How Mother Bases units help Snake in MGS 5

We already know a little about how your Mother Base actually works, but what about all those soldiers you'll be Fultoning out of each mission during Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain? Those extra pairs of hands are more than just additional company in between ops -each one can be assigned to certain areas and given new career paths. In this extract from the latest issue of Official Xbox Magazine, the team breaks down just how these new friends can be put to your bidding....

Yours is a stolen army, yanked from the battlefield. But do you really want any old Soviet riff-raff? Every man on the battlefield is graded on his usefulness to Mother Base’s various divisions. At first it’s a lucky dip as to whether you get a rocket scientist or a total slug of a human being; upgrade the INT-Scope and you can scan before you swipe, pinpointing exactly who to kidnap.

Some targets also possess rare skills, which can help teams’ efficiency or unlock extra branches on the tech tree. But be warned: there are negative skills, too, such as ‘troublemaker’ (picks fights) or ‘boaster’ (disguises his crappy skill grades using the gift of the gab). Hey, you could always chuck these timewasters in the sea.

Combat Unit

You order the combat unit to embark on NPC-only missions, piecing together teams that offer the best chance. Every operation has various tiers of rewards, from GMP to rare blueprints that can’t be found elsewhere. Send an idiot to do Big Boss’ work, however, and they’ll come back in a body bag. Combat Unit soldiers can also replace Big Boss in the main missions. As funny as it is watching a random spod play at being hero, they really don’t compare – most get out of breath after a tiny jog.

Base Development

Expanding Mother Base requires builders and resources. Adding men to this squad opens up further Base upgrades – forcing each platform to grow ever taller – and speeds up the processing time for the materials needed to build that new extension. Materials are found in small amounts in most enemy outposts, but for a big payday you want to invest in a multi-balloon Fulton and lift entire shipping containers of the things. In a cool touch, the container colour tells you what goodies hide inside.

Support Unit

A high-level Support team means faster delivery times in the heat of battle – when you’re out of ammo and under too much fire to leave cover, you can rely on these angels to drop bullets right into your hands (just dodge the big crate they arrive in, okay?). You’ll also need decent Support to work with R&D on improved item battery life, extra Fulton functions and, most important of all, radical new designs for the cardboard box. Boxes are vital – keep Support sweet or risk going home in one.

R&D Unit

R&D are the backbone of Big Boss’ upgrades; every time you level this unit up you’ll see the tech tree light up with fresh goodies (there’s one handy tab that shows everything that can be built right now). Some weapons require blueprints retrieved in the field, while more advanced improvements will require you to Fulton/recruit a Specialist. Yank up a Bipedal Weapon Developer, for example, and an exciting world of D-Walker add-ons await. Hope he doesn’t make the other nerds jealous.

Intel Unit
Ocelot’s network of spies annotate your map mid-mission, highlighting enemy locations and potential valuables. The higher the unit’s skill level, the more precise the intel. As funny as it is to see a low-level team radio in a mile-wide search radius for one soldier, we prefer a more educated team. You’ll also want to secure a translator for the group – Big Boss’ shrapnel-riddled brain no longer understands Russian, rendering guard interrogations useless. Get on that one sharpish.

The latest issue of Official Xbox Magazine, with Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain on the cover, is out now. Download it here or subscribe to future issues.