Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
E3 2014 Trailer Analysis
During E3 2014, Kojima Productions released a brand new trailer for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Time to dive into it and see what there is to discover. This analysis takes an extensive look at the director’s cut, which has some additional footage at the end compared to the trailer played at Sony’s press conference, where it debuted. Now, to quote Ocelot: Let’s get started, shall we?
This is a very significant quote as it says a lot about Big Boss as a character in this game. His hate is destructive to those around him, but most of all to himself, turning him into a ‘demon’. This is probably also the reason for his alias ‘Venom Snake’, his hate and anger are like a venom eating away at him.
A scorched battlefield, littered with bodies. We can see palm trees. The bird we’re seeing looks like a Lappet-faced vulture, indigenous to Africa, but they can also be found in other parts of the world, including Afghanistan.
Big Boss walks into the screen, covered in blood. It seems like he took part in the battle.
Next, we see a cremation of fallen soldiers, taking place on the Diamond Dogs base. It seems like there are at least a dozen dead here. It looks like the unit is very organized at this point, with flags carrying the Diamond Dogs logo and an army of disciplined soldiers.
We see Snake from is back, almost reduced to a dark silhouet because of the blazing flames before him. This creates a demonic image, as if Snake himself is in the depths of hell.
Kaz enters the frame as well. He could be saying something to Snake, but we can’t hear it. He leaves again, and Snake seems to pay him no attention, he keep staring at the flames.
Next, the ashes of the soldiers are carried towards the ocean. However, Snake stops the soldier in his path.
Snake takes the urn and walks towards the edge of the base, looking out at sea. He then takes some of the ashes, and covers his face with them. He is saying something, presumably the lines we hear later on in the trailer (“I will always be with you”).
The scene cuts to a close up of Snake’s face covered in blood, one bright eye looking straight at you, flames in the background. Again, a rather demonic image.
Snake aims his gun. This looks like it takes place during some mission, but it’s hard to identify the location. He is wearing the same uniform as in the Afghanistan level, so that could be the place.
It appears Ocelot is giving the Diamond Dogs soldiers shooting instructions at Mother Base. He has a Diamond Dogs logo on his arm. One of the soldiers is practicing Ocelot’s characteristic from-the-hip firing technique.
Now we see a shot of the Diamond Dogs base, with helicopters coming in. The structure looks huge, and the orange color is reminiscent of the Big Shell in MGS2. Apparently you can choose your own color for the base.
Miller in a chopper. This is presumably after he has been rescued in Afghanistan. He shows Big Boss the Diamond Dog patch. This could be when he says the lines heard in the GDC 2013 trailer: “You see this? Diamond Dogs. Our new home.” You can actually hear a chopper in the background during that line, so this seems very likely.
Now we get another shot of Snake and Miller looking at the base. However, this takes place a bit later than the previous scene, since Miller is dressed in different clothes and looks to be in better shape overall. So it’s probably some time after the rescue, and he has had time to recover.
Tanks rolling in, with helicopters following in the back. This looks like Afghanistan, a power plant.
A new look at the Huey interrogation scene first shown in the E3 2013 trailer. Big Boss puts a bag over Huey’s head, so this take place before that part.
Soldiers training at the base, reminiscent of the opening of Peace Walker, when Big Boss’s soldiers were training on the Barranquilla Coast. Or are they fighting each other over something? The two soldiers are really going at each other without holding back.
Another part of the Huey interrogation scene. This time with Ocelot. He’s carrying his revolver. Ocelot injects Huey with a syringe, what it does is unknown but it looks painful, judging by Huey’s reaction.
The following scene is interesting. Of course this is guesswork, but it looks like is Big Boss bringing in a group of child soldiers. We can see the kids from the E3 2013 trailer, when they were being trained by an unknown character, so maybe Big Boss rescued them from this man. Again Big Boss is wearing tiger stripes, as in the Afghanistan mission. Kaz is waiting for them on the helipad. He strikes the boy with his crutch, after which the child grabs a weapon from Snake and aims it at Miller.
After this, another shot of the training scene. One of the soldiers takes out a knife.
Next, Big Boss and Eli are fighting. First, Eli is using a plastic chair to swing at Big Boss, which is probably the same one he is sitting on in the E3 2013 trailer. This could indicate both parts are from the same cutscene.
Eli’s jacket reads: Never be game over. It’s hard to predict what it means, but the whole jacket gives off a ‘rebellious’ vibe. Also, notice the pig with the eyepatch. Is it supposed to represent Big Boss? In the later MGS games, Liquid has a sort of love / hate relationship with Big Boss. He says he hates his father and wants to destroy him by surpassing him in his deeds, but at the same time he’s obsessed with Big Boss and seems to shape his own existence after his example, saying it is his ‘genetic fate’. If the pig is indeed supposed to be Big Boss, it shows that Eli despises him, but is also obsessed enough to walk around in a jacket containing his image. (Keep in mind this speculation assumes Eli is Liquid, something that has not yet been confirmed but seems very likely)
This looks like the soldier battle from earlier, but now Big Boss himself takes part in it. His opponent is holding a knife, and Big Boss forces it into his own chest, despite the soldier’s efforts to stop him.
Back to the previous scene. Eli grabs a knife, but Big Boss takes it from him and thrusts it downwards. The scene implies he is stabbing Eli, but it’s more likely he plants the knife next to him.
Back to what appears to be the scene after rescuing Kaz (assuming that’s what it is). Still in the helicopter. Kaz seems emotional, but we can’t hear what he’s saying. About this scene: Kojima said he wanted the two characters to be this close together, despite the team advising against it. However, Kojima insisted because these are two men who share their lives together.
A woman (presumably Quiet) has been captured by a soldier and lead to a container filled with water. She is wearing a soldier’s uniform. If this is Quiet, this scene likely takes place before she became the person we know from the previous trailers. Kojima said there is a reason she is dressed the way she is, and maybe this scene gives us some hints.
Here we see the army Big Boss is assembling. They are cheering passionately. Kojima said in the All Access Live interview that this scene ties in with the story of Snake becoming Big Boss and creating Outer Heaven. He probably means to say that this scene shows how Snake is becoming the charismatic leader of a military state.
Another scene of the soldier attacking Quiet (?). He is pushing her head underwater.
This is also the scene after the rescue. Snake and Kaz have arrived, and the latter is receiving medical aid.
Now we see Quiet in her well known outfit. She’s at the Mother Base, attacking several soldiers at once with ninja-like jumps. Taking revenge for something? Her acrobatic moves nicely complement her sniper abilities, making her a lethal foe up close and from a distance.
‘Title Concept & Design by Kyle Cooper and Simon Clowes’
We already knew Kyle Cooper is involved, but there’s a new name here: Simon Clowes. He’s also a title designer who has worked on major Hollywood productions such as X-Men: First Class and Sherlock Holmes.
Snake is in a helicopter flying over the sea, and a soldier in another chopper is aiming a gun at him. Snake blocks the laser point with his cybernetic hand.
‘Executive Technology Director Julien Merceron’
Julien Merceron, the summary of an interview with him can be found here.
We can see a child lying here. From the looks of it, this is the same boy that aimed the gun at Miller. Snake grabs a knife and readies it for something.
Another shot of Snake with his bloodied face. This is the same scene as the one seen in the beginning, with the smoldering battlefield. Snake angrily screams to the sky. The horn seems to be larger than in previous scenes.
The title screen comes in. We hear a series of beeps, and a strange rattling sound.
Now it goes back to the burial scene. “We’re not burying them at sea?” Kaz asks. “What then?”
‘Tormented by Phantoms’. Notice the MSF logo, the ‘phantom’ from the past that has been utterly destroyed.
A truck is approaching a hangar, located inside a cliff. Doesn’t seem to be the Mother Base at sea. Meanwhile, we hear Snake’s voice answering Kaz.
“We’ll make diamonds from their ashes. Take them into battle with us.”
‘Spirits of Ground Zeroes’. Skull Face? This time it’s the XOF logo that’s in the background. Back to the hangar, we see it now holds a new Metal Gear. It looks similar to REX. “A shining light, to our brothers in arms. Even in death.” Kaz says in voice over.
‘Time for Retribution’, with the Diamond Dogs logo in the back.
It’s logical to assume Big Boss is using a metaphor when talking about the diamonds, but maybe this isn’t the case. It’s actually possible to make diamonds from human ashes. Another thing to note is that a raw diamond made from human ashes looks quite a bit like the ‘horn’ lodged in Big Boss’ skull. So maybe when he’s ‘carrying them into battle’, he is actually referring to his horn.
Also, since diamonds are collectable items in the game, it’s could be that the Diamond Dogs organization is using the diamonds made from fallen soldiers to buy new weapons or for other means (also, remember the scene from last year’s trailer where Big Boss seems to be exchanging diamonds with child soldiers).
Back to the burial ceremony (looks like it’s before Snake put the ashes on his face). “We are Diamond Dogs.” he declares. His second-in-command Kaz is standing next to him, and behind them are rows of soldiers.
‘Venom Awakens’. Referring to Venom Snake, and the theme of the game. Also noteworthy is that this ties in with the V in the title, as well as the ‘V has come to’ heard in the GDC 2013 trailer. This V is Venom Snake, as confirmed by Kojima.
Another thing that’s interesting here is the new Outer Heaven emblem in the background. It looks like a redesigned version of the Outer Heaven symbol from Metal Gear 1. You can see a hole in the skull on the place where Big Boss’s horn is.
This is also interesting. We now see that the Snake is in the truck arriving at the hangar, but he’s not alone. Skull Face gets out with him. Are the two working together? Even though Skull Face was behind the events in Ground Zeroes, and did horrible things to Paz and Chico. Skull Face is wearing his domino mask here.
Big Boss kills off several soldiers in a very bloody manner. Probably also meant to accentuate the dark side of the character and the gruesome nature of war. It looks like this scene takes place in some kind of military facility, could be Mother Base, an enemy compound or something else.
The song used is Nuclear by Michael Oldfield. It’s about Oldfield’s grandfather, who came back from World War 1 as a very different person. Oldfield believes he’s ‘still living with the out fall of this traumatic experience’. The lyrics itself are very fitting for the trailer and the story as a whole, since they evoke a sense of desperation and of the burden of past decisions, and how it irreversibly changes a person. Kojima said he saw the image of Snake before him when he heard this song, and thus decided to use it for the trailer.
Coming 1984. The year the game takes place in.
We hear Big Boss’s voice: “I won’t scatter your sorrow to the heartless sea. I will always be with you”. Another hint at the horn being made from his fallen comrades? This line is probably what Big Boss says when he just put the ash to his face, at the beginning of the trailer.
And yes, the game is still coming to all four consoles (PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360).
So, that about wraps it up. Of course, there’s always more to find and to speculate about, but hopefully this analysis contained some interesting points.
To see all the new MGSV: The Phantom Pain details that have been revealed this past E3, go here.