Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

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"Metal Gear Solid V" redirects here. For the prologue, see Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
MGSV The Phantom Pain boxart.jpg
Developer(s) Kojima Productions
Publisher(s) Konami
Director(s) Hideo Kojima[1]
Producer(s) Hideo Kojima
Kenichiro Imaizumi
Designer(s) Hideo Kojima[1][2]
Artist(s) Yoji Shinkawa[1][2]
Writer(s) Hideo Kojima
Shuyo Murata
Hidenari Inamura
Composer(s) Harry Gregson-Williams
Justin Burnett
Akihiro Honda
Ludvig Forssell
Series Metal Gear
Engine Fox Engine[3]
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Release date(s) PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One
September 1, 2015[4]
Microsoft Windows
September 15, 2015[4]
Genre(s) Action-adventure, stealth
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Japanese: メタルギアソリッドV ファントムペイン Hepburn: Metaru Gia Soriddo Faibu Fantomu Pein?) is an upcoming open world action-adventure stealth video game developed by Kojima Productions and directed, designed, co-produced and co-written by Hideo Kojima, currently in development for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.[5][6] The game will serve as a sequel to Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and a continuation of the narrative established there,[7] and will carry over the same tagline of Tactical Espionage Operations first used in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.[8] Set in 1984, the game follows the mercenary leader Punished "Venom" Snake[N 1] as he ventures into Africa[9] and Afghanistan during the Soviet war to exact revenge on the people who destroyed his forces and nearly himself during the post-events of Ground Zeroes.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a separated composite of two previously announced Kojima Productions projects, both of which formed a cunning ruse.[10][11][12] The first was Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, originally revealed in a Fox Engine tech demo shown at the Metal Gear 25th Anniversary Party on August 30, 2012.[13] The second was The Phantom Pain, a trailer at the Spike TV Video Game Awards on December 7, 2012, presented as an original title by fictional developer Moby Dick Studios, with the Metal Gear Solid V logo virtually obscured.[14] On March 27, 2013, the true nature of these two projects was revealed at the Game Developers Conference, where Kojima announced that Ground Zeroes serves as a prologue to The Phantom Pain. These two, separately released titles combined are Metal Gear Solid V, with The Phantom Pain constituting the bulk of the game.[15][16][17][18]


In The Phantom Pain, players will take the role of Punished "Venom" Snake (also known by his alias Big Boss)[19] in a massive collection of open-world environments. The gameplay elements are largely unchanged from Ground Zeroes, meaning that players will have to sneak from several points in the game world, avoiding enemy guards and remaining undetected. Included in Snake's repertoire are binoculars, maps, pistols, assault rifles and explosives. Following one of the series traditions, the Phantom Pain encourages players to progress through the game without killing, using non-lethal weapons. Players may traverse the game world with vehicles such as cars and tanks, in addition to traveling on foot or on horseback, and as certain locations are mountainous, players can opt to scale a rock face as a short cut. They may also call for friendly helicopter support against enemy soldiers in a combat alert or send commandos to scout a target area. Snake can also call on AI companions—including Quiet, a female soldier with supernatural abilities, a horse with a customizable saddle for carrying more equipment on the field; and DD, a trained wolf acquired on the battlefield of war-torn Africa as a pup and trained on the new motherbase —to assist him in the field.[20] The companions' abilities and their effectiveness will depend on the player's relationship with them.

As in Peace Walker, The Phantom Pain will offer a base-building feature that allows players to develop weapons and items from their home base. Recruitment of enemy soldiers and prisoners has also returned for this purpose, allowing the base to grow through organization. The player is given the option to access their base from their real-life smartphones and other devices via a companion app.[21] Unlike in Peace Walker where players can only see Mother Base from the air, they can control Snake as he explores the complex on foot. The Fulton surface-to-air recovery system, an item introduced into gameplay in Peace Walker, returns as well, with players now able to transport captured soldiers and other objects such as animals and vehicles back to Mother Base. Money for upgrading Mother Base's defenses and technology can be collected from objects found all over the map, such as diamonds, shipping containers, and special blueprint boxes. The income will be invested on upgrades to the appearance and abilities of Snake, his AI companions, and vehicles. For example, Snake's prosthetic arm can be modified with an electric stunner.

The enemy AI has also improved in terms of situational awareness. If players frequently use particular weapons or tactics to subdue enemy soldiers, repeats of the mission will see the enemy increase in numbers and be outfitted with better equipment; for example, the frequent use of headshots will see enemy soldiers don metal helmets to make targeting the head harder.

Series director Hideo Kojima revealed that the game has a new day-and-night cycle that runs in real-time, and that the time taken to travel time from one location to another will affect the time of day when the player arrives at their destination.[22] The cycle also fasts-forwards when Snake lights a "Phantom Cigar", a type of electronic cigar; a digital silver Seiko watch panel appears on screen to denote time. The passage of time enables players to analyze the movement of marked enemy forces in the area, such as shifts in sentry patrols and individual patrol routes. Weather effects, such as sandstorms and rain, will also affect the gameplay environment.[9]

A new game design direction will allow the player to choose in what order the story events take place by selecting missions in any order they like, and yet still "understand the encompassing message by the end".[23][24]

Hideo Kojima has spoken about the restrictive nature of previous MGS titles, saying that they "set [the player] on one rail to get from point A to point B, with a certain amount of freedom between". In stark contrast, Kojima's team will instead offer the player new ways of traversal and sneaking methods, such as taking a plane, helicopter or motorcycle to the mission area. This is in order for Kojima to accomplish a "true open world experience".[25] According to Famitsu, Konami confirmed that the playable world in The Phantom Pain will be two hundred times larger than that of Ground Zeroes, featuring a variety of climate conditions and environments.[26] This allows the players to freely roam the map while proceeding to either story missions or sidequests, as in other sandbox-style adventure games. In addition, players who have previously played Ground Zeroes will be able to import save data into The Phantom Pain and gain special perks.[26]


Metal Gear Solid V will include the new Metal Gear Online, developed by Kojima Productions' newly formed Los Angeles division (now known as Konami Los Angeles Studio).[27] The first footage for multiplayer was revealed in December 2014.[28][29]


Metal Gear series
fictional chronology


In the aftermath of the events of Ground Zeroes and the destruction of Militaires Sans Frontières (commonly abbreviated as MSF), Big Boss (Kiefer Sutherland/Akio Ōtsuka) falls into a coma.[30] Nine years later, he awakes and helps lead a new mercenary group, Diamond Dogs. Adopting the codename "Venom Snake", he ventures into Afghanistan during the Soviet war to track down the men responsible for MSF's destruction. Along the way, he becomes reacquainted with his former rival Ocelot (Troy Baker/Satoshi Mikami) and encounters a unit of warriors robbed of their past, present and future. While he and Kazuhira "Kaz" Miller (Robin Atkin Downes/Tomokazu Sugita) are initially driven to exact revenge, Snake soon unearths a plot by the Cipher organization to develop a weapon with the potential to surpass even the Metal Gear system.[citation needed]


In contrast to previous Metal Gear installments, Kojima Productions is conducting the voice acting and motion capture with English-speaking actors and stuntmen first. Facial motion capture will be used for the first time in the series. The Japanese voice acting will be dubbed over the English cast's performance afterward, in contrast to previous releases in the series, which had the characters' vocal and facial expressions lip-synched specifically to both, Japanese and English voice acting.

On June 6, 2013, during the annual Konami Pre-E3 show, Konami officially confirmed that actor Kiefer Sutherland will provide Snake's voice and do the motion capture work for the game.[31][32][33] David Hayter, the English-language voice of Snake in previous games, was not chosen to reprise the role for Metal Gear Solid V.[34] 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". Hollywood producer and director Avi Arad suggested to Kojima that Sutherland could fulfill his requirements.[35][36][37] Akio Ōtsuka continued to voice Snake in the Japanese version.[38]

Other members of the voice cast include Troy Baker as Ocelot,[39] Jay Tavare as Code Talker,[40] James Horan as Skull Face, Robin Atkin Downes as Kazuhira Miller and Christopher Randolph as Dr. Emmerich.[41] The Japanese dub will feature Tomokazu Sugita as Miller, Hideyuki Tanaka as Emmerich, Takaya Hashi as Skull Face, Satoshi Mikami as Ocelot, Osamu Saka (whose previous roles include Sergei Gurlukovich in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and The End in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater) as Code Talker,[42][43] and Yūtarō Honjō as Eli.[44] Dutch-born model Stefanie Joosten provides the likeness for the new heroine Quiet,[42] a mute sniper with supernatural abilities who may assist Snake on missions depending on the path chosen by the player.[45]


A recruiting poster, based on the famous recruitment poster, used at GDC 2012

In February 2012, a site named "Development Without Borders" owned by Konami was uploaded promoting development for a new Metal Gear title, for "The "next" MGS". The site was recruiting staff for the 2012 GDC pavilion in March, and requested applications for several positions for the latest Metal Gear Solid targeted for "high-end consoles" and "next-gen Fox engine".[46][47] As the year went on, screenshots and videos of the newly announced Fox Engine were unveiled by the team.[48] This media demonstrated many random settings and characters, although none related to the Metal Gear series. Certain screenshots, however, were noted to feature a character who resembled the Big Boss character of Metal Gear, walking up to a Stryker AFV previously seen in Metal Gear Solid 4.[49]

As Ground Zeroes[edit]

The game was later announced on August 30, 2012 originally under the title of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. It was revealed at a private function celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Metal Gear series, and made its public debut two days later at the 2012 Penny Arcade Expo.[50] Director Hideo Kojima confirmed that Big Boss will return as the game's protagonist, and that Ground Zeroes will serve as a prologue to the proper Metal Gear Solid V.[51] It was the first game to utilize the Fox Engine, a game engine developed by Kojima Productions.[52] On January 2013, Kojima revealed that Ground Zeroes would be the first title in the series to be subtitled in Arabic, a feature the team had originally planned for previous games.[53] In addition, he also confirmed that the length of the cutscenes will be reduced as he believes that long cutscenes have become outdated.[23][54]

In an interview with VG247, Hideo Kojima expressed concerns over whether or not Ground Zeroes would be released. He claimed that his aim was to target taboos and mature themes, which he considered to be "quite risky", adding that his roles as creator and producer were in conflict with one another; as creator, Kojima wanted to take the risk of exploring themes that might alienate audiences, but as producer, he had to be able to tone down the content in order to sell as many copies of the game as possible. Ultimately, the role of creator won out, and Kojima described his approach as "prioritizing creativity over sales".[55][56][57]

As The Phantom Pain[edit]

Poster distributed in E3 2013, with visual effects by Kyle Cooper.

At the Spike Video Game Awards in December 2012, a teaser trailer for a game known as The Phantom Pain was shown, credited to a new Swedish developer known as Moby Dick Studio, and was described as being "100% gameplay". Allegedly led by Joakim Mogren, the studio's mission statement read that it aimed to "deliver an uncompromising, exciting, and touching game experience to people all around the globe."[22] After the presentation, speculation began to surface from various publications that The Phantom Pain was actually a Metal Gear game; noting the protagonist's resemblance to Big Boss, graphics similar to those produced by the Fox Engine, the quote "V has come to" at the end of the trailer, and that the title "Metal Gear Solid V" could fit in the negative space and indentations of the game's logo when using the same font.[58][59] It was also pointed out the name "Joakim" was an anagram of "Kojima", the domain name for the studio's website had only been registered about two weeks prior to the announcement, and that several people wearing Moby Dick Studio shirts were sitting in a VIP area intended for Konami staff.[58][60] Hideo Kojima jokingly stated he was impressed by the trailer and how Mogren was inspired by Metal Gear.[61]

An actor playing a heavily bandaged Mogren appeared in an interview on March 14, 2013 episode of GameTrailers TV; while stating that he could not reveal many details, he confirmed that more details about The Phantom Pain would be revealed at the upcoming Game Developers Conference, and showed a series of screenshots on an iPad to the show's host Geoff Keighley. However, after Keighley pointed out the presence of the Fox Engine logo in the screenshots, Mogren appeared nervous and the segment abruptly ended.[62]

On March 27, 2013 at GDC 2013, Kojima officially confirmed that his studio was behind the trailer, and announced that Metal Gear Solid V would be two separate games; Ground Zeroes would now serve as a prologue for the main game, which was officially announced as Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.[63][64] He subsequently presented a trailer for the game, and showcased the finer aspects of the Fox Engine.[65] The trailer featured the song "Not Your Kind of People" from Garbage's 2012 album of the same name.[66][67]

While the official trailer announcing the game was running on a PC, the game will be released for the seventh and eighth generations of video game consoles. In an interview during E3 2013, when asked about a PC release Kojima stated "We are making it", and it will be on par with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions.[68] However, he made it clear that the PC port is not their top priority at the moment.[69] Kojima confirmed that the visuals seen in the trailer will look close to those in the final game. He also stated that he would like Metal Gear Solid V to be his final Metal Gear game, noting that unlike previous titles where he had announced that he had finished making games in the series, only to return for subsequent games, his involvement with the franchise will be truly over this time around. Although the trailer had Snake suffering from hallucinations in the form of a flaming whale, Kojima assured that there will be a balance in realism.[70] Kojima later revealed that The Phantom Pain was initially presented as an independent game so as to assess the public and industry response to the Fox Engine, as he felt that announcing the game as part of Metal Gear Solid V would bias reactions to the engine.

On June 10, 2013 at E3 2013, a fourth trailer was shown at the Microsoft press conference, demonstrating the new play mechanics, as well as the cast of characters. The development of an Xbox One version was also announced at the conference.[71] On June 11, the standard version of the trailer were uploaded to Konami's official YouTube channel, along with an extended director's cut for mature audiences. The trailer confirmed the development of a PlayStation 4 version in addition to the previously announced Xbox One version.[72][73]

The trailers for Metal Gear Solid V have shown the game running on a PC hardware, but according to Kojima with textures and character models somewhat based on seventh generation hardware. The developers are aiming to improve the technical quality for the versions that will be released for the eighth generation of consoles.[74]

Kojima has alluded to the game possibly being "too big to clear", adding that the game is "200 [times larger] than Ground Zeroes."[75] Kojima wants the player to connect with Snake in Phantom Pain. To accomplish this, the loss of Mother Base, which the player developed throughout Peace Walker, serves as motivation for revenge for both Snake and the player. Kojima also tried making Snake relatable to newcomers of the series by making him unaware of what happened in the nine years during which he was in a coma.[76] Weapons, vehicles and other armaments are unlicensed and fictional in The Phantom Pain, just as they were in Ground Zeroes, unlike previous Metal Gear Solid games that included mostly real-world based weaponry.

On June 9, 2014 at E3 2014, a fifth cinematic trailer was shown at the Sony press conference, unveiling more plot details surrounding the Diamond Dogs and Snake's antagonistic descent. It was leaked a day earlier, due to an accidental post from Konami's official YouTube channel.[77] Alongside the new trailer, the official site for Metal Gear Solid V was updated and included new information and images such as the developmental progress of the in-game map and the evolution of Snake's design across all games in the series.[78]

In March 2015, following a re-structuring of Konami's video game operations to focus on a geocentric operational model, direct references to Kojima and Kojima Productions were removed from promotional material for The Phantom Pain, Ground Zeroes, and The Legacy Collection. A Konami spokesperson stated that Kojima would still be involved with Konami and the Metal Gear franchise.[29]

During E3 2015, a demo was released for the game along with a new trailer featuring New Order's song "Elegia".[79][80]


The character Quiet has been a topic of controversy, concerning the depiction of women in video games. Kojima has stated that he directed The Phantom Pain‍ '​s art director to make some of the game's characters "more erotic", in order to encourage cosplay and figurine sales. He has stated that he misspoke and that "sexy" would have been the better word to use, "What I'm really trying to do is create unique characters. One of those is, of course, Quiet. She's a really unique character. I wanted to add that sexiness to her," Kojima said. "It wasn't really supposed to be erotic, but sexy."[81]


  1. ^ Within the series' continuity, the character known as "Naked Snake" received the title of "Big Boss" after completing the missions of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and accepted it following the events of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. However, he is still referred to as "Snake" in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and in gameplay videos of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, where he is formally referred to as both, "Punished Snake" and "Venom Snake".


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