A Newcomer's Guide To Big Boss

by Dan Ryckert on Feb 10, 2014 at 08:00 AM

If you were one of the millions of gamers whose first experience with the Metal Gear series was with 1998’s Metal Gear Solid, you probably didn’t know much about the supposedly villainous Big Boss right away. He was frequently referenced during Solid Snake's early exploits, but little was revealed about this mysterious antagonist until Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater took us back to the 1960s. With Metal Gear Solid V on the horizon and Big Boss in another starring role, we wanted to give newcomers to the series a little background of the world’s greatest soldier.

The Boss and Operation Snake Eater

At the age of 15, Big Boss (then going by his real name of John) began his training with a woman known as The Boss. She spent years training him in melee combat, demolition, stealth, and countless other skills. They eventually went their separate ways and Big Boss (under the codename of Snake) became a decorated soldier in his own right.

In 1964, Snake was dropped into the jungles of Russia in a mission to rescue a defecting Soviet scientist. There, he was shocked to discover that The Boss had apparently defected to America’s Cold War enemy. The Boss tossed her former pupil off a bridge and injured him, though he was eventually rescued.

Soon after his recovery, Snake is sent back to the Soviet Union with the objective of killing The Boss in order to clear the U.S.'s name amidst a looming nuclear conflict. Operation Snake Eater commences, and Snake blasts his way through The Boss’ son, Ocelot, and her formidable and eccentric Cobra Unit en route to his former mentor. In a climactic battle, he reluctantly accomplishes his mission by killing The Boss with her own gun.

In the epilogue of Metal Gear Solid 3, Snake learns that The Boss’s “defection” was actually an undercover mission she was working on for the U.S. government. Her mission was to be killed by Snake in an effort to clear the United States of blame in a nuclear attack that was actually perpetrated by the villainous Colonel Volgin. Snake is heartbroken by the news, and the game ends with the image of him saluting and crying at her grave.

Formation of The Patriots

In 1970, Ocelot and Snake’s former commander, Zero, formed a group known as The Patriots, with the intention of realizing The Boss’s dream of a unified world. They recruited Big Boss, two former comrades from his FOX squad (Sigint and Para-Medic), and an agent named Eva that Big Boss met during Snake Eater. Zero’s plan was for the group to control virtually every aspect of global human life from behind the scenes, but Big Boss had a different interpretation of The Boss’s dream. He felt that The Boss wanted the government to stop using soldiers as expendable tools, and a rift began to grow between Big Boss and Zero as a result.

Peace Walker and Militaires Sans Frontieres

In 1972, Big Boss named his new independent military group Militaires Sans Frontieres, which translates to “soldiers without borders.” The ideology behind this group was that they would act as mercenaries for anyone that requested them, regardless of what nation or intention they came from. He also began construction of Metal Gear Zeke, a bipedal nuclear tank that would serve as a nuclear deterrent for the group.

During the process of recruiting for his new army, Snake wass approached by two supposed Costa Ricans who introduced themselves as Ramon Galvez Mena and Paz Ortega Andrade. They claimed that they needed help in their homeland, and Big Boss accepted. During this mission, he encountered a child soldier named Chico and brought him under the MSF umbrella. While Ramon and Paz were stationed on MSF’s Mother Base, they revealed themselves to be KGB double agents named Vladimir Zadornov and Pacifica Ocean.

Big Boss killed Zadornov on Mother Base, but Pacifica Ocean was able to escape amidst the confrontation. She hijacked Metal Gear Zeke and Big Boss confronted her atop the base. Revealing herself as an agent of Zero (also known as Cipher), she claimed she was sent to convince Big Boss to return to The Patriots. Big Boss refused and did battle with Zeke, defeating it and sending Pacifica Ocean into the waters surrounding Mother Base.

Ground Zeroes

Ground Zeroes opens with Chico and Paz (who survived the attack on Zeke) held captive at a U.S. base in Cuba known as Camp Omega. Big Boss is sent in to rescue the two, with hopes that Paz can be convinced to rejoin the MSF under more cooperative conditions and hopefully reveal insider information about Zero's plans. The dramatic events that follow lead to Big Boss' nine-year coma and leads directly into the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. For more of our story speculation revolving around Ground Zeroes, watch this video.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is poised to potentially bring Big Boss' storyline full circle. The extended trailer for the game reveals a young blond boy named Eli, whose age and mannerisms suggest he may be a very young Liquid Snake. This possibility means his clone twin, Solid Snake, may also make an appearance in The Phantom Pain. If this happens, The Phantom Pain may end up being one of the most pivotal chapters in the entire Metal Gear series.

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