Hideo Kojima's GDC 2013 'announcement' and how it drove me to the brink of insanity

How I spent 18+ months chasing clues about Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain - plus why they add up to MGS5. In the spirit of Moby Dick Studio, this might be my - and every MGS fan's - great white whale...


  1. 1) Over a year ago, I rounded up hundreds of Kojima's tweets and dissected the extended MGS timeline to come up with a base theory for MGS5. Not all of it proved correct, but I did predict an open-world game starring Big Boss set in the 70s, exploring the Les Enfants Terrible project...
  2. 2) On August 30th, 2012, Hideo Kojima unveiled MGS: Ground Zeroes at the MGS 25th anniversary event. Here's the extended 14 min trailer:
  3. Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes Extended 14 Minute Demo
  4. 3) In my initial analysis, I suggested the trailer didn't rule out a game that jumped between time periods - though many inconsistencies weren't clear.
  5. 4) Seeing the MGS: GZ trailer in HD at the Eurogamer Expo crystallised a theory about the trailer's curious banded lights being tied to a specific sound effect, that I dubbed, catchily, the 'swoosh code conspiracy' - and a possible link to time travel. I suggested it might be linked to VR training or an Animus style device.
  6. 5) The Phantom Pain debuted at the VGA Awards on Dec 7th and incredible detective work, notably on the NeoGAF forum, pegged it as an MGS game. Here's the cryptic trailer:
  7. The Phantom Pain [HD] - VGA 2012 Debut trailer
  8. 6) I analysed the trailer to suggest 21 significant ties between The Phantom Pain and Metal Gear Solid, including a cast-iron link to MGS: Ground Zeroes, though big questions remained.
  9. 7) On March 14th, Joakim Mogren, the CEO of Moby Dick Studio and creator of The Phantom Pain, was interviewed by Geoff Keighley on GTTV.
  10. The Phantom Pain [NEW INTERVIEW With Joakim Mogren!]
  11. 8) Before the interview was broadcast, and the 'Mogren is CG!' debate began, I'd interviewed Hideo Kojima, who dropped some indirect hints about the future of the MGS series. Most tellingly, his plan to use pilot episodes to trial a larger gaming experience.
  12. 9) As the 'Mogren is CG' debate raged, I started to see a pattern linking 18 months of clues, leading to the creation of 'The Phantom Pain: The Unifying Theory'. It's all about the blurring of the boundaries between fantasy and reality, right? It would certainly allow Kojima to tell a bigger tale about our 'always on' world. Let me explain:
  13. 10) Am I right? Agonisingly, all will be revealed at the Game Developers Conference (GDC 2013) this week, where 18 months of chasing the great white whale might prove a more metaphorical, and sobering, experience than I hoped. It's entirely possible that Kojima's barrage of clues and cryptic trailers have turned maniacs like me - and the world's brilliant, obsessive MGS fans - into Captain Ahab, echoing a key theme of the novel Moby Dick. If true, it'd lend this surreal pantomime a form of poetic closure. Worst case, it's been fun. Just as Ahab projected his own hopes and fears onto the whale, have we been projecting our own hopes for 'the next MGS' into a cogent narrative, despite evidence to the contrary? Perhaps. Here's how to watch the unveiling live: