Originally posted by Stuart Kirkman
Welcome back to the second entry in the Metal Gear Solid chronology. In Part One we discussed the first two stories in the timeline; Snake Eater and Portable Ops. This time we’re digging into some of the more recent entries in the series, which form the bulk of the prequel timeline.
These two stories bring Big Boss’s story arc up to the newest entry in the series; The Phantom Pain. Ground Zeroes is very much a sequel to Peace Walker, but it introduces the main villain that will appear in Phantom Pain, so it’s an important part of the puzzle.
Here’s a reminder of the timeline:
- 1964 – Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
- 1970 – Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
- 1974 – Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
- 1975 – Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes
- 1984 – Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
- 1995 – Metal Gear
- 1999 – Metal Gear: Solid Snake
- 2005 – Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes
- 2007 – Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
- 2014 – Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
So first we need to talk about an entry in the series that many MGS fans still haven’t played, but it’s the only Kojima-directed portable entry and a very important story to the overall story.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
The cast is quite different in this game, with lots of new faces and versions if existing characters we haven’t seen before.
Naked Snake – Now the founder of a small private army called the ‘Militaires Sans Frontieres’ (Army Without Borders), based off the coast of Colombia.
Kaz Miller – A member of the MSF and Snake’s most trusted ally after leaving the FOXHOUND unit
Paz Ortega – A young girl who is captured by (and subsequently escapes from) a mysterious security company operating out of Costa Rica.
Chico – An innocent Costa Rican boy who Snake rescues and brings to MSF, where he meets and takes a shine to Paz
Huey Emmerich – A wheelchair bound weapons engineer working for the CIA at the Costa Rican facility
Dr Strangelove – Another scientist working on an Artificial Intelligence project for the CIA
At the beginning of the story Snake and Miller are visited by Paz Ortega and a man called Galvez, who claims to be from the Costa Rican government. They want Snake and the MSF to investigate an unknown armed force that are operating in Costa Rica, and Galvez believes them to be CIA based on their advanced weapons and resources. Galvez offers them an oil rig to use as a forward operating base, and Paz tries to convince Snake by telling him about how she was captured and tortured by these people. Snake is reluctant to put himself in the middle of this mysterious conflict and in the end Galvez admits he’s actually from the KGB and has been sent to push the CIA out of Costa Rica so the Russians can move in.
He plays an audio tape that he says Paz recorded while she was being captured, and in the background Snake hears the voice of his old mentor The Boss. This ultimately convinces Snake to take the job, as the possibility of The Boss being alive is something he can’t ignore (or explain). Paz joins the MSF base and regularly speaks to Snake about peace, love and harmony. As Snake works his way through a series of missions he captures enemy personnel and other characters join his cause, slowly building the MSF army ‘Mother Base’, their new base of operations.
Snake joins forces with a local Guerilla army, lead by Amanda who has a younger brother called Chico. With their help he finds out that the CIA are bringing Nuclear Weapons into the country and follows them to the enemy base of operations. In the facility he meets Huey Emmerich, who has been creating the first Metal Gear. Rather than being piloted by a person, this model will be driven by an Artificial Intelligence that’s being developed by Dr Strangelove in a different location. It’s purpose is to deter nuclear warfare by providing the promise of a retaliatory strike that doesn’t rely on human control, as a person might not be capable of pulling that trigger, but a machine won’t have the same qualms. The CIA Station Chief ‘Hot Coldman’ (…yep) wants to use Metal Gear to launch a warhead as a proof of concept and bargaining chip to return to his post as CIA Director. Emmerich refuses to co-operate and Snake is unable to stop Coldman from leaving with the Metal Gear, but Huey joins the MSF to help stop his creation being used in this way.
Dr Strangelove is another disciple of The Boss. She’s developing the A.I. in her image, believing her to have the perfect rational mind for the nuclear deterrent project. The voice in the background of Paz’s tape it that of the Boss A.I. rather than The Boss herself. She is only able to complete the project after capturing Snake and interrogating him about Operation Snake Eater. By the time Snake prison-breaks out of their custody the Metal Gear is complete, and starts making its way across the country to the coast, where it will launch a warhead at Mother Base. When he reaches the launch-site Snake encounters Coldman and Paz, who has somehow been captured. Just as Coldman is about to initiate the attack on Mother Base he’s interrupted by Galvez. Turns out his real name is Vladimir Zadornov, and he’s apparently been in league with Coldman all along. Snake makes his way there and fights his way to a tower where he encounters Coldman and Paz, who has somehow been captured. Just as Coldman is about to initiate the attack on Mother Base he’s interrupted by Galvez. Turns out his real name is Vladimir Zadornov, and he’s apparently been in league with Coldman all along.
In reality he’s been playing both sides for fools and had his own plan to take Peace Walker for himself. He wants to launch an attack on Cuba in order to weaken the US relations with central America and improve Russia’s position in the Cold War. Zadornov shoots Coldman and gets Strangelove to change the launch target by simulating a false nuclear launch that tricks the Boss AI into retaliating. As Zadornov prepares to kill him he explains that it will look like Snake died at the hands of the CIA, which will spur the army he has created into action against America. He wants to use Snake in the same way the CIA used The Boss, dying as an eternal fraud. Fortunately Miller sends backup and the MSF forces storm the control room and neutralise the soldiers. Everyone returns to Mother Base, including a captured Zadornov and an injured Coldman. On the way back Coldman is able to activate Peace Walker before dying of blood loss.
Snake battles Peace Walker and damages it enough to stop the launch, however it’s still transmitting the false data to The Pentagon where various members of Congress are deciding to launch Nukes of their own. Just when all seems lost, the Metal Gear seemingly malfunctions and stands upright, walking into a nearby lake while The Boss’s voice sings out from it. They realise that The Boss AI is trying to drown itself to create peace. The false transmissions stop in time and Strangelove understands that this is the same way The Boss had sacrificed herself a decade before, by putting down her gun and dying for her cause.
Later Snake tells Paz that he doesn’t want to live his life like The Boss as she had betrayed him by lowering her gun and surrendering her life for her country. This is when Snake’s own character is galvanized; he shares The Boss’s desire for peace, but believes a soldier should never stop fighting for their cause.
Strangelove joins the MSF and works on an AI weapon with Huey called Metal Gear ZEKE. They recover the warhead from Peace Walker and use it to arm ZEKE and provide a deterrent to anyone else that might want to destroy Mother Base. Zadornov is supposed to be kept in the cells on Mother Base, but somehow he keeps escaping. On the last occasion he leaves Snake no choice but to kill him or be gunned down himself. He’s been getting inside help with his escapes by someone on Mother Base, and this is the last of many clues about the true allegiance of Paz. It turns out that she is allied with Cipher, which is the new name of Zero’s organisation. She has been modifying ZEKE while the base was distracted by Zadornov’s escape attempts, and now she can pilot the Metal Gear herself. She activates ZEKE and brings it out of the hanger, explaining to Snake that Zero recruited her and had her planted at Mother Base in order to convince Snake to come back to Cipher. She tries to convince Snake that he took the wrong path when he separated from Zero and FOXHOUND.
Zero has his own interpretation of The Boss’s vision. In this new age of electronic intelligence he wants to coerce the world towards peace by controlling the flow of information from the shadows. While he ushers in this new world he wants the MSF to act as a deterrent against any threats to his new world order, with the legendary Snake as its public face. At this point the rift between Snake and Zero becomes clearer. They both want the same thing that The Boss did: World Peace. She set out to achieve this using personal sacrifice, Zero thinks that coercion is the best method, and Snake believes it’s down to soldiers to maintain peace, but wants them to be treated fairly instead of like puppets. When Snake refuses to join Cipher, Paz decides to launch a nuclear attack at the US to frame the MSF as terrorists. Snake manages to destroy ZEKE before she can carry out the threat, and Paz is thrown into the ocean as the Metal Gear explodes.
After failing to recruit or neutralise the MSF, Zero hatches a new plan to destroy them…
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
This shorter entry in the series is both a direct sequel to Peace Walker and a prequel to The Phantom Pain. It mostly uses the same cast as Peace Walker, but with the addition of a mysterious new villain only known as:
Skull Face – A former pupil of Zero who has rebelled against his teachings and taken over Cipher. He has also started a group called XOF, as an obvious perversion of Zero’s original FOX group.
A few months after the events of Peace Walker the MSF receive a request from the International Atomic Energy Agency who want to inspect Mother Base. Snake realises that Cipher have set this up so that Metal Gear ZEKE’s nuclear warhead is discovered and they’re shut down. They refuse the inspection request, but Huey secretly sends them a letter and telling them that they’ve changed their minds. The inspection is set to go ahead and can’t be cancelled without drawing unwanted attention, so Snake and Miller hurry to prepare for their visit. They send everyone except essential personnel off Mother Base to make sure no one discloses anything about ZEKE or the nuclear warhead. During the preparations Snake receives intel that Paz is still alive and is being held captive by Skull Face and his XOF forces.
Snake wants to rescue Paz in order to learn more about Cipher’s plans, but he puts the mission on hold until the inspection has been completed. Unfortunately Chico can’t wait that long, and out of his feelings towards Paz he decides to mount his own rescue attempt, getting captured in the process. Snake can’t afford to leave Chico in enemy hands with everything he knows about the MSF, so he launches an impromptu rescue mission. He infiltrates Camp Omega and successfully extracts Chico and Paz. Having tortured Chico and Paz horrendously prior to their rescue, Skull Face has no learned everything he needs to know about Mother Base.
On the chopper ride back Chico discovers a large scar on Paz’s stomach where a bomb has been implanted. Snake and the medic on the helicopter manage to extract the device and dispose of it before they arrive at Mother Base. When they get there they find their home under attack from XOF Soldiers who had infiltrated the base with the inspection team. Mother Base is on the verge of destruction when Snake, Miller and the Medic manage to escape on the helicopter with Paz and Chico. As they retreat Paz regains consciousness and reveals that she was implanted with a second bomb. She jumps out of the chopper to save them and as she falls down to earth there is an explosion that knocks the helicopter out of the sky.
That brings us to the end of this entry in the MGS Chronology. If you’re following along so far, then you’re doing pretty well, but things are about to get a whole lot more convoluted in the next entry, when we talk about The Phantom Pain, and how it dovetails back into the first entry in the series, the original Metal Gear.