Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes – Analysis & Secrets Revealed

Nick Jones

Let's take a look at the new Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes art to see what secrets it holds. [UPDATED]

Published on Aug 30, 2012

Konami has revealed that the next big Metal Gear will be called Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes and has released some artwork and shown a few lucky people the first gameplay demo.

While you can read about that here, we’re going to take a look at the artwork to see what, if anything, it can tell us about the latest Metal Gear Solid.

Okay the first we'll look at is the patch on the arm. Zoom in and you’ll get this.

Which is the Militaires Sans Frontières badge, Big Boss’s PMC in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.

Obviously this is backwards, proving that this artwork has been flipped. Let’s put it the right way round.

Okay, better.

Now we can see which eye is covered by an eye patch – it’s his right which proves (if the badge wasn’t enough) that this is Big Boss.

That's the eye patch strap we're pointing to, meaning that the patch would cover his right eye.

But what era is this from, pre or post Peace Walker? Militaires Sans Frontières is set up before the events in that game so it could be either.

Does Big Boss’s gun hold a clue?

Sorry about the cut out, it's our art guy's day off.

The guns that appear in MGS games are usually taken from the real world, either guns that are in current military use or experimental ones. Well, we can’t identify it fully – the grip and trigger housing looks like its from an American gun in the M-16 line of assault rifles, whereas the barrel and the butt look like their from the Israeli-made Galil rifle.

Seeing as the Galil and M-16 rifles have been in service since the Sixties and Seventies, this doesn’t really help pinpoint the year but maybe it points to the games's setting.

The Galil rifle was used extensively during the South African Border War, which was part of the Cold War, the Cold War being an important period of history to the Metal Gear canon; it has featured extensively in Naked Snake/Big Boss’s games so far.

The South African Border War involved several southern African countries including Angola, and incorporated the Angolan War Of Independence, where the Portuguese government fought a jungle war against insurgency forces. Which brings us onto these images.

Okay, these are some images taken from a demo of the engine powering Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, Konami’s Fox Engine. Of course the jungle depicted could be anywhere in the world but the dog in these images is… wait for it… a Rhodesian Ridgeback, a dog that was first bred in southern Africa.

Admittedly these screenshots have not been confirmed as coming from Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes but, hey, the evidence is stacking up here.

Finally, there’s this image, also taken from a Fox Engine demo.

Could that be Africa in the background? Angola, maybe? Maybe. But that’s definitely a figure sneaking in front of a tank – who could it be?

Well, if it’s a returning character then it could be Kaz Miller. Even though the hair is long and pony-tailed, that arm looks pretty masculine to us. Here’s Kaz in artwork from previous Metal Gears, his hair could be in a ponytail. Although in Peace Walker Kaz was all about the mullet.

Some rumours suggest this figure could be either Eva from MGS3 or Paz from Peace Walker but it just doesn’t look feminine to us.

D’you know what? It’s probably none of the above and a new character entirely. Or Big Boss in a blonde wig.


Of course, we should have looked at the name. 'Ground zero' is the term used for a detonation point of a nuclear weapon, so it looks like nuclear proliferation will, again, be a theme of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. But what of the plural, 'Zeroes'?

Well, obviously, there's more than one detonation point. But is that meaning literal or figurative? Knowing Kojima then it'll probably both and more besides.

Or perhaps the 'Zeroes' part of the name references Major Zero from MGS3? Let us know what you think below.


Looks like Big Boss's gun is actually the FN FNC (Fabrique Nationale Carabine), a Belgian assault rifle in service since 1979. Thanks to Machim Shin in the comments for identifying it.

Belgium was a colonial power in Africa until the 1960s, Belgian Congo (as it was known) eventually became the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.

Could those jungle images be in the Congolian rainforest?

Either way, it does give us a date for Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes: it has to be set after 1979. This means it definitely takes place after Peace Walker, which is set in 1974.


First off, thanks to everyone for their contributions in the comments below, you've put us onto a number of new leads. Let's take a look at what they are.

Let’s a take another look at the main artwork pic. Felix Gladitz spotted that there’s actually an American flag flying above (what looks like) the military base in the background.

So is this base in the US or Africa? We checked, and there are only two US deployments in Africa currently, one in Egypt and one in Djibouti. But, hey, this is Metal Gear, it’s fiction and who’s to say that this isn’t some secret military compound in Angola or another African state? We probably won’t know for sure until much closer to launch.

But let’s stay in Angola for now. Johnny Kennedy pointed out that the Rhodesian Ridgeback was first seen in MGS promotional art released at GDC in March, advertising for jobs for the next Metal Gear Solid game.

Yep, that’s Big Boss standing next to a Rhodesian Ridgeback.

The other thing you’ll notice here is the Diamond Dogs logo.

The guys over at Metal Gear Wiki have speculated that the Diamond Dogs is a branch within the MSF.

One thing’s for sure, it ties in the dogs thing with diamonds and diamonds are famously mined in Africa. Heard of ‘Blood diamonds’? This is the name given to diamonds mined in a warzone which are then sold to fund an insurgency. Maybe an insurgency that Big Boss is taking part in? An insurgency like the one that happened during the Angolan War Of Independence? Or the Rhodesian Civil War?

Finally, there’s this image, which was tweeted by Hideo Kojima himself.

It combines the Diamond Dogs logo with the Foxhound one, here displayed on an iPhone case. Could Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes tell the story of the founding of Foxhound and the Les Enfants Terribles project? This was the cloning project (which started in the Seventies) that brought Solid, Liquid and Solidus Snake into the world as clones of Big Boss.

One more clue: Alessandro Tognoni points out that Naomi Hunter is from Rhodesia, another southern, colonial African state and where the Ridgeback dogs takes its name from. Naomi Hunter's parents were killed by Frank Jaegar during the Rhodesian Civil War, who later adopted Naomi and eventually became... Gray Fox, the Cyborg Ninja.

Naomi Hunter, meanwhile, went on to become a member of Foxhound.


We initially dismissed the Diamond Dogs reference to the Bowie album and single but upon closer inspection there may be a link.

Bowie is referenced in earlier MGS games, especially by Major Zero in MGS3 who talks about Major Tom from Bowie's Space Oddity "... this is ground control to Major Tom..."

Anyway, the first line of Diamond Dogs is "This ain't Rock n' Roll, this is genocide!" and the song its self is sung by one of Bowie's alter egos Haloween Jack, from the top of a tenement building in a post-apocalyptic Manhattan. Another nuclear war reference, perhaps?


Leonhard Huth pointed this one out in the comments.

This art is posted on the official Konami Japan webpage, which means it has been flipped or mirrored on purpose.

What's the significance of that? Could it be that this MGS game is a mirror of or different version of the original MGS timeline? Could it explain why Ground Zeroes hasn't been designated Metal Gear Solid 5? Could it be some kind of reference to cloning, as in the clones of Big Boss are mirror images of him?

Flipping the image reveals that the text says...

Is this another cloning reference? Solid and Liquid Snake? Or is it talking about the Fox unit, and talking about members of that unit? Gray Fox and Big Boss, perhaps? Or is it Major Zero and Naked Snake (Big Boss) who retired from Fox soon after the end of Metal Gear Solid 3? Major Zero would certainly tie in the name 'Ground Zeroes'.



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