At the 2012 Spike VGAs on Friday, unheard of Swedish developer Moby Dick Studios unveiled a curious new IP titled The Phantom Pain. This seemed fishy to many viewers for a variety of reasons. Already on the lookout for an out of place trailer, thanks to Geoff Keighley stating that one trailer shown at the awards would be a puzzle, gamers took this trailer to be the challenge.
How did an unheard of developer get airtime at an event as big as the VGAs? Why was there no publisher listed in the trailer? Why did members of the supposed studio head over to the Konami VIP booth after the trailer was finished? Why does Phantom’s main character resemble Big Boss? The dedicated NeoGaf forum users have delved deeper than anyone thought possible, and broke the story that The Phantom Pain is one of the two Metal Gear Solid games to stem from Fox Engine’s creation.
Though the specific use of the word ‘phantom’ is telling, we’ll need more evidence. Luckily, this connection isn’t flimsy in that department. Noted by many when first seeing the game’s logo, there is negative space in the letters, and lines above the text. What fits perfectly into those spaces when using the same font?
There’s also the fact that the facial features and scarring on the character from The Phantom Pain resemble Big Boss quite a bit.
There are many references to Big Boss’ past in the trailer as well. When the trailer is still taking place from a first-person perspective, white flower petals are seen floating through the air (likely a hallucination), evoking memories of Metal Gear Solid 3’s emotional ending. Having all the hospital patients die around him, while he remains unharmed, feels an awful lot like the Sorrow boss battle in Metal Gear Solid 3 as well. Also, the prosthetic arm the main character is sporting could make sense if the original Metal Gear game’s canon is taken into consideration, when it is stated that Big Boss is injured so badly that he must be rebuilt. There’s also a figure in the fire who’s definitely earned his place in Big Boss’ nightmares.
There are many sceptics who still say this game is a new IP, and that it would be ridiculous for a famous studio to hint at a title in a world renowned series in the trailer for a non-existent video game. Moby Dick Studios even has a listed CEO, Joakim Mogren. However, under closer inspection, the first name unscrambled is Kojima, and the last name contains "Ogre", referencing the project Kojima stated he was working on with the Fox engine.
There are even more connections, including some that take more than a leap of faith to agree with, but these all seem to make sense. What’s curious about the logo is that the Roman numeral, or letter ‘V’ is used in place of ‘5’. Metal Gear Solid has never used Roman numerals, and unless they’ve decided to adopt them, this could indicate a number of things. This game could be another spin-off, in the vein of Ground Zeroes, it could be the fifth numbered sequel, or this could even be a Vita exclusive. At the end of the trailer, a female soldier is even heard saying, "V has come too." Only time will tell, and we wait with bated breath. Are we insane conspiracy theorists? Is Kojima the biggest troll in the video game industry? Are you excited? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned to PSU for all your incredibly complicated video game reveals.