Regarding the multiple endings of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain…
First of all, I want to start by saying that I do like how the “Truth” ending ties in with the first Metal Gear but I’m here to talk to you about “Kingdom of the Flies”, the cut ending from the game revolving around Eli, Venom Snake, and a certain Metal Gear. I’m just going to dive right in…
It seems there was a struggle for creative control between publisher Konami and series director Hideo Kojima and it’s evidently clear that the game was launched prematurely and the internal struggle for creative control had stunted the games development.
Where does all this come from? There’s a whole third chapter of the game, with a third ending, that ties up crucial loose ends and makes MGSV what could have been the definitive turning point for the series lore, the game that features the major turning point for the relationship between Big Boss and Les Enfants Terribles, thus bridging the game to the start of both the MGS series, and the original MSX games. MGSV accomplishes this in it’s gameplay through an incredibly robust stealth sandbox, but just misses this in it’s storytelling.
So lets take a look at the ending…
So just a recap. In the retail launch of the game, Eli and his soldiers take off with a captured Metal Gear and that’s the last we see of him. That’s it! So we’re left to assume that maybe Salanthropous would be the metal gear that would be modified to become Metal Gear REX in Metal Gear Solid 20 years later??? We don’t know!
In actuality, this deleted (unfinished) mission depicts Venom Snake tracking Eli and the kids down retrieving the Metal Gear, and confronting Eli about his heritage and future.
From what I understand it was a handful of missions that would lead up to the recapture of Salanthroupus. All of this would’ve been great for the character development of Eli because again, spoilers… Eli is Liquid Snake and it would’ve been great just to show how he really is that clever enough to outsmart the adults at motherbase to the extent that he escaped with it’s most destructive weapon.
The absence of this makes for one of the key examples of when the story just flies off into the realm of unanswered cliffhangers we see in most story-driven Japanese game series today. The presence of this chapter would have brought the game back down to reality, similar to when a child steals a car, eventually both the child and the car return. Instead, the story ends in a state where we’re just left to assume that Eli has taken the Metal Gear for good, and it’s ridiculous unfinished business.
I think it’s safe say, Konami really stunted Kojima’s creative rule over the project. I don’t think Kojima was able to tell the complete story he wanted to and that’s very disappointing. If there’s one thing the game does better than anything else, it’s provide a stealth sandbox deeper and more creative than any other I’ve ever seen. What you get in MGSV, is both quality and quantity, but it’s not the whole picture.
It’s just not a complete game. In some ways and for some people that will pose as a fatal flaw in the experience and for me personally, it’s really the anchor to what could’ve been Kojimas definitive ending to the magnum opus that is Metal Gear. Things were happening behind the scenes between Kojima and Konami and that’s never more apparent than when experiencing the disjointed story present in The Phantom Pain.
Having said all that negativity, I did actually appreciate the ending that was there. How they pass the torch to the player at the very end by not only telling you that you’re not Big Boss, but challenging you to role-play as him, but also allowing you to take the avatar that you created at the beginning of the game and actually play with it and customize it anyway you like. It really adds a sense of personal accomplishment to the game and nearly breaks the fourth wall by explaining that this was your story and this was your adventure, not Big Bosses, his story is in another game.
I think that without this ending, The Phantom Pain can’t help but but crack under the weight of a superb gameplay experience wrapped around a story that just isn’t of Metal Gear quality and just the idea of what it could have been with a stable relationship between publisher and developer gives me such mixed feelings on the game all I can hope for is Directors Cut now. With the directors cut, it could be one of the best games of the series.
After the short but stellar experience that was Ground Zeros, I was waiting for more of Kojimas signature story in The Phantom Pain. Kojima had dropped hints of trouble brewing internally, through Easter eggs hidden in Ground Zeros, and now I’m not too sure it isn’t safe to theorize that Ground Zeros was the last game he had full creative control over. If Konami did one thing right, it was removing Kojimas name from the box art. MGSV is not “A Hideo Kojima Game”, but rather an unfinished masterpiece by a man whos captivated three generations with a story worth experiencing by anyone who thinks video games can’t be art.
- Great storytelling
- Awesome soundtrack
- Stealth sandbox
- Heli rides
- Missing ending