Big Boss (Metal Gear)
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (July 2013)|
|Metal Gear character|
Big Boss as seen in Yoji Shinkawa's promotional illustration.
|First game||Metal Gear (1987)|
|Created by||Hideo Kojima|
|Designed by||Yoji Shinkawa|
|Voiced by (English)||David Hayter (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker)
Richard Doyle (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots)
Kiefer Sutherland (Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain)
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Akio Ōtsuka (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain)
Chikao Ōtsuka (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots)
|Motion capture||Mizuho Yoshida (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater)
Akio Ōtsuka (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots)
Mio Tanaka (Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker)
Kiefer Sutherland (Metal Gear Solid V)
Son of The Boss
|Affiliations||Outer Heaven (Metal Gear)
Zanzibar Land (Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake)
Green Berets (pre-Metal Gear Solid 3)
FOX and CIA (Metal Gear Solid 3)
FOXHOUND (Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops)
The Patriots (post-Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops / pre-Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker)
Militaires Sans Frontières (Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker)
Diamond Dogs (Metal Gear Solid V)
Big Boss (also known as Jack, Naked Snake and Punished Snake) is a central character in Konami's Metal Gear series. He was introduced in the original Metal Gear series first as the commanding officer then nemesis of the player character Solid Snake. He later becomes the protagonist of Metal Gear Solid prequels where he is depicted as an American covert operative, decorated war hero and later as the leader of a rogue band of mercenaries, leading into the events of Metal Gear.
Big Boss's character has been praised by video game publications for his role as a villain as well for his relationship with Solid Snake. As the series' chronology progressed, his exact alleigence and motivations became increasingly complex; in his first appearances, he is depicted as a traitor dreaming of a world of perpetual war, but subsequent appearances have revealed him to be a key figure in an ideological dispute that shaped the latter half of the twentieth century, and a man whose conscience was disturbed by the attitude of leaders towards soldiers, prompting his decision to become a soldier of fortune.
Main Metal Gear games
Big Boss (ビッグ・ボス Biggu Bossu?) is introduced in the original Metal Gear game as the Special Forces Unit FOXHOUND's leader and Solid Snake's commanding officer. He initially acts as a radio contact who provides Snake with information about mission objectives, as well as weapons and equipment. However, near the game's conclusion, after Snake destroys Metal Gear, Big Boss exposes himself as Outer Heaven militia leader near the base's escape route and confronts Snake in a final battle, but is defeated.
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake reveals that Big Boss had survived, and has since taken control of a fortified nation in Central Asia - Zanzibar Land. This time, he establishes a military force along with his trusted lieutenant Gray Fox and commissions the development of the new model Metal Gear D. Solid Snake confronts Big Boss once again while escaping from the Zanzibar Land detention camp, with the former incinerating the latter.
Big Boss's presence figures prominently in the first two Metal Gear Solid games when Solid Snake is revealed to be Big Boss's genetically-altered clone created from the secret government project, "Les Enfants Terribles" (French for "The Terrible Children") that also created Liquid Snake, the primary antagonist of Metal Gear Solid, and Solidus Snake, the main antagonist of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
The prequel Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater depicts a young incarnation of the character, under the codename Naked Snake (ネイキッド・スネーク Neikiddo Sunēku?), as a member of the special forces unit FOX in 1964 that was founded by the CIA and Zero. He's also commonly called Jack (ジャック Jakku?), diminutive for John (ジョン Jon?), by various characters. In the game's prologue sequence, Snake is given orders to infiltrate the fictional Soviet region of Tselinoyarsk and extract defecting Soviet scientist Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov. After rescuing Sokolov, he is confronted by his mentor The Boss who is defecting to the Soviet Union and defeats Snake, before Colonel Volgin deploys a nuclear weapon on a nearby research facility and leads the United States and Russia to the brink of war. In order to prove that they were not responsible for unleashing a nuclear attack and thereby soliciting retaliation, the United States sends Snake back into soviet territory a week later on a second mission where his primary objectives are to assassinate both The Boss and Volgin, rescue Sokolov once again, and destroy the secret Soviet weapon known as Shagohod. While under the guise of a Russian major, Naked Snake infiltrates Grozniy Grad, the military fortress where the weapon and Sokolov are believed to be housed. However, he is discovered by Volgin and subsequently tortured for information, losing his right eye in the process when muzzle flash due to a bullet fired by a young Ocelot burns out his right eye. It is due to this injury that Big Boss begins to wear his characteristic eye patch late in the game. Snake fulfills his mission and is awarded the "Big Boss" title and the Distinguished Service Cross by President Johnson, only to learn the true nature of The Boss's defection from a recorded confession left by the female spy EVA that he worked and became intimate with during the story: The Boss was deep undercover to retrieve the Philosophers' Legacy before Volgin did, but was ordered to become a scapegoat after she was blamed for Volgin's nuclear attack on Sokolov's research facility. This revelation and his role in the conspiracy does not sit well with Snake, and the willingness of the government to sacrifice The Boss for political reasons leads to his decision to leave the FOX unit.
The direct sequel Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (set six years after Metal Gear Solid 3) shows Big Boss preferring his former Naked Snake codename as he believed that he has yet to surpass The Boss as a warrior. Snake finds himself involved in an armed uprising caused by the FOX unit led by Gene in the fictional San Hieronymo peninsula in Colombia and learns that he has been convicted for instigating the revolt. Hoping to clear his name, Snake forms his own team of specialists by recruiting both old allies and defecting enemy soldiers to his cause, one of whom happens to be Roy Campbell. He faces not only the members of the FOX unit, but also the first built Metal Gear prototype. After he learns that The Boss's death had been orchestrated, he defeats Gene and obtains the funds for Army's Heaven, which was a precursor to Big Boss's Outer Heaven.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots reveals that Big Boss and Zero were the founding members of the Patriots. But a fallout between Zero and Big Boss occurred due to each of them interpreting The Boss's will differently, with Big Boss believing that she wanted a world where soldiers were not used as tools by the government. This caused Zero to initiate the "Les Enfants Terribles" project which caused Big Boss's defection from the Patriots and his plotting a coup d'état against Zero, causing the events of Outer Heaven (Metal Gear) and Zanzibar Land (Metal Gear 2). Big Boss is revealed to have survived his defeats, but is placed in an artificially induced cryogenic coma, with his genetic code used for the SOP ID recognition system, the use of which allows access to the AIs that make up the Patriots. His body is recovered by EVA and reconstructed using parts from the bodies of both Liquid and Solidus and he awakens from his coma after the fall of the Patriots' AIs. Following the voice casting credits, Big Boss appears before Old Snake (Solid Snake). After revealing the truth about Zero and the Patriots, Big Boss shuts down his catatonic nemesis's life support system. He manages to come to terms with his feelings regarding The Boss, and then reconciles with his son before dying from exposure to the FOXDIE virus implanted in Snake.
Big Boss's past serves again as the scenario in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (set a decade after Metal Gear Solid 3 and four years after Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops) when Naked Snake has established his new group Militaires Sans Frontières (French for "Soldiers Without Borders") on Colombia's Barranquilla Coast with his new partner Kazuhira "Kaz" Miller. Two mysterious individuals, Paz Ortega Andrade and Ramon Gálvez Mena, seek to hire MSF to liberate Costa Rica from the CIA's "Peace Sentinel" unit that has established bases in the country. Snake accepts the mission after Galvez, revealed to be a KGB operative, hands him an audio cassette with a recording of The Boss's voice. Following Kaz's advice, MSF takes over an offshore research platform in the Caribbean as their base of operations in a bid to expand the group's capabilities. Over the course of the campaign, Snake learns the true purpose of Hot Coldman's Peace Sentinel unit, lets go of his guilt for killing The Boss after defeating an AI replica of her that Coldman planned to use as the ultimate nuclear deterrent, and finally accepts his Big Boss title.  Later, Big Boss has Huey Emmerich, a scientist originally working to develop AI weapons for Coldman, create Metal Gear ZEKE, an unmanned, AI-controlled mech designed for defense and not aggression. After Big Boss kills Gálvez in self-defense, Paz, revealed to be an agent of his old enemy Zero (aka Cypher), pilots a secretly-modified ZEKE to launch a nuclear strike on the Eastern Coast of the United States as part of an insurance policy if Big Boss refused to rejoin Cipher. After hearing her offer, Big Boss refuses and is forced to fight ZEKE in order to stop Paz. After ZEKE's destruction, Kaz tells Big Boss that he knew about Cypher's plot. Big Boss decides not to hide, but rather to stand and fight against all comers, stating that his life will be different from The Boss's. After this conversation, Big Boss gives a speech to the Militaires Sans Frontières, telling them that if the times demand it, they will be vigilantes, criminals and terrorists, and that they will form a place called "Outer Heaven".
Other Metal Gear games
In Snake's Revenge, the first, non-canonical sequel to the original Metal Gear, Big Boss returns as the leader of the enemy organization, having survived the injuries he sustained in the original game by becoming a cyborg. He fights Snake as a boss prior to reaching the new Metal Gear prototype and has two forms: his human form and a fire-breathing cyborg form.
Big Boss will return in two games: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, a prologue set in a year after Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker; and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, the main portion set another nine years later. Big Boss takes a sneaking mission in Cuba in Ground Zeroes, and will assume the new codename Punished Snake (処罰・スネーク Shobatsu Sunēku?) as he ventures into Soviet-controlled Afghanistan in The Phantom Pain.
Creation and design
In his initial appearances, Big Boss's visual appearance was inspired by actor Sean Connery. However, for the ports of the game released as part of Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, the original design was replaced by Yoji Shinkawa's design. During the making of Metal Gear Solid 3, Hideo Kojima asked Shinkawa to make Naked Snake (Big Boss's younger self) similar to Solid Snake but with the differences that unlike Solid Snake, Naked Snake was a rookie and thus acted more naive. Shinkawa stated he had no difficulties in designing Naked Snake as it was basically a revised version of Solid Snake. As a result, Naked Snake is virtually identical to Solid Snake from the previous Metal Gear Solid games in terms of appearance. Since the game's trailers did not state that Naked Snake was Big Boss, Kojima often gave vague answers to the character's true identity. Although the ending of Metal Gear Solid 3 reveals Naked Snake was given the Big Boss title, Kojima stated "he's not really the Big Boss yet." With Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, he wanted to explain how Naked Snake became the Big Boss who appeared in the first Metal Gear game as Solid Snake's enemy.
As Naked Snake, the character shares Solid Snake's voice actors (Akio Ōtsuka in Japanese and David Hayter in English). In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Big Boss is voiced by Chikao Ōtsuka (Akio Ōtsuka's real-life father) in the Japanese version and Richard Doyle in the English version. On June 6, 2013, during the third annual Konami Pre-E3 show, Konami officially confirmed that actor Kiefer Sutherland (Big Boss's voice actor) will also be doing motion capture work for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Sutherland was assigned the role after a suggestion to Kojima from Hollywood producer and director Avi Arad; Kojima's reason for replacing Hayter was to "have a more subdued performance expressed through subtle facial movements and tone of voice rather than words," and that he "needed someone who could genuinely convey both the facial and vocal qualities of a man in his late 40s."
Big Boss's character has been well-received with IGN having ranked him number 32 on their 2010 list of top video game villains, and as the fourth top Metal Gear villains. In 2010, IGN's Jesse Schedeen found him one of the most important characters from the franchise to the point his "influence is felt in every Metal Gear game, even if he isn't always present in the flesh." Computerworld named Big Boss as one of the most creative "badass villains" in video games, citing the complexity of his betrayal of Solid Snake, fueled by Snake being his genetic heir. Additionally, GameSpot listed him as one the 20 best Metal Gear bosses with focus on his importance within the series' plot. He was ranked as the 28th "coolest" video game villain by Complex in 2012.
The inclusion of Naked Snake's role in Metal Gear Solid 3 has also received praise from critics. Prior to the game's release, Naked Snake was often called 'Solid Snake' or simply Snake by critics due to his resemblance with Solid Snake, although some still were not sure about his true identity. Additionally, early speculation of Big Boss being the playable character from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was listed by IGN as one top ten rumors on the PlayStation 2. GameSpy further noted that various fans started making theories about Naked Snake's identity before the game's release as while they thought it was Solid Snake, the setting from the game made it impossible for Solid Snake to be the game's main protagonist due to their difference of years. Finding the revelation of Naked Snake's identity was considered by GameSpy as "the single coolest thing Kojima could have done in MGS3" because of [Naked Snake's] differences from [Solid Snake] in regards to their personality as well as because it made fans wonder how Naked Snake would become the series antagonist Big Boss. Another comparison between Big Boss' and Solid Snake's character was made by IGN's Phil Pirrello in article titled "Stars Thunderdome: Snake vs. Big Boss." GamesRadar placed his relationship with Eva in their top list of disastrous game romances due to how it was ruined by the two's different roles in the story. Play editor Nick Jones listed Naked Snake's final fight against The Boss in such game as the second best moment from the franchise, citing the emotional focus from their characters. Various gaming sites such as 1UP.com, Game Informer and Kotaku placed him as one of the worst fathers in video games due to his poor relationship with Solid Snake and his attempts to murder him. David Hayter's performance as Naked Snake's English voice actor in Metal Gear Solid 3 has been criticized by Edge while discussing the dialogues from the game.
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- Kojima Productions. Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, Metal Gear. Konami. "Big Boss: Solid Snake! You've finally come here. Yeah, I'm Big Boss General Commandant of Foxhound. And in charge of this fortress, Outer Heaven."
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- Kojima Productions. Metal Gear Solid. Konami. "Liquid Snake: There's a killer inside you... You don't have to deny it. We were created to be that way. / Solid Snake: Created? / Liquid Snake: Les enfants terribles... the terrible children. That's what the project was called. It started in 1970s. Their plan was to artificially create the most powerful soldier possible. The person that they chose as the model was the man known then as the greatest living soldier in the world..."
- Kojima Productions. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Konami. "Miller: Naked... That's exactly what you are with this uniform. The pants are the same as the jungle fatigues. Obviously, since you're exposing your bare skin, your defense and camo index are going to be low. On the plus side, it's so light you can move around quicker. / Snake: Good for showing off muscles, too. / Miller: Hey, Snake. I heard they gave you your old code name because you used to run around with your shirt off. Is that true? / Snake: Don't believe everything you hear. They called me "Naked" because I went in without gear or food. I had to procure everything on site."
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- EVA: The Boss's defection was a ruse set up by the U.S. government. It was all a big drama staged by Washington so they could get their hands on the Philosopher's Legacy. And The Boss was the star of the show. They planned it so that they could get the Legacy that Colonel Volgin inherited...and destroy the Shagohod at the same time. (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater) Konami Computer Entertainment Japan, 2005
- EVA: (...) Everything was going according to plan, but then something happened that no one could have predicted. Colonel Volgin fired an American-made nuclear warhead at Sokolov's research facility. Khrushchev demanded that the U.S. government provide proof that it wasn't involved. (...) The authorities in Washington knew that in order to prove its innocence they'd have to get rid of The Boss...and that one of their own would have to do the job. (...) That was the mission she was given. (...) She sacrificed her life and her honor for her native land. (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater) Konami Computer Entertainment Japan, 2005
- Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Kojima Productions (2006)
Gene: So... You never knew. Six years ago, during Operation Snake Eater, Volgin launched an American nuclear missile at Sokolov's research lab. This caused a change in plans, and the U.S. government had to assassinate its own operative, The Boss, to prove its innocence. And you were the assassin, Snake. / (Naked Snake is speechless) / Gene: Do you really think Volgin committed that terrible crime of his own will? / Naked Snake: What? / Gene: It was all a setup from the very beginning. Volgin launching the nuke... The Boss' death... Even your mission in Groznyj Grad, Snake! It was all the work of your country and a single, deviously cunning strategist. / Naked Snake: You're saying it was all a setup? By who!? / Gene: The Boss gave up her life, even if someone else willed it. She sacrificed her own life for her calling. It was a noble act. / Naked Snake: Answer me! Who set it up?!
- Kojima Productions. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Konami. "Big Mama: "Give birth to Big Boss." To realize this, I asked to serve as the surrogate mother... And was more than happy to carry you in my womb. I loved him. Nine months later, I gave birth to two Big Bosses... You, and [Liquid Snake]. [...] Determined to oppose Zero and his plans, Big Boss broke away from the Patriots."
- Big Boss: Ever since the day I killed The Boss... with my own two hands... I... was already dead. (Konami, Metal Gear Solid 4, 2008)
- Kojima Productions. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Konami. "Snake: I won't make the same choice as her. My future's going to be different. / Miller: Then... / Snake: Yeah, that's right. From now on, call me Big Boss."
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