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‘Never Be Game Over’: Inside the Community Still Trying to Solve Metal Gear Solid V’s Biggest Mysteries

There are a small but dedicated group still trying to find meaning in Metal Gear Solid V’s biggest mysteries. There aren’t many of them, but five years on they’re still trying to work out the hidden secrets that will – they hope – fill in the game’s blanks.

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“Never Be Game Over” is a subreddit that has more than 15,000 subscribers, and since its creation they have broken down the game to its very core in the hopes that suddenly it will all make sense. It’s been a difficult five years, with even the truest of believers moving on (or turning to Metal Gear memes for comfort).

An even more hardcore few have leapt across to another subreddit – “A Hideo Kojima Ruse” – to analyse the latest mainline Metal Gear game, and find the secrets supposedly still hidden away.

It’s an unusual obsession, but one that perfectly encapsulated the phantom pain the game worked so hard to create.

Kept You Waiting, Huh?

The plot for Metal Gear Solid V was woefully unfinished. That was by design. The whole game is about fostering a sense of loss – about feeling something that should be there, even though it isn’t. It plays upon your expectations time and time again, for better or for worse.

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The end result is a game that, detached from playing it, has a story that is artistic and interesting. Just don’t ask me to ever go through it again. I say that as the world’s biggest Metal Gear Solid fan.

We have characters that we think we know, acting in ways that surprise us. We have story arcs cut short, explained only with “well, it must’ve got sorted out, because they come back in Metal Gear Solid”. Something has to happen, but we don’t know what. We won’t ever know. As someone that has followed this franchise religiously for several decades, this is something that still bothers me whenever I think about it.

It’s another kind of fourth wall breaking Hideo Kojima genius. I love it for what it is, and hate it for how it makes me feel.

There are other issues with Metal Gear Solid V that we won’t get into here, although I’ll say I’d have felt a good deal happier with the final experience if David Hayter had been brought back for the finale.

I called this game’s biggest twist several months before launch. For the first time, the story wasn’t the appeal of MGSV. It was signposted a mile away.

No, the themes were deeper. The ideas were more abstract.

It only makes sense that some would set out to make them more tangible.

Never Be Game Over

“You can’t help but feel that something’s off about the ending, right? You’re feeling Phantom Pain, the sensation of feeling pain in something that’s not there. I believe that this “Phantom Pain” is intentional, and that there is an unlockable Chapter 3.”

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That was the post that led to the creation of the Never Be Game Over subreddit. u/NuclearSnake listed his reasons for believing that a third chapter could be unlocked, and the idea took off from there.

His reasoning included:

  • The PC version of Phantom Pain saves a copy to the Ground Zeroes folder.
  • Portopia. A tape from Phantom Pain proved to be a loader for the game. Bizarrely it had been slighted edited over the original.
  • The PC version being smaller than the console one.

This was enough to pique people’s interests, and thousands upon thousands of people started adding their voices to the research. That was alongside aimlessly signing petitions asking for the game to be re-released in a more sensible state (the phantom pain is real).

Code analysis found “proof” of hidden missions. Tweets from Konami and Kojima were twisted into evidence. Everything was part of the ruse, to the point where people started looking at Death Stranding for evidence that it was all just more Metal Gear Solid V.

Over the last five years, the efforts have unsurprisingly died down. There’s only so much evidence you can find, and the chances of the final chapter of a six year old game being suddenly released seems slim.

That hasn’t stopped the diehard fans though. Never Be Game Over.

The Future

Today’s ‘Rusers’ are few and far between. Most have come to grips with their phantom pain, feeling just a little hurt when looking back at what could easily be the last original Metal Gear title. Some might argue there was never anything to find. Maybe the game’s unfinished state was due to real-world issues at Konami.

I’m not sure I buy that. The idea of a company just saying “bah, release it – we don’t care if it’s unfinished” isn’t completely impossible. It’s not completely logical either.

I think the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. We are meant to feel loss. But if Kojima seriously planned out all this external stuff as a kind of AR game, he truly deserves everything said about him.

I was never part of these communities. Their ideas were farfetched even for Metal Gear Solid. But I do believe there is more to find. One day, in a decade or two, someone will discover some new thread, tug at it in just the right way, and find a new idea. Who knows maybe some day somebody might use that idea and write about in on essayhub.com for classes about gaming history.

I doubt the idea will turn everything on its head. More likely it’s a binary message about making the perfect burger or something like that. But part of me is still holding on – and I know I’m not alone.

 

Article By

blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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