E3 2014: Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain Trailer Impressions

Daniel Hindes deconstructs the new five minute Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain trailer released by Konami for E3 2014.

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Kojima Productions has released a new trailer for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. It's a meandering montage of wordless story scenes, with what looks like little actual gameplay included. Much of the story scenes appear to be set after the gameplay seen in last year's E3 trailer, in which Big Boss infiltrated Afghanistan to rescue his second-in-command, Kazuhira Miller.

We see the establishment of a new Mother Base--the headquarters for Big Boss' new Diamond Dogs private military force--after the first was destroyed at the end of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. Big Boss is seen cremating his comrades lost in the attack, effectively dissolving his prior organisation, Militaires Sans Frontières. The changing emblem on Big Boss' arm effectively identifies where in the story each scene of the trailer is set--switching from MSF to Diamond Dogs. I like that this event is obviously affecting the characters so deeply. Though the soldiers of MSF functioned more like stat multipliers than actual characters when they were recruited in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, the fact that they were personally selected by you, and performed important tasks at Mother Base, lead to you getting attached to them as a player. It's likely you'll be feeling their loss, just as Big Boss is.

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Revolver Ocelot is seen training new soldiers in Mother Base, replacing those lost in Ground Zeroes. His alliance with Big Boss, which began as an uneasy rivalry in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, appears to have grown into one of direct cooperation. We then see more of Huey--Otacon's father--being interrogated for unknown reasons. We saw Ocelot performing this interrogation in a previous trailer, but now we see that Big Boss is participating in the interrogation too, raising questions as to Huey's allegiances.

More child soldiers are seen joining Mother Base from what appears to be an unnamed African country. This has much significance: Solidus Snake's child soldier training program, which raised Raiden, took place in Africa, and the fortress of Outer Haven in the original Metal Gear was established by Big Boss in the same country.

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Next, we see an encounter between Eli--suspected to be a younger Liquid Snake--and Big Boss. This could be a concentrated effort on Kojima's part to bridge the timelines of his two leading men, Big Boss and Solid Snake. Quiet is also seen attacking soldiers in the new Mother Base. Finally, we see Big Boss and Skullface, the villain from Ground Zeroes, approaching a new Metal Gear in some sort of facility. Skullface is wearing some sort of blindfold, however, so it's not clear whether he is in Big Boss' custody, or the two are cooperating.

This new trailer has raised a number of new questions concerning how the plot of The Phantom Pain will unfold. What it has clarified, however, is the tone of the story: one of anger, remorse, and hatred. We also have a better idea of the structure of The Phantom Pain. It will likely open with Big Boss' drugged escape from a hospital, then his rescue by Ocelot, followed by his mission into Afghanistan to rescue Miller, whom he brings back to the new Mother Base for the two to farewell their fallen comrades from Ground Zeroes.

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