trying to understand Big Boss

part of Metal Gear Month

I want feedback on this one. If I say anything you agree with or disagree with, let me know!


In preparation for the next Metal Gear installment, I find it important to figure out what Big Boss’s problem is. Is he a misunderstood, tragic brute we should have sympathy for? Or is he the truly the big bad guy Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 paint him to be, for which we should have no sympathy? From the games Snake Eater to Peace Walker, we’ve seen him progress from loveable soldier to power-hungry tyrant (somewhat), and I’m wondering what his true motivations are and how deep is feelings go.

At the beginning of Operation Snake Eater, he seems to place some value in honor and in country. To complete the operation he was forced to kill the mentor he loved, to avert a nuclear war. It was a decision made for the good of the people completely in opposition to his own wants – a motive true to the teachings his his mentor. After her death, Zero and Big Boss sought to realize her last will – both misinterpreting it. Zero sought to unify the entire world under one rule, where Snake sought to glorify the soldier’s purpose forming a nation where soldiers were respected above all. Thus, Big Boss’s breakaway from Zero and The United States began, and he formed MSF as a beginning to that soldier’s nation. In actuality, his mentor’s final will was servitude for the greater good, not necessarily telling of a particular method of reaching a greater good. But Big Boss continued with his plan that held the greater good in a neither-here-nor-there sort of regard, claiming it was his mentors final will. But perhaps the experience of having to kill her scarred him deeper than he lets on. I sense it’s caused him a loss of sensitivity and an increase in bitterness. Whatever he claims his reasons to be, I’m certain that his breakaway from governments was a result of his own government forcing him to kill his mentor. Ever since reluctantly being awarded his decorations for having completed Operation Snake Eater, he’s not been affiliated with the CIA and has drifted very far off the course they would have had for him. To my speculation, he is ridden with guilt more than anything else. As he claims himself, he died along with his mentor. Thinking of himself this way – as a different entity altogether – is a way to cope with that guilt. There are many mentions of the past and how it won’t do to dwell upon it. Big Boss rarely does this anymore approaching the end of the Peace Walker incident. Instead, he looks to the future to expanding his own operation. He fights for the rights of soldiers because of how he’s been used as a soldier… but despite what noble cause he preaches about, I suspect he just wants to see what kind of trouble he can stir up as a way of exacting a little selfish revenge on the governments, economies, and politics that have done this to him. And, as he is dead anyway, possibly he’d like to see just a little bit of the pain he’s experienced thrust onto others.

It’ll be interesting to see how these things have shaped his character into the Big Boss of the 1980s. As his date with destiny approaches (the story’s alignment with the original Metal Gear in which he is the main bad guy), I bet we will be hard-pressed to find any more likable qualities in him, as he is inevitably descending into madness. And I’m sure that super-long coma and the horn sticking out of his head won’t help his bitterness any. In order to align with Metal Gear, he will throughout the course of MGSV become a bad guy. But a bad guy can’t be the protagonist of a game. So perhaps details of the Outer Heaven uprising will be revealed so that we still have a little sympathy for him. Keeping in mind his tragic reappearance in MGS4, that’s certainly a capable route for the story to take. In his final words, he pleads his son to live his life in peace. Is that something he realized having a second brief chance at life? Or is that something a suppressed part of him always knew…? Maybe we are supposed to hate him once MGSV finally concludes, which would be a shamefully exciting thing to see. Either way, his character in the coming game is going to be very interesting…



One response to “trying to understand Big Boss

  1. Pingback: Week in Review: 3/22/14 | Stay-At-Home Gaming·

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