V Years After Release, Metal Gear Solid Fans Do The Impossible
For a brief moment, for the first time in over 75 years, the world was free of nuclear arms. Well, the world of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain that is (which I guess would make it only 39 years). Players have long known that there was a secret ending, one that would only come if every single other online player was nuclear arms-free. Five years after the launch of the game, with the dwindling playerbase all the more vulnerable to community coordination, that ending was finally achieved.
The multiplayer aspect in Metal Gear Solid V worked like this. Every player could build their own Mother Base, a floating military installation located in international waters. Players can perform raids on other players’ bases, sneaking around and stealing resources. However, that leaves the raider vulnerable to being raided themselves. The solution is to build a nuke. If you’re raided, and the raid is a bit too much for your liking, you can launch it and destroy the offender’s base. And of course, the same goes for you.
However, other players can also raid a base to disarm nukes, and a coordinated effort was able to briefly achieve zero nukes on the PS3 version. Of course, the secret cutscene was unfortunately not new; datamining soon after the Metal Gear Solid V release leaked the scene, and a few years back, a glitch accidentally declared the world nuke free even with around a thousand still out there. This time, however, it was done in earnest.
This theme of MAD, or “mutually assured destruction” has long been a theme in the Metal Gear franchise. Obviously, the continual arms race of building bigger and bigger giant robots has been present, but this online mechanic of constructing nuclear weapons states it clearer than most. But this globe-spanning standoff that could end in the complete annihilation of all life on earth is certainly a theme worth exploring in a videogame.
“How long the world remains nuke-free is up to us,” says Kaz Miller in the secret cutscene. “We thought deterrence would be our defense. These weapons are costing us our future, a future we sold to ease the pain of the present.”