Full Options

        This code is an average not really taking into account the very epicenter location of the shock. 8.5 or not, if your flat is spot on or near it, it will have severe damages. Kobe (1995) was “only” 6.9 but the epicenter was so near the city that even flats supposed to resist to higher magnitudes were destroyed.

        http://www.buzzle.com/img/articleImages/272086-54528-49.jpg

        When the epicenter is in the sea, the major hazard feared by population is the associated Tsunami.

  • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

    Wow I remember this scene so well – I actually remember a ton of the moments in MGS series that stuck with me. [excluding MGS V yet to play that] But this scene was definitely one of the few that truly resonated with me. Everything you detailed down to the last paragraph it really made it special. How it all wrapped up, and really just made you feel you were there in the moment-totally nuanced while also having that tangible connection to the scene as you just were completely immersed and lost in the world that Kojima created as you went on this journey to the end.

    Every little aspect of this game was near perfect blowing me away and subverting my expectations.With this scene being a prime example, the execution practically flawless, you could see at some points how Kojima used his film background and passion to bring the scenes to life. Just one thing after another that impressed me, even though I’d played it nearly 5 years after it’s release, and played through 4 TIMES including on Big Boss [ can’t remember if it was on Hard or Extreme, sure it was latter] Mode. It’s VERY rare when I’m that dedicated to and engrossed in a game to spend more time than the creators allot for a single playthrough especially with replayability. Kojima’s games just have that flair that keeps your eyes on it and make you wanna come back to it.

    That’s testament to the impeccable design in Kojima’s games. The presentation, storytelling, immersion, cerebral/ psychological engagement that challenged me as a player, thinker, someone to gain perspective and challenge my own view on things in life. It was a really exceptional and personal experience for me that I’ll never forget, probably stay with me the rest of my life.

    Out of all the games in the series, Even though the entirety of the string of cut scenes at the end of all stuck with me, I actually found that the scene with Raiden was really the one that stood out to me the most and stayed with me the most clearly after it was all said and done, even though the other parts in the game were just as visceral, emotional, and introspective. Because like you said this game for most of the characters was about redemption as they came to terms with what they’ve become, what they’ve done and how they’d live with themselves from then on – or for some go out with a bang – for me I guess it also helped look into deeper parts of myself and the things around me that really made me think and increase my awareness on things I hadn’t thought about before, really changed my perspective on games and what they could be. Indebted to Kojima for taking us on a journey that resonates in our hearts from beginning to end.

    That’s just the tip of the iceberg as there’s other games in the series with their special moments but case in point: LONG LIVE! METAL!! GEAR!!! May it never be forgotten.

  • Full Options

    Boyz, Boss is paying me a visit next February ! I may attend if the entrance is not too expensive or if I manage to get in… ;D Gonna check that precisely…

    https://twitter.com/MagicMonaco/status/801009335996477440

    • Nice. Made a post about this: http://www.metalgearinformer.com/?p=28683

      Make sure you get us some exclusive scoops. 😛

      • Full Options

        For sure I will if I can ! ;D Do you think we should invoke some kind of press status ? Like on behalf of MGI or something ? The reason I am asking is that it could make a difference since they are all stating “the creator of the Metal Gear Series” everywhere so, coming on Metal Gear Informer’s behalf could do ? ;D
        In all cases, I will try to get as close as possible, xD
        And perhaps make him hopefully sign my PS3 reference tool plastic cover (it is a DECR-1400, not going to carry a whole fat console all the day long.. xD).

        • Well maybe you can say you’re representing MGI, the biggest Metal Gear fansite (…right?). Maybe that opens some doors. Maybe not. 😛

          Either way, good idea to bring something cool for him to sign.

          • Full Options

            Ok then, we may try something.. Maybe it is worth to prepare 1 or 2 questions.. If I can check him at least at an autograph session, I can always try to ask him something on behalf of the community who knows ?? 😀
            Edit : I’ll try to gather information from the organizer regarding press status. From now on, they don’t seem to make any difference between regular attendees and press ones..

          • Maybe ask the community in the other post? See if they have any questions.

          • Full Options

            How about a poll about that next month or in January ? 😀
            Like “if you could choose between one of the following questions to ask to Boss, which one would you choose ?”

          • Yeah we could do something like that around that time.

  • FoxTamerMGO

    The best ending to a franchise PERIOD.

  • radun

    The ending was such a nostalgic moment. Well acted, well written and well directed.
    I often find my self head-quoting that “back to zero” analogy, which i consider it to be one of the series highlights in terms of self aware writing.
    The game itself was a strange and unique beast with many concepts “lost in translation”, but when it’s at its best, MGS4 is the best. I still appraise the last battle as the most intense and emotionally charged fight in any storytelling medium i’ve personally read or seen.

    Thank you for another great article!

  • Gatsu

    This was one hell of an article Nyx <3, you're a real master writing these :D. I love MGS4 ending so much… so nostalgic and awesome, full of feels.

  • Alex

    This scene made me super complacent and unafraid of death. I owe that and many other things to this franchise.

  • Alex

    “His iconic figure, as we’ve only seen in artwork is now there in the flesh”

    We really need a figure/statue of this Big Boss. We have a lot of Big Boss as a Solid Snake mirror image, but none of this very iconic version of him that loomed in our minds throughout the entire series. And I really wished the MGSV Snake was more of an in-between phase with many elements of this Big Boss present similar to Ocelot. You see it a lot in the artbook and artwork, Shinkawa had a lot of amazing Big Boss designs for MGSV, but it seems like the marketing and/or Konami needed to have that more iconic flagship look of Snake. The horn and ponytail are even visual elements that replace the bandanna.

    • Well he rid himself of the bandana at the end of PW, so it does make sense that one is gone. And yeah, a MGS4 Big Boss statue by Gecco would be great. And expensive.

      • Alex

        Yeah, I mean that they were in a way visual elements to match the bandanna motif from past games. Without the horn and ponytail his head looks kinda naked in both the MGS3 and MGSV prologues, the brown mullet is kinda bland without these elements. The horn is for the forehead and the ponytail gives him the hanging piece. Its aesthetically pleasing to the eye in a similar way as the bandanna.

        But a more aged looking Big Boss with half grey, shorter hair would’ve been pretty cool. Something that looks like he’s just a decade away from his MGS4 appearance.

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