Thought I’d bring up an article on the bits of Metal Gear lore that have largely gone unexplored by the Metal Gear Solid games, but are still part of the backstory and lore. While some of these aren’t exactly worthy of a game in their own right, they provided an interesting look at character motivations, and still have some unanswered questions.
The Cobra Unit and the Boss: 1917-1964
Now here’s one that could have made an interesting game. Although the main story, from a chronological standpoint, starts in Metal Gear Solid III: Snake Eater, the seeds of the story are planted in the World Wars. World War I leads to the creation of the Philosophers, whose primary purpose-at least at first-is to steer the world away from war. They acquire a vast amount of wealth through their members, but ultimately mostly splinter and are nearly gone by the end of Snake Eater. However, the daughter of one of the Philosophers, code-named “The Joy” and later the “Boss”, becomes a major war hero in Metal Gear’s version of World War II. Along with a group of soldiers enhanced by the Philosopher’s money-the Cobra Unit-they are a major asset for the allies.
However, due to several instances after the war-including a botched attempt at a space program-several either leave, defect, or join the Boss when she sort of defects in Snake Eater (Although the latter is a ruse to obtain the Philosopher’s funds known as the Legacy). She is also forced to kill her lover, the unit member known as the Sorrow (and the father of recurring anti-hero Revolver Ocelot). Her son, Ocelot, is later used by the Philosophers as well as a pawn and ransom-until he comes on his own as one of the Patriots. The Cobras are Snake’s main end-stage enemies (or bosses) in Snake Eater, each needing a different strategy to take them out.
Some feel that a game featuring the Cobras-who have somewhat supernatural abilities (except for the Boss, who imparts her hand-to-hand fighting skills to her apprentice-the original Snake , the later Big Boss) would make a cool game or Spin off. MG’s creator Hideo Kojima also expressed interest in the idea. Unfortunately, the idea never came to pass, although the Boss herself would play a role-of sorts-in the other elements of the Big Boss trilogy, although as a semi-sentient AI simulation controlling the Peace Walker mecha. Although Konami seems interested in continuing the brand beyond Metal Gear Solid V with “Metal Gear Survive” and the Snake Eater Pachislot gambling machine (Which of course features), it’s unknown whether they will consider this idea.
The Original Patriots/CIPHER/Les Enfant Terribles (1970-1974)
Big Boss eventually forms a special forces UNIT called FOXHOUND in the game Portable Ops set in the 70’s, but things get a little weird out here, since in Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker but by 1974, Snake is leading a mercenary force that will later become his Outer Heaven nation (Although MSGV has the group largely destroyed and then rebuilt in the 80s). Metal Gear Solid 4 reveals that Big Boss, along with his MGS3 support-including Major Zero-form the Patriots (AKA CIPHER) after securing the Philosopher’s legacy. The initial goal of the group is to try to unify the world, similar to the Philosophers, but the wealth and power afforded to them by the Legacy starts to corrupt them, leading to a difference of philosophies between Big Boss (as well as his two closest allies, Eva and Ocelot) and David Oh/ Zero (as well as Zero’s allies, Dr. Clark/Para Medic and Donald Anderson/SIGNIT). The last straw is when Big Boss is badly injured during a battle, Dr. Clark extracts his DNA, and uses it to clone him into three ‘sons’-David (Solid Snake) Eli (Liquid Snake) and George (Solidus Snake) EVA is used as the surrogate mother for at least David and Eli.
This causes Big Boss to split from the Patriots entirely, and form his MSF mercenary group, although Zero misses his friends and attempts to manipulate events to get Big Boss and MSF back into the Patriots (In the events of Peace Walker). Unfortunately at the same time he experiences a coup-de-tat by Skull Face, leader of his “clean up crew” XOF, and also leaves what’s left of Cipher in the hands of technocrat Sigint, who creates an extremely powerful Artificial Intelligence capable of manipulating events on a global scale (It’s hard to explain) in Zero’s place that will soon spell trouble in the Solid Snake era-the new “Patriots”.
Not exactly the most interesting era for a game to take place, but it would be interesting if a future game could make more sense of the convoluted storylines and so that make up this era.
The Rebuilding of FOXHOUND/Beginnings of Outer Heaven (1984-1995)
After the events of the prologue to Metal Gear Solid V, Big Boss becomes two men.
The original, “Ishmael”:
Big Boss circa 1985
and his hypnotized, surgically altered doppelganger, Venom Snake, in fact an MSF Helicopter medic who initially believes he is the real Big Boss until his true identity is revealed at the end of the game. He is mainly distinguished by a cyborg arm replacing his real one, more scars, and a huge piece of shrapnel sticking out of his head. Personality wise he’s also more aloof and quiet. As for the original Big Boss, after helping Venom out of the hospital they were both in, he pretty much sits out the game, apart from a flashback and a tape recording he leaves for Venom when he finally remembers. So basically, all we know is that while his double was building Diamond Dogs, he was recording a tape and went to parts unknown during the time of the game.
What’s clear is this: In 1995, Outer Heaven is completed and armed with a new Metal Gear. The real Big Boss, now leading FOXHOUND, sends Solid Snake to infiltrate Outer Heaven, believing he will fail. However he succeeds beyond expectations, and kills Big Boss, who was the leader of Outer Heaven all along.
However, MSGV sort of reveals that in fact it’s Venom Snake who is killed, and it’s the real Big Boss who faces off against the hero-no worse for his Metal Gear “death”-in Metal Gear II:Solid Snake (This incident appears to kill the ‘real’ Big Boss, but in fact leaves him only severely injured, burned and catatonic until the coda of Metal Gear Solid IV).
However, it’s sort of unclear what happens in-between MGSV and the original MG. When did Venom’s organization, Diamond Dogs, transfer into Outer Heaven? When did Big Boss decide to return to FOXHOUND, an organization he’d abandoned for over a decade? There’s also characters Big Boss is said to befriend or take under his wing during this era-Sniper Wolf, Grey Fox, Naomi Hunter-who are important to the series as a whole but aren’t really brought up at all in MGSV….and how come the Patriots kind of sit by and let all this happen? Not to mention that Ocelot tells the real Big Boss that he might want to disguise himself as he’s sort of a wanted man-but there’s no indication that Big Boss really changes from the guy with a beard and an eyepatch that he’s always been. Also, how much of FOXHOUND rebuilding and the establishment of Outer Heaven is Venom, and how much is the real Big Boss?
The earliest picture of Big Boss, circa 1995 (although in real life, 1987)
Granted, these plot holes might’ve been intended for a future MGS, although it’s unclear about any future “Solid” installments with Kojima out of the picture.
In between the four year gap between Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid II, Snake-instead of retiring to Alaska to live happily ever after with Meryl-instead joins Philanthrophy, along with his buddy and tech support Otacon. Their goal is to stop bootleg Metal Gears that have begun to pop up around the world, since Ocelot leaks the plans of Metal Gear Rex to various nations (This also leads the US to develop Metal Gear Ray, a Metal Gear designed to destroy other Metal Gears) This could’ve been an interesting idea, a sort of interquel with Snake taking on various other Metal Gears in various countries. It’s even inspired a fan film series. Snake and Otacon’s actions with Philanthrophy however get them stuck in the Tanker incident, which begins Metal Gear Solid II.
The Search for Sunny (2009-2014)
The original concept for Metal Gear Rising-the spin-off featuring Metal Gear Solid II protagonist and Metal Gear Solid IV supporting ninja Raiden-was that the game would take place between Metal Gear Solid II and IV. In it, Raiden-perhaps with help from Solid Snake-would search for the young Sunny, the daughter of Olga from Metal Gear Solid II who have been kidnapped and held as ransom by the patriots. It would also explained how Raiden changed from the somewhat complete-if a bit messed up in the head-hero of II to the somewhat depressed cyborg ninja of IV. Sunny is of course rescued and plays a supporting role in Metal Gear Solid IV, and also as a slightly older girl in the finished version of Rising. This version of the game actually did have a rough prototype before it’s concept changed.
However, the development changed from it being set between the games, to it being set after the Solid series, negating Solid Snake (as it’s implied that he died of accelerated aging after the events of IV), and becoming a more light-hearted game as well. Although not really treated as much as ‘canon’ as the Snake games, it has a cult following among several fans and gamers.