By now, you should have watched, and drooled over, The Phantom Pain reveal trailer from tonight’s VGAs. And while everyone else moved on and watched the rest of the reveals, I remained too intrigued by the cryptic trailer and the brain-teaser that I believe it really is.
One thing is for sure: Things aren’t what they seem.
First, The Phantom Pain trailer had certain markers that just “scream” Hideo Kojima, the man responsible for Metal Gear and a franchise full of mind-fucks. The whale—Moby Dick Studio—and the way it jumped struck me as the same movement as Metal Gear Ray; plus, the whole execution of the footage, the movement, the way the main character crawled, etc.
The Internet has been set aflame with speculation, many believing that The Phantom Pain is nothing more than a teaser for Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes, and the segment shown was a hallucination brought about on Big Boss by Psycho Mantis. But things don’t quite add up there. Yes, there are many similarities, but there is this…
What I believe we have just seen tonight, was the other “phantom” born from the FOX Engine, Kojima Productions’ new engine. This other phantom would be Kojima’s fabled “Project Ogre.”
At the start of The Phantom Pain trailer, the logo for the developer Moby Dick Studios is displayed proudly. Except, this is a studio with no history whatsoever and was virtually non-existant to Google. In fact, the supposedly Swedish-based website is only two weeks old. And even more striking, is the fact that the CEO of the company’s name is Joakim Mogren.
Joakim is an anagram for Kojima. Mogren has the word Ogre right in it. Could this really just be a coinicidence? Maybe, but knowing that Kojima was in attendance makes things all the more interesting.
And let’s face it, some nobody developer isn’t going to grab prime space on gaming’s biggest night.
That said, there isn’t enough “solid” proof yet. And it seems, the Internet is split, with one side saying it’s a hallucination Big Boss suffers from in Ground Zeroes and the other saying it’s Project Ogre. Still, the majority is in agreement that this is Kojima pulling the strings, and that it’s not actually a game called The Phantom Pain.
The camp on the Ground Zeroes side of things has plenty to back up the theory, too. The main character, for example; outside of his prosthetic hook arm, he resembles Big Boss. And that wrapped up companion of his in the trailer? Could be the charred face pictured below.
Truth is, I’m really torn with my thinking. Creating a viral video promoting Ground Zeroes isn’t beyond Kojima’s capabilities, even of this high quality. But it all seems far too elaborate to just be a hallucination and not it’s own project. If it is, that only means that Ground Zeroes will impress even more than expected. Either way it’s a win for me, a win for Kojima, and a win for the industry.
[Update] Geoff Keighley is saying on Twitter that The Phantom Pain is a complete game. He could very well be playing along. Who knows?
Another thing I’m finding very perplexing is that the entire Internet seems almost unanimously convinced it’s Ground Zeroes and are almost pissed that they figured it out so quickly. It’s almost as if Kojima wants people to think it’s Metal Gear by adding similarities to build hype and viral buzz, only for it to be something new. If that’s really what happened, then he just got the entire MGS fanbase hooked on whatever this new thing he’s got cooking is, all by making to appear that it was MGS from the get-go.
I don’t for a second doubt it’s Kojima or doubt that it’s Fox Engine. But it could be Project Ogre, The Phantom Pain, or Ground Zeroes.
Time will tell, but for now, this is the most intrigued I’ve been about a new game in a very long time.
[Update 2] Well lookie here. Coincidence? This would make it none of the above, and instead be Metal Gear Solid V. Now this is getting spooky. How does Kojima come up with this stuff?
Tell GR: What are your thoughts?