To Love the Bomb?: An interview with the leaders in the secret Cold War of MGS V

Metal Gear Solid on the PS1 was a video game that changed the way I look at video games. It transformed my idea of them from something that I enjoyed doing when the weather was a bit shit to a form of media that left real lasting impressions on me. The kind of thing you’d expect from a Pulitzer winning novel or a movie with a really good score on Rotten Tomatoes. I think one of the reasons behind this is that it did things so differently from other games I was used to. Up until then I’d played puzzle platformers and the like. 1998 opened up a whole new world of interactive media (Halflife and Suikodden 2 came out that year too!) This, to me, is something Hideo Kojima does best and something that I believe he’s done to absolute perfection in his latest and final installment in the series.

If you haven’t played through The Phantom Pain yet and don’t want to get spoilered, please don’t read past this ultra HD pic of Ocelot I found.

ocelot

You’ve been warned. Like most things nowadays, people with far more skill than I have with computerey things have done a touch of data mining on the PC copy of the game. There’s been a bit of added incentive for this as there’s some controversy around the unfinished feel of a couple of rather critical plot points. Whether their motivation was to unearth this missing content or just find secrets I’m not sure (I suppose I could look it up but I am very lazy). What they have discovered is this 8 minute cutscene below which looks like it could well be something people have yet to unlock.

Inspiring stuff. What that sounds like to me (and a whole bunch of other people) is that, in order to unlock this cutscene, TPP players need to achieve global nuclear disarmament. There is an online base building/invading mechanic where you have the option to develop nuclear weapons as a form of deterrent (where only players of high enough level or those similarly armed can attack you, kinda like real life I guess). You also have the option of invading nuclear equipped targets and removing and dismantling their warheads. If this is not just cut content and is instead Hideo’s master plan to unite fans of his series under a common goal of achieving a world free from nuclear arms (and I really want to believe it is) then he’s set the ground work for one of the most ingenious, industrious meta games I’ve ever seen.

Whether or not that’s the case, the mantle has been picked up by the community at large, many of whom are at least as fanatical about this franchise as I am. A group called the Philanthropists has emerged on Reddit who seek to achieve the dream of nuclear disarmament. But every superhero needs a villain and in quick order another group has arisen; The Patriots. They fight for proliferation, believing the only true way to peace is absolute deterrence.

Both groups are essentially fighting for the same thing: peace. Peace through war has been a common theme throughout Metal Gear history, either by the threat of global annihilation or by taking the fight to those that would put the world at risk. I wanted to hear a bit more from the very people that started these movements so I reached out to /u/dchaffins of The Patriots and /u/superpegacorn of The Philanthropists to get a better picture of their separate outfits. 

So tell us a little about your group. What made you want to start The Patriots/The Philanthropists and what’s the end goal?

/u/dchaffins – I’ve loved the Metal Gear Solid Series for years. I was learning about the mechanics of FOBs [Forward Operating Bases] after finishing up mission 46 of The Phantom Pain and browsed /r/MetalGearPhilanthropy. There were a lot of rumors surrounding the existence of a certain cut scene and rumors that in order to achieve it you needed to disarm a certain number of nuclear weapons. I made a post detailing that if there wasn’t enough interest in nukes, we would not be able to achieve that cutscene. One of the mods for Philanthropy /u/SkeletonFReAK recommended that I should start a separate group that would counter act against Philanthropy and act as a community for people with interest in building nuclear weapons. Since then, a good deal of community members have been building their own lore and influencing the goals and mission of Metal Gear Patriots. I spent my time in college studying geography, so it was easy to form an agreement that the political landscape of the fictional universe of 1984 Metal Gear Solid needed nuclear weapons. I’ve been somewhat hashing out my thoughts on the political side of things, but I want to keep the community open to creative possibilities so I try to remain vague. There are a number of small goals that we have, but we generally agree on one main goal. We want to create a community where we can produce nukes freely and in vast numbers under the protection of our brothers in arms (Hopefully finding specific FOBs will come with the FOB Online release and make this easier).

/u/superpegacorn – Well the initial reason we started the Philanthropists was because of all those theories about the disarmament cut scene that were appearing on /r/metalgearsolid. Soon after that cutscene leaked someone posted a thread asking if anyone would like to start a group for disarming as many nuclear weapons as possible in MGSV’s game world. That thread got a lot of attention, but nothing became of it, so a day or so later I started the subreddit. So right now the end goal is to disarm all the nuclear weapons in MGSV. It may seem to be quite an impossible goal, but I believe we can do it. It may take a very long time, but I think we have enough players dedicated to disarmament to actually make it possible.

How are your forces looking? On the 17th Kotaku said the Philanthropists were sitting at about 370 members, what do things look like for you guys now?

/u/dchaffins – It was incredibly exciting and scary when Kotaku posted that article being almost a day after creating the sub. It gave me a good deal of motivation to start organizing and getting our name out there. As of talking to you our numbers are around 250 subscribers to the subreddit. We’ve only been live for 4 days and I am very happy with those numbers. The moderators and I wanted to focus our efforts into pumping content into the subreddit rather than outside. For me, I’d rather have active community members (S Rank soldiers) than filling the subreddit with non-active (E rank soldiers). Quality over quantity is a game we are playing on this subreddit and in The Phantom

/u/superpegacorn – Our forces have grown to over 1,400 troops, which is just unbelievable. The kotaku article got us a fair amount of publicity, and then after that we were a trending subreddit, which brought us to the attention of even more soldiers and civilians.

What kind of things are you looking at doing to get the community involved?

/u/dchaffins – As of right now, you can participate in our weekly offline community challenge to receive special flair. Each week will be a different objective created by /u/FredreckTamas and you will be awarded for your participation as well as a special prize for the winner. This week we are also unveiling our highly organized Patriots Operations Log made by our tech guru /u/heydavywronglocker. By the end of the month, the log will incorporate a flair based ranking system tied into the data you submit. After the release of Metal Gear Online, we will be scheduling weekly Patriots multiplayer events and discussing FOB Online strategy organized by /u/oldbluey. I’m genuinely excited to let community members engage in the projects were working on.

/u/superpegacorn – We’re doing a couple of things to get the community involved. We have a log dedicated to nukes we’ve disarmed, and we’re looking to better organize that in a way that would make the list more aesthetically pleasing. We also are going to have Philanthropy streams of FOB raids and other MGSV gameplay. We’ll also have a MGO3 clan when that comes out in October – we’re planning on having coordinated battles with our Patriot enemies there as well.

We are trying to make competitions a continuous thing, the only problem is currently we’re still gauging the interest there is for that. It is something we would like to continue and expand upon though. We’re also going to have a lot more community interaction when Metal Gear Online comes out- we’ll be attempting to host tournaments and battles with our rivals at Metal Gear Patriots. Until then though we’ll be more laisez-faire with the subreddit.

Have you had many interactions in game or on reddit with the other side? I’m sure I saw that Russian guy with the revolver hanging out in both camps…

/u/dchaffins – Although I’ve yet to talk to their “Big Boss”, we do have an “Ocelot” that’s playing both sides of the coin. /u/SkeletonFReAK moderates for both Patriots and Philanthropy. We’ve been working on the idea of having a cross community tournament that has the potential to be very big. I love seeing the troops get riled up to attack Philanthropy and I think we all have a healthy sense of revenge when they might pull one over on us.

/u/superpegacorn – There’s a lot of interaction on reddit between us and our rival. A lot of ‘Demons’ seem to hang out on our sub sometimes, and I’m sure there’s Philanthropists who go to their sub from time to time. We keep tabs on each other. We’ve only had a few of our soldiers report direct clashes with confirmed Patriots in FOB raids so far, but our interaction with them will definitely increase when MGO3 comes out.

Do you think you’ll come out on top?

/u/dchaffins – Yes. 100%. The battles will be rough, but the war is ours for the taking. We will always be producing nukes even when times are low. Our nuclear willpower is strong enough to overtake not only Philanthropy but any others that wish to see disarmament. We will free the world through our atomic legacy.

/u/superpegacorn – I do think we’ll come out on top. We have greater numbers, and in my opinion, a greater cause. Nuclear disarmament is something anyone can get behind; a world without nuclear weapons would be a much safer one.

Lastly, for anyone on the fence wondering who to join, why should they pick you?

/u/dchaffins – Pop culture is seeing the advent of the anti-hero right now. People love to follow the gray areas of these characters in shows like Breaking Bad and House of Cards. They are humanizing and people love watching them succeed. We’ve also seen these influences cross into the world of Metal Gear, especially in its latest iteration. Even Hideo Kojima has been talking and tweeting about movies, TV, and other media that follows the relationship of these characters. This leads me to believe that if Hideo Kojima had to choose, he would choose to side with Metal Gear Patriots. We are a collection of those characters on the scale from Saul Goodman to Walter White. Players want to immerse themselves in that experience and define the blurry lines that surround their in game characters all while trying to achieve our righteously twisted goal. Our mission and community are a great foundation to jumpstart your own stories, content, and rivalries. It’s healthy to be a little bad in your free time. Come Join us at /r/MetalGearPatriots

/u/superpegacorn – [Why we’ll come out on top] is why soldiers on the fence should pick us, we’re fighting for lasting peace, while our rivals are fighting for a fragile peace that can only be maintained through the threat of a nuclear apocalypse.

Such a lust for peace! Personally I’m not sure who I’d put my money on here. Both groups seem equally passionate about their causes. The very idea of entire communities coming together to create a nuclear free world, even if it’s only virtual, is inspiring in and of itself but is that truly the way to peace? There will always be those who seek to destroy and perhaps the only way to combat them is by force yourself. These are questions for far smarter men and woman than I. If nothing else this serves as an interesting look at the struggles of mobilizing a global effort to achieve something great. As for who I call Boss, well…

philanthropy

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