Hideo Kojima Possibly Explains Metal Gear Solid 5’s Ending: “There Is A Blank Space”, “Will Not Be Filled”

Because in that blank space, there is always a hero, says Kojima in MGS5’s official novel.

Posted By | On 31st, Oct. 2015 Under News | Follow This Author @GamingBoltTweet

metal gear solid 5 the phantom pain

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is a great game and perhaps offers the best gameplay in the series. But there were compromises done to achieve that. One of the things that makes a Metal Gear game Metal Gear is its story and although the story is there, it’s underwhelming and it kind of messes the timeline. The ending is abrupt and does not add any sort of character development to Venom Snake.

However it seems all of this was intentional from Kojima. The Japanese novelization of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain was recently released and Kojima gives a broader perspective about his intentions with Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. In a translation provided by a Redditor, Kojima spoke a bit about how this novel is unique and how the author Hitori Nojima did a great job of getting the story across given the open nature of The Phantom Pain.

He also explains the lack of cutscenes in the game by stating that even though they were a selling point of the games before, they served as an obstruction to freedom. Honestly, this kind of statement is a bit off given the man is a big fan of movies. Anyways, moving ahead…he further states that every series needs to come to an end. He gives an example of quote given by Dennis Lehane with the popular series Patrick Kenzie & Angela Gennaro who declared that at the peak of his popularity “No matter what kind of series it is, there is a time that it must end.”

However according to Kojima that is not parting as the influence of the story will always be there. “No matter how popular a series is, someday the end will come. However, that is by no means a parting. Even if you can’t touch it, you can feel the influence of that story. A story is a thing without shape. Assuming physically nothing is there, nothing to be lost. As long as stories and legends are desired, they will continue forever. The brilliance will never vanish. It’s in everyone’s heart. It is not always true that saying “goodbye to a hero” ignites a phantom pain. By saying “goodbye to a hero”, you can for eternity leave behind lost joy as a blank space.”

He then states an example of a punk band which you can read about it in the translation. He essentially states that there will “be a blank space” and “it won’t be filled”. He claims that within that blank space there is always a hero and “one can advance ahead.”

It’s interesting to note that in an article by Famitsu, Kojima actually hinted the twist to the author. The quote that was translated by a Redditor states the following: “In MGSV, we hand the story (the legend) over to the player. That’s how the player becomes the Big Boss in the MSX2 Metal Gear. You play the game as you will, raise up your Mother Base. That’s the way I want the player to create his own story, thinking of things like “war” and “peace” as Big Boss. Up until now, the Metal Gear Saga was told by creating video games, but I want each player to think and come up with their own story (legend) on their own.”

In short, this was always the plan to have the player play as a body double of Big Boss. I wonder why Kojima and Konami advertised the game as having a ultimate story?

My personal take on these statements by Kojima is that the man eventually got tired of the Metal Gear Solid series. Hence he left the ending at a blank state so that another developer can possibly pick up the remains and take the series ahead. It must be noted that Kojima had no interest in working on another Metal Gear game after Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty but he eventually came back again to direct 5 more games after all. I guess it must be tiring working on the same series for almost 30 years.

Despite’s Kojima’s thematic intentions with The Phantom Pain, several fans are still not happy with the story they got. Hopefully, the next Metal Gear game will have a nice balance of story and gameplay, something we haven’t received in a decade since Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eatrer.

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  • Matt

    “He also explains the lack of cutscenes in the game by stating that even though they were a selling point of the games before, they served as an obstruction to freedom”

    So what is it then when the game stops you in your tracks to take you back to MB for a 2 min cutscene?

    • MrC

      I personally think the lack of cut scenes was using Sutherland instead of Hayter (a huge mistake) and the cost of using a Hollywood star.

    • Matt

      Most of Sutherlands dialog were on the cassette tapes… a lot of the cutscenes were just him grunting maybe saying a word or two before the camera focusing on another character while BB sits there staring.

    • LordMayhem

      What, do you think MGSV was the first game to ever cast Hollywood talent? Ellen Page was the lead role of Beyond Two Souls, Sean Bean acted as the Deuteragonist of Elder Scrolls IV. Hayden Panetteire has appeared in most Kingdom Hearts games and Until Dawn. And speaking of which, pretty much every single major character in Kingdom Hearts is a Hollywood actor. and there are countless other games that have casted Hollywood talent. And Konami is richer than every one of those companies that funded those games, probably with the exception of Kingdom Hearts since that was backed in part by Disney. This had nothing to do with Sutherland, Kojima decided from the start the main character would be a silent protagonist for the sake of the game’s final “reveal”.

    • MrC

      But the entire premise of beyond 2 souls was using ‘proper’ actors. Not the case with Metal Gear 5 as they already had a voice cast previously and also it is well known that there was major budget and issues with Kojima at Konami.

    • LordMayhem

      The point I was making was just that hiring a Hollywood actor doesn’t automatically break a game’s budget. Many studios have hired Hollywood talent for major roles in much shorter budget than MGSV’s 80 million. Venom Snake was silent throughout MGSV because that’s what Kojima wanted for the game, for better or worse it was a design choice it, had nothing to do with Sutherland costing too much.

    • Nick Bethea

      even then however, most of the phantom pain was voiced by the original cast of people anyway. that and people we’d consider nobodies. sooo argument kinda invalid

    • HDG

      Well then you’re wrong considering Hayter wanted more money than Sutherland
      Kojima made him talk a lot less as a creative choice to have a silent protagonist

  • virtualmatrix

    Using the same generic excuses to cover his a$$. If you didn’t want to work on Metal Gear anymore, you should’ve moved on instead of taking a higher position at Konami, hyping up TPP and giving us the most lackluster MG game ever developed and the most unfinished AAA game I’ve personally ever played. As a 20 year fan of the series I’m still shocked at the “ending” nearly two months after release.

    • Brandon Taylor

      I had to stop playing after I beat the game for 3 weeks. I recently just picked it back up because I’m such a huge fan and I want a 100% completion.

      My MAIN complaint is there is no type of new game plus. I know, I know you can replay the missions, but, it isn’t the same. I wish they would of just given him the money he wanted to work on this project. A happy Kojima makes happy fans. Since he was pissed off during the making of this game, he cut out stuff and gave us this ending. He knew we were going to blame Konami instead of him. As you said, if he was tired of making it, pass it to someone else.

    • Paul Guist

      the thing is he was forced to by konami and fans. he wasn’t even gonna be involved in mgs4 until “fans” kept sending death threats to him and his family.

    • SteeLisPain7

      I might be a bit late on the reply…but no one was forcing him to do it…he was the vice president of Konami.

  • Shawn

    You may have a way of doing things, Kojima, but this was not the right way. We could’ve written our own story even if it hadn’t been a body double, which negates so many well written storylines, like 3, for example. Why not give The Boss a body double, therefore ruining the entire series plotline. It makes no sense, and it’s lazy, in my opinion. Series should’ve ended, how it was promised. Even the trailers depcited scenes that didn’t happen in the end game, like Big Boss’s descent into madness, by depicting his walk down a hallway, his flesh burning, his devil horn growing larger. None of this happens!

    • Chris Reed

      Did you finish the game? I believe, you should look up shining lights, even in death.

    • HDG

      Horn length is a dynamic gameplay feature, not a cutscene
      The hallway walk teaser/trailer was an altered ingame cutscene to allude to plot elements

    • Mr Xrat

      Did you actually manage to take that metaphorical scene and think it was actually going to happen?

    • Nick Bethea

      mmmm nope all of that did actually happened in the game….did you even play it?

  • Basic_information

    the ending was brilliant, most people who disliked it have no understanding of it or did not react very well by the initial shock from the twist and ride with all of the bandwagon. You’re not playing or controlling Big Boss but you’re Big Boss, thats the meaning of it and the twist ties in nicely to the other MGS games even makes sense of events happened later to the era in MGS4 and not only the original MG1 and MG2.

    As a standalone title, MGS5 story on its own merits it’s amazing, ignore the rest of the canon and think about the events in MGS5 and the ending on it’s own merits and you will see that it’s brilliant work for newcomers or fans as a standalone game.

    Connect it with the rest of the canon it’s still great and makes an amazing bridge to the series.

    The only thing that is left and is a bit of a disappointment and it’s not even as big as other people trying to make out of it was not revealing how Big Boss turned to a crazy villain which is kinda frustrating but at the same time its better to let that go as for me I don’t like to see Big Boss as an evil guy after experiencing his story for years as a hero just let your imagination and your own judgement on his transformation to a villain.

    And about the paranoia and hysteria behind mission 51 it’s blown out of proportion and doesn’t change anything or give any closure if anybody seeking that because it’s a side story that doesn’t take on Big Boss’s own story, it’s about what happens to Eli.

    Lastly there was no lack of cutscenes it’s about the length of a MGS1 or 3 and the tapes are countless with huge contents behind them which makes them as long as the aforementioned games in terms if you want to put them against codec calls. players felt that way because MGSV is vastly bigger than any other game in the series and the scenes were far in between missions thats the reason why people felt it’s fewer but it’s not.

    I am also really disappointed in the amount of whining from MGS fans, if you really consider yourself a fan then you’re at least in your mid 20s so reading knee-jerk reactions from a gaming website and reading the article referred to in the beginning of your piece I felt like I am reading something from kid or a teenager and what makes it worse you didn’t even do your research because in that other article it shows that you didn’t even bother to listen to the tapes at all and what makes it even more worse is the comments section everywhere and the impression of the fans is like it’s the truth and fact the ending sucked, there is not even one who really thought about it and what that meant and how it connects with the whole canon.

    • Daniel McCarthy

      Nonsense. We understand it and it could have been good, but it was executed extremely poorly.

      We spent 90% of the game focusing on new story elements (Skullface/parasites) instead of focusing on the story elements that people wanted to be addressed. I’ll give you the whole body double thing, but it doesn’t change the fact that BB is doing all the cool stuff that people wanted to see while Venom is relegated to a side story, so why even introduce Venom?

      The “twist” comes out of nowhere. There was no “trigger” to his realization, it just happens randomly after doing some side ops. Kojima spent so much time on telling Big Boss’ villain arc that his time is up and we’re not going to see that story get told. Instead, we’re given “you are the hero of this story, finish it up yourself”.

      MGSV would have been serviceable, if we were getting MGSVI in the future. We’re not, so it’s going to be judged as a series finale and I don’t believe it can hold up to scrutiny.

    • HDG

      They’re already hiring new staff for the next “Metal Gear” project…

      Kojima wanted the series to finish. Konami didn’t
      That’s why they wouldn’t let him finish the game/tie up the (MANY) loose ends

    • SteeLisPain7

      “The “twist” comes out of nowhere. There was no “trigger” to his realization, it just happens randomly after doing some side ops.”

      I don’t see that as a problem, a plot twist is supposed to come out of nowhere and to be shocking…if it was “properly foreshadowed” it wouldn’t have been a plot twist and people would complain it was “predictable”.

      “We’re not, so it’s going to be judged as a series finale and I don’t believe it can hold up to scrutiny.”

      -Umm…the story’s finale is in MGS4…just because MGSV is the last game doesn’t make it “The series finale” since we all know it’s a prequel.

    • Nick Bethea

      i highly agree. only want to say that the part where they show how he became a huge villain is in the game too. if you remember the quarantine situations and the fact that you can become demon snake if you kill enough. but then again just goes to show you how much kojima covered (which was pretty much 95 percent of everything. lol)

    • SteeLisPain7

      I might be late on a reply here…but I agree with everything you said…the fanbase merly just reacted to the ending…but alot of people simply did not bother doing any analysis and too the story at face value.

      The blew mission 51 out of proportion and blew Chapter 3 out of proportion. Mission 51 was meant to be a post story DLC that didn’t come true…but it doesn’t provide ANY closure to MGSV’s story…Chapter 3’s title card is in the game and it’s called “Peace”…and it was confirmed to be a meta-chapter that you get after achieving Nuclear Disarmament.

      People just wanted a traditional MGS story and just couldn’t handle a change of having an interpretation based story similar to 2001: A Space Odyssey (Which Kojima admitted to have been an inspiration going to MGSV)…Heck the whole “Lack of cutscenes complain” was an over exaggeration…the game has 6 hours of cutscenes…if you compare that to most open world games you’d see that TTP isn’t anything unusual…GTAV had 6 hours of cutscenes…Fallout 3 had like 45 minutes of them….Skyrim had like 50 minutes of them…Fallout 4 has like 5 hours of them, Horizon: Zero Dawn has 6 hours of them….yet you don’t hear people complaining about it…Which really confirms for me that most of the fanbase have heavy nostalgia goggles over their eyes.

      I really wish people would stop whining about cutscene ratio, Mission 51 and MGSV not being like MGS1/MGS3 and start to do some actual analysis of the story.

  • HoldenMcgroin

    felt burn out after defeating sehlanthropus,started chapter 2 ,looked same never played after.

  • Gio

    Point blank period… the game is half assed with an unfinished story line, I’ve played every Metal Gear game, I’ve been a fan since the 80s, if I wanted to make my own story I’d write a book, what kind of lazy explanation is that?, Kojima and Konami hyped the game eough to fool early buyers and thats a damn shame, something I’d expect from anyone but Kojima… if I’d known then what I know now I would have saved my $60.

    Hopefully some one will pick up where Kojima left off and at least try to fix this mess.

    As for the people who are fine with this release, I’m glad some of you like it, and I’m sure konami does too, but don’t insult others by saying we don’t understand the story, because I undestand it clearly and what happened was tha Kojima got himself into a huge undertaking that he (and everyone involved) didn’t know how to handle and so they cut it short, its that simple.

    The game was supposed to be huge and it fell short.

    • HDG

      Before MGS2’s release date no one had any idea who Raiden was and Kojima swapped Raiden with Snake in all the pre release stuff (trailers etc.) Then and now, it was for the ruse (not sales etc.) MGSV pre release stuff was ultimately hyping playing as Big Boss in the game we were expecting, not what we got.

      If you knew the behind the scenes stuff with Konami doing all they could to make life difficult for Kojima and Kojima Productions staff (locking doors, restricting staff internet, cutting power) because they felt Kojima’s perfectionism was costing them way too much money. The reason it didn’t have an ending is so Konami can make more MGS games after firing Kojima (technically not renewing his contract) otherwise the whole series would be wrapped up instead of all the loose ties we have now.

      Do you seriously think Kojima wanted our last time seeing Eli (Liquid) to be him escaping with a Metal Gear and Mantis and just leaving that whole thing unresolved (Mission 51 didn’t resolve anything, just left more questions)

  • A big load of bull$h!t. Hideo was fired because when Konami came knocking about what he was doing with their money, all he had was a Fox Engine. They were so POed they told him to get together whatever he had and get it out the door.

  • Mujushin

    Too many people went in with expectations and when they aren’t met, they consider the creation garbage. I enjoyed playing this game. THe only thing that changed is the way the exposition is handed to you. The tapes replaced lengthy cutscenes. Now you can catch up on cool details while infiltrating a base or doing a mission. Just because I like it doesnt mean that its objectively good but just because some fans don’t like it doesn’t mean the inverse is true either. I choose to see the positive and enjoy playing the game and making my own scenarios. I dont need someone explaining a simple rescue mission with a 40 minute cut
    scene about nanomachines to enjoy it. This game was a reaction to the criticisms of the last game. There’s a flavor for everyone. Some people don like the long exposition in cutscenes and want gameplay over everything.


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