Is Phantom Pain Actually Metal Gear Solid 5? All Evidence Examined
Weird trailer for new IP at VGAs could actually be an even weirder viral campaign for Metal Gear Solid 5...
Published on Dec 8, 2012
Phantom Pain is the game revealed at the VGAs that everyone is asking questions about but no-one has the answers to.
A theory quickly emerged that Phantom Pain was in fact a Kojima title and furthermore, possibly a Metal Gear title. Kotaku editor Stephen Totilo mentioned this during the VGAs and the detective work began in earnest.
But why is it being looked at as a Metal Gear title rather than a new IP?
Evidence #1: Moby Dick Studios
Nobody had heard of Moby Dick Studios before the VGAs, which raised questions given the impressive nature of the footage. It's also worth noting that a publisher hasn't been confirmed either. So we have a new studio and an unknown publisher combined for a game that, on surface level, does not look like it was cheap to make.
But the rabbit hole goes further than that. The Moby Dick site - which is missing key details usually found on studios sites like previous games and an actual address - lists Joakim Mogren as the CEO for the (supposedly) Swedish developer.
Not only does a Google search for Joakim Mogren not turn up anyone prominent but Joakim is an anagram of Kojima. And could Mogren be a reference to Project Ogre?
Finally, freelancer writer Alex Rubens tweeted that at the VGAs themselves, people with Moby Dick t-shirts were in the Konami VIP and he followed this up with another tweet saying that no, Moby Dick employees weren't Swedish.
Evidence #2: Big Boss' Face
The above is the clearest shot we get at the protagonist's face during the trailer, which goes to obvious effort to hide what he looks like from us. He never looks at us directly and his bandages are never taken off.
He already bears a resemblance to Snake in that shot alone but compare him to Big Boss from Ground Zeroes.
See that scar on his cheek? That's something both characters share. And the 'two phantoms were born' tagline is somewhat coincidental given this game is called Phantom Pain.
Evidence #3: Volgin
Is the fiery man from the Phantom Pain trailer Metal Gear Solid 3's antagonist, Volgin?
Check out these images and you'll see remarkable similarity.
Kojima has been open in the past about the fact he's tested FoxEngine using Volgin's face. Could that have been groundwork for Metal Gear Solid 5?
On a similar note, Kojima also created nurses with the engine. The trailer takes place in a hospital. So that's yet another potential Kojima/FoxEngine connection.
Evidence #4: The Doctor
This could be Kio Marv.
Evidence #5: Metal Gear Solid V Logo
There are letters in the negative space just above and between the Phantom Pain logo, as spotted by NeoGAF. If you can't make it out, this image should help...
One thing to consider here is that previous Metal Gear games haven't used roman numerals, so it's an odd change to suddenly come about now. Also, it's worth considering this...
Evidence Against: Geoff Keighley's Tweet
VGA's host Geoff Keighley tweeted in response to the trailer getting attention: "Thanks for all the VGA feedback. The Phantom Pain is an a completely game, nothing that has been shown before. I assure you of that."
With the typo, we have to guess that Keighley is trying to say that Phantom Pain is a new game. Although this only rules out the possibility of Phantom Pain being Ground Zeroes. It does not rule out the possibility of Phantom Pain being Metal Gear Solid 5.
Phantom Pain = Metal Gear Solid 5?
So. What is Phantom Pain? We don't know for sure but speculation will continue given the clues on offer and mysterious nature of the project.
Remember Hideo Kojima does have a history when it comes to winding up the media and fans in this way. Metal Gear Solid 2 was, for all intents and purposes, a game starring Snake in the preview build-up before the final game itself showed that Raiden was the main character.
He's got the talent and the cheeky to pull stunts like this off. But is Phantom Pain a Kojima game? And is it a Metal Gear Solid 5?
We'll see soon enough.