At the Spike Video Game Awards last week, viewers were captivated by the debut trailer for an IP titled ‘The Phantom Pain’. It was introduced by Samuel L. Jackson (I know, right!?), boasting that the trailer consisted entirely of gameplay. Impressive in itself, as the trailer looks absolutely fantastic.
However, there have been a few rumours spreading regarding the authenticity of the trailer. Is it really an IP being developed by unknown Swedish company, Moby Dick studios? Or is this one of Kojima’s elaborate stunts… is this in fact a trailer for Metal Gear Solid 5?
Before we get started, if you haven’t watched it, do it! See how many MGS references or similarities you can spot.
1) First up, I’m going to take a closer look at this “Moby Dick Studios”. Seems legit, right? They even have a logo!
However, this trailer looks a little too polished to have come from such an unknown studio all of a sudden. Also, a fun little fact, the name of the C.E.O. of Moby Dick Studios is Joakim Mogren. Unscramble his first name and what do you get… Kojima!
It was even posted on Twitter by someone attending the VGAs that the people hanging out in the VIP section of the Konami party were wearing Moby Dick Studios and Phantom Pain t-shirts. Hmm…
2) Let’s be honest. The guy in the trailer looks a hell of a lot like Snake.
We have the trademark mullet, a similar facial structure, even the bandage resembles his trademark bandana. He evens spends the majority of the trailer crawling through the corridors, very much like the stealthy moves of our previous Metal Gear protagonists. Also, the bandage covers the right eye, suggesting that this character is actually Big Boss/Naked Snake.
Even the other guy who is travelling with you through the trailer alludes to Metal Gear. He refers to the protagonist as “soldier”, and even moves around permanently in the crouch position which was introduced in Metal Gear Solid 4.
3) The figure who appears in the flames appears to be wearing some kind of stealth suit, and in a later shot looks a hell of a lot like Volgin.
If you particularly look around the legs, the pattern of the suit is strikingly similar to Volgin’s armour in Metal Gear Solid 3.
4) The appearance of the horse through the flames could be a reference to The Boss, Naked Snake’s mentor from Metal Gear Solid 3.
There were numerous references to The Boss’s horse in previous titles (particularly in Peace Walker), and perhaps the shot of the horse running through the flames could be a hallucination. Particularly as throughout the trailer, it is unclear what is real and what is fantasy. The narrative is littered with questions, seemingly following the thoughts of the protagonist, and one of his questions is “Am I in hell?”
It could be seen as an embodiment of Naked Snake’s guilt after having killed The Boss at the end of Metal Gear Solid 3. It is most probable that this game will be set after MGS3 in terms of the timeline, simply due to the character’s missing arm. Perhaps the idea of being in hell has stemmed from his guilt of killing his mentor.
5) It is revealed early in the trailer that the protagonist has lost his arm, and has been in a coma for a while. I could be looking into this far too much, but the missing arm could be an allusion to Liquid Snake’s possession of Ocelot by use of a transplanted arm.
6) The final image of the action in the trailer shows a creature in black robes floating in the background, which has spurred speculation that this is in fact Psycho Mantis. This is certainly feasible, especially due to the theme of madness throughout the trailer, and the questioning of what is real and what is not.
7) Towards the end of the trailer the narrative thoughts urge the viewer to “Open yours eyes”. Kojima might as well have been saying, “OPEN YOUR EYES DAMMIT, IT’S MGS5!”
8) Finally, the imagery of the title screen is very interesting. It’s been speculated widely across the internet that you can connect the faint lines which appear behind the lettering to create a shadow of Metal Gear Solid V.
If you really squint at it, you can just about start to make it out. You can certainly see the “E”, and also the Roman numeral V jutting out of the “N”.
So, that’s it! If this doesn’t turn out to be Metal Gear Solid 5, I’ll be very surprised (and I’ll look like a right idiot). If so, my deepest apologies to Moby Dick Studio. It looks like it’s going to be an incredible game.