Confusing game endings explained

Gaming's most befuddling finales explained both in a sentence and in detail

The short version: Big Boss is alive, Liquid Ocelot is good and they both help to destroy the Patriots.

Once more…

The long version:

ZOMG! Big Boss is alive?! How? Why? What? When!?

First, stop hyperventilating. Good. Now, that elderly chap (no, not Snake, the other one) is indeed Big Boss. The same Big Boss you controlled in Snake Eater and the same legendary old codger that was supposed to have died at the end of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. After surviving his apparent death in Zanzibarland he is put in an artificially induced coma by Major Zero (yep, that nice English chap from Snake Eater), Ocelot and EVA.

But wasn’t he in bits after Snake laid the whammy on him in Zanzibarland?

Indeed, but EVA restored him to health during his enforced nap time, rebuilding him with the limbs of his sons Liquid and Solidus Snake.

Gotcha. So why does he appear at the end of the game? What’s he got to do with all the Patriots guff?

Big Boss, along with Major Zero, founded the Patriots. But, after disagreeing over the best way to continue the Boss’ will (BB’s mentor from Snake Eater) they parted ways. Believing the best way to honour the memory of the Boss was by restoring order to the world through controlling information; Zero eventually became consumed by a megalomaniacal desire for power and control. As his ageing body failed him, he entrusted the control of digital information flow to five A.I. systems.

So everything was hunky-dory with the A.I. systems, I take it?

Not exactly. The A.I. systems further deviated away from Zero’s will, completely glossing over the Boss’ desire for a unified, peaceful world. Instead, they looked to gain absolute control by manipulating the economy (they altered the war economy by inciting conflicts with their PMCs and through gun launderers like Drebin). While they also sought to control the flow of information (as seen with the GW A.I. in MGS 2) and people’s personalities (through their Sons of the Patriots system, which altered soldiers’ behaviour on the battlefield through nanomachines).

How did Big Boss fit in?

He didn’t. And, disagreeing with Zero’s interpretation of the Boss’ will, he went on to form Outer Heaven (a self-reliant and sustainable military compound), thinking his mentor would want all soldiers to have a place of their own within the world. Ocelot and EVA eventually joined him in his quest to bring down the Patriots. This placed Zero and Big Boss in direct conflict with each other, making them mortal enemies – all thanks to a misunderstanding over the Boss’ dying wishes.

Uh huh…. so that’s why Big Boss kills Zero then. But why does he stop Snake from killing himself? Aren’t they enemies?

Ah, it’s not that black and white my son. Like almost everything in the Metal Gear universe, their relationship lies in shades of gray. Snake, being cloned from Big Boss, is identical to his ‘father’ in almost every way. BB therefore understands how much of a toll the constant conflict of fighting has taken on his clone and wants to be there to tell Snake to live his life. He knows Snake doesn’t have much time left - due to his rapidly ageing genes – and wants to give him one last piece of fatherly advice.

He turns up just to have a bit of father/clone bonding?

Partially, but he also confronts Snake to die. The gravely-voiced one is carrying a new strain of the FOXDIE virus, you see. Injected with the virus at the end of Act 1, the new strain was programmed by the Patriots A.I. to kill Big Boss, Ocelot and EVA. Knowing this, and having finished his business with Zero and seen the destruction of the Patriots, BB’s work is done and he is free and willingly to die. He salutes the Boss’s grave one last time, shares a final stogey with his son and then signs off for good.

Wait a minute… I just remembered. You said Ocelot was working with Big Boss and EVA, didn’t you? Does that mean he was a goodie? Wasn’t he supposed to be possessed by Liquid Snake?

Good deducing young Padawan. Ocelot is indeed not the baddie of the piece. His plan to fire Metal Gear REX’s rail gun was done merely to distract the Patriots while the computer virus that destroys the A.I., FOXALIVE, was uploaded. He was never actually possessed by Liquid’s arm either. Instead, he was given hypnosis and gene therapy to make him believe he was Snake’s twin brother. That’s why he and Snake battle on top of Outer Heaven, to fulfil Liquid’s desire for the two clones of Big Boss to fight one final time. But the real Ocelot was working to bring down the Patriots system all along, not to control it. Savvy?

Feb 17, 2009

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