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Dissected: The Phantom Pain trailer - and its 21 significant Metal Gear ties

1970s dashboards, banded blue lights and cast iron proof Phantom Pain is linked to MGS: Ground Zeroes

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5. The car is right-hand drive, so likely of British origin

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There's a British flag in the hospital, next to a map, and the car is right-hand drive - signifying a country that drives on the left. A number of countries drive on the left that hold significance for the MGS canon, including Mozambique, South Africa, UK and Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia, affiliated with Britain until 1979).

In Kojima Productions GDC recruitment adverts, there was an image of a 'Rhodesian Ridgeback' dog, and a figure who looked like Big Boss sported a 'Diamond Dogs' logo, similar to Fox Hound.

In my previous article, What Next for Metal Gear Solid, from March 2012, I'd speculated on the potential importance of Africa/Rhodesia to the game's canon.

Rhodesia is where Frank Jaeger/Cyborg Ninja kills the parents of a little girl, who he adopts... who turns out to be Naomi Hunter. In 1977, Frank fights in Mozambique, but is captured, having his nose and ears cut off, until he's rescued by... Big Boss. Could Frank Jaeger be the bandaged man? It's a leap of faith, but not worth ruling out yet.

In the official The Phantom Pain screenshots, there's an unseen image with a painting on the wall. Nobody has identified it as a real life image yet, but some noted its similarity to the terrain of Zimbabwe.

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6. The hospital's portable radio looks too advanced for the 1970s?

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At first glance, the radio by Big Boss' bedside appears to have a digital readout with buttons, but if you over expose the image, it reveals a speaker, plus - what looks like - an analogue station tuner complete with dial. This would fit with the early 70s. It's inconclusive, but interesting.


7. The hospital nurses are from Kojima's FoxEngine tests

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Kojima tweeted images of nurses with transparent clothing to show off FoxEngine in December 2011. It's not cast iron evidence, but nurses do appear in The Phantom Pain.


8. The petals are similar to those during the final battle with Boss in MGS3

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Well, dur. Just look at the comparison images above - it's like Big Boss is having a flashback.


9. One of the petals is on fire - a sign you're being influenced by Psycho Mantis / The Sorrow

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We'll talk more about Psycho Mantis later, but fire is one of his trademarks - and The Phantom Pain is full of it. The flaming petal might suggest that Psycho Mantis is behind the manipulation.


10. When Big Boss awakes, the bandaged man is in the corner of the room - why?

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Blink and you'll miss it, but when Big Boss comes to, the bandaged man is in his eye line, on the far left. As Big Boss surveys his prosthetic left arm, the bandaged man is raising his own left arm. Hold that thought...


11. The 'What Happened?' text 'blocks in' using negative space

What happened?


The caption text like 'What happened?' and 'Wake up, already' appears in stages, best viewed using freeze-frame. The letters slowly appear, line-by-line, with certain sections 'lifted out' in white. It's likely this was a deliberate inclusion to steer people toward the negative space in The Phantom Pain logo that neatly fits the words 'Metal Gear Solid V'. I don't think Kojima would have expected this puzzle (if true) to be solved so soon.

I'm yet to test it, but would be interested to know if the stages of caption text (like 'Open your eyes') could be mapped to the The Phantom Pain logo to spell Metal Gear Solid V. For example, by using the white lines as guides, the flipping or mirroring the text. This would be a miracle of design, so maybe not, but it is likely a hint.

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