Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a great game with not much of an ending.
After the credits rolled, I still had a ton of questions. And with all of the drama at Konami, it’s likely we may never get the answers. Yet I can’t help but ponder these mysteries out loud. These are the five biggest questions I had after beating The Phantom Pain.
Note that these all contain huge spoilers, so don’t read it if you haven’t beaten Metal Gear Solid V.
What happened with Eli?
The Phantom Pain positions Eli as a major character, hinting (and, in the end, confirming) that the 12 year old was Liquid Snake, the villain from the original Metal Gear Solid. Halfway through the second chapter, Eli, Psycho Mantis (it never says it’s Psycho Mantis, but come on, it’s Psycho Mantis), and some child soldiers hijack the Metal Gear that Snake destroyed at the end of the first chapter and disappear past the horizon. It seemed like the story was setting up for a big confrontation with Eli and the Metal Gear.
Except it never came. As it is, The Phantom Pain offers no payoff to the stories of Eli, “Psycho Mantis,” or the child soldiers, despite all of them having major parts in the game. It feels like something was cut, probably because something was cut. Yup, the special edition for The Phantom Pain comes with a feature that shows off the cutscenes for a final mission that would have pit players against Eli inside the Metal Gear. How was this cut?
A possible explanation: You’d like to think Kojima had an artistic reason, but it’s far more likely, given all of the drama with him and Konami, that the studio was simply tired of pouring money into Metal Gear Solid V and told him that he had to finish the game. Still, it’s hard to believe that these elements remained unfinished. So many plot threads, including that extra strain of the English vocal cord parasite that Eli has, remain open when the credits roll. How could they not wrap it up?
What the heck is up with Huey?
Huey Emmerich is the father or Hal Emmerich, aka Otacon from the Solid Snake-era Metal Gear Solid games. He’s in Peace Walker, playing a similar role to his son as a scientist who felt used by others to inadvertently make weapons of mass destruction. However, that portrayal completely changes in Metal Gear Solid V as Huey is now a mad scientist that revels in making horrifying machines.
Oh, he’s also a crazy murderer, but his motivations are never clear. So, Huey’s a part of Big Boss’ army in Peace Walker. He then collaborates with Skull Man to help XOF infiltrate and destroy Mother Base. Then, nine years later, Huey decides he wants to defect back to Diamond Dogs (after he already made a Metal Gear for the crazy guy with the skull face). Then, even after Skull Face is dead, he still does evil things like help the children hijack Metal Gear and even mutate a strain of the vocal cord parasites so that it kills a bunch of people. Oh, Huey also murdered the mother of his child.
What the hell? Why is Huey such a bastard? Also, how were Big Boss and friends so stupid to let him do it? They suspected him from the very beginning, but they still gave him enough access in Mother Base to cause all kinds of havoc. And when they finally have enough, Big Boss sends him away on a boat instead of killing him. The only reason for that is because the timeline has already dictated that Huey drowns himself after discovering that Hal has slept with Huey’s wife and Hal’s step-mom.
A possible explanation: So, let’s assume that Huey’s main motivation is building crazy robots. He might have defected to XOF initially because they offered him more resources. It seems like a bizarre motivation to murder all your comrades, but it’s the best I’ve got. So, nine years later, he hears Big Boss is back and decides to defect back, probably because he knows he’s almost done building Skull Face his Metal Gear and decides that he’ll probably kill him when he’s done.
As for helping the child soldiers and mutating the parasites, maybe that was just retaliation for all the torture Diamond Dogs subjected him to.
What happens to Mother Base and the Diamond Dogs?
OK, so the ending establishes the Venom Snake is the Big Boss that players kill at the end of the original Metal Gear in Outer Heaven, the nation that the real Big Boss is building while we’re busy establishing Mother Base. We know that Solid Snake destroys Outer Heaven, but what the heck happens to Mother Base and the Diamond Dogs? I mean, it was looking pretty big even in 1984. Why did Venom Snake leave it to command Outer Heaven in 1995? Does Mother Base just rot in the ocean?
A possible explanation: Eventually, Outer Heaven absorbs Diamond Dogs, including its soldiers and resources. The actual Mother Base becomes abandoned.
Why was Revolver Ocelot so different?
In all the other Metal Gear Solids, Revolver Ocelot is an eccentric, sadistic man. In The Phantom Pain, he’s calm and the voice of reason. Huh? We’ve seen an even younger Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and he was still pretty flamboyant and quick to anger. So, what, the ’80s were just a calm decade for Ocelot?
A possible explanation: In all those other Metal Gear Solid games, Ocelot is either a triple agent or under self-hypnosis to believe he’s someone else. The Phantom Pain might be the only time we actually see him being himself since it’s likely his true allegiance lies with Big Boss. So, the eccentric Ocelot was just an act.
Was Venom Snake OK with being turned into Big Boss?
At the end of the game, Venom Snake listens to a cassette tape from Big Boss explaining how he and Ocelot tricked him into thinking that Venom was actually Big Boss. He then tells him that they are now both Big Boss. At first, Venom Snake seems pleased with this and even gives a little smirk. Then, when the tape ends, he punches out a mirror in a seeming fit of rage.
So, how does Venom Snake really feel? Is he OK with having his former identity stolen from him? Is he OK with all of his current memories being lies that actually belong to someone else? We do know that he goes along with being Big Boss’ phantom as he still impersonates him in the original Metal Gear. Still, this is such a dramatic revelation for the main character. I would have liked to know what he thought about it.
A possible explanation: Venom Snake is slightly annoyed but remains loyal to Big Boss and happily takes his place as his doppelgänger.