The Metal Gear series is often hailed as one of the best video game franchises of all time. Throughout its more than thirty year history, there have been seven beloved mainline entries (eight, if Peacewalker is included), and many spinoffs which were met with varying degrees of success. Hideo Kojima, the franchise's creator, stuck with the series from its inception until shortly before the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, when the game designer had a falling out with publisher Konami and ended up forming a new studio to commence work on the upcoming Death Stranding.
A sad result of this feud was Metal Gear Solid V never getting the chance to live up to the standard set by the prior games. What did make it into the game is magnificent, in both gameplay and story, but the product ultimately feels unfinished. It wasn't all for naught, however, as the game did wrap up some long hanging plot threads and connected the prequels to the original Metal Gear from 1987.
One of the more controversial aspects of the title was the main character, Venom Snake. The mystery and ensuing twist surrounding the protagonist polarized fans. While every opinion is valid, it should be noted that there is some misinformation floating around about the character. Hopefully, these next ten entries will clear the air about the often criticized character. Also, there will definitely be spoilers for 2015's game, so anyone who doesn't want the mystery revealed to them should look away.
10 That He's A Hero
It's easy to assume that the playable character is automatically a hero or that they can only be a villain through the player's actions. However, Metal Gear has never been so simple and the moral grayness only deepens with each entry. Punished Snake is out for vengeance, and collateral damage is not a concern.
While he may seem virtuous with his rescuing of child soldiers, those same kids more than likely grew up to be a part of the Outer Heaven uprising. A huge aspect of Snake's character arc is that a once heroic person has fallen.
9 That MGSV Is His Only Appearance In A Video Game
The character was formally introduced in MGSV, but fans of the series know that he was one of the series' first characters. The main villain of the premiere 1987 title - who was initially thought to be Big Boss - turned out to be Punished Snake from The Phantom Pain.
It may be hard to keep track of, and requires a little bit of retconning, but it does fit into the narrative nicely. The Phantom Pain sets the stage for Metal Gear, a title that predates the better known Solid series.
8 That He Isn't Big Boss
A major theme of the series is identity. Who is a person, really? After the twist is fully revealed, it is easy to say that Punished Snake is not Big Boss. However, through his experiences, actions, and choices, he ultimately becomes the legend.
He was shaped into him and continued living as his former commander. One of Hideo Kojima's biggest influences is Paul Auster's New York Trilogy, which deals with identity in a similarly surreal manner. These books are well worth reading for fans of Metal Gear.
7 That Players Weren't Suppose To Know The Twist
People like to lambast Kojima for a poor twist setup, but players were supposed to deduce the twist on their own. The Phantom Pain isn't about the revelation, it is about the main character coming to terms with this information and his decision to move forward in a new identity, honoring the wishes of the original Big Boss.
While the narrative's pacing certainly did not help the twist's reveal, the moment should not be dismissed as some Hollywood revelation. No, it is about the character and not the audience.
6 That David Hayter Should Have Voiced Him
David Hayter was a perfect Solid Snake and recasting him as that role would have felt blasphemous. However, the character's father and Punished Snake are different characters who don't necessarily need to have the same voice. It also wasn't the first time that the character was voiced by another actor.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots' was an extended dialogue between Solid Snake and his dad, with their voices being supplied by different actors. Additionally, there may be a new face portraying Solid Snake in an upcoming feature film.
5 That His Prior Identity Is Unknown
Those that didn't pay attention to the story or didn't finish the game may be in the dark on this one. Venom Snake's prior identity is tricky to spot, but there are several hidden clues before it is revealed.
In Ground Zeroes, Kiefer Sutherland also voices the medic who eventually becomes Venom Snake. It's hard to point out at first but becomes clear as day once the fact is known. It is a subtle nod that reveals a lot once identified.
4 That He's Irrelevant To The Rest Of The Games
Some may see The Phantom Pain as more of a spinoff, but the game is still essential to understanding the lore. Venom Snake not only becomes the villain of Metal Gear, but he's also responsible for the eventual worldwide nuclear disarmament, an event that directly leads into the series' debut title.
The Phantom Pain often does not feel like a Metal Gear Solid title; however, that has more to do with its rocky production than the narrative.
3 That He Speaks So Little Because Kiefer Had No Time To Record Dialogue
Many may chalk up the nearly silent protagonist to the difficulty and cost of casting Kiefer Sutherland. According to Hideo Kojima, this is not why the character rarely speaks.
Instead, he wanted the character to be express himself through actions and facial expressions rather than dialogue. He also wanted the player and gameplay to define the character.
2 That He Ruins The Game
Many were disappointed by the fact that they are not indeed playing as the true Big Boss in The Phantom Pain. Even if this is a slight downer for some, it does not affect the stellar gameplay. Additionally, a major point of the game is showing that this character still is Big Boss, despite having been someone else in the past.
Is the disappointment warranted? Perhaps, but Venom Snake has a lot going for him. While not the protagonist everyone wanted, he may just be the one we needed.
1 That He Has No Character
Because of how silent he is and the subtle karma system, some say that the character himself has no personality. Truthfully, he still has his own thoughts, ideologies, and ethics that are on full display during many of the game's artistically crafted cinematics. Additionally, his morals usually go against what is typically considered acceptable in modern society. There is just less time devoted to extensive cutscenes and internal monologues.