Metal Gear’s Big Boss story in a nutshell

Dozens of pages could be written about the complex storyline of Metal Gear, but I have dumbed it down so even a snake could understand it. 

The Metal Gear series is one of the longest running video game franchises in history. Created by legendary developer Hideo Kojima, the original game released in 1987.

Metal Gear is known for pioneering stealth gameplay and its extremely complex story.


To catch everyone up before playing recently released “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain,” here are the most relevant points from the franchise.

‘Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater’

It is 1964, the height of the Cold War and the famous U.S. war hero known only as “The Boss” defects to the Soviet Union with two nuclear weapons.

Her protege Snake — an elite soldier — attempts to stop her, but fails. In the process, renegade Soviet Col. Yevgeny Volgin uses one of the nuclear weapons to destroy a Soviet research lab.

The Soviet Union blames the U.S. for the attack because of The Boss’s involvement, and threatens nuclear war in retaliation. The only way to make amends is for the U.S. to stop Volgin’s insurrection and kill The Boss.

Snake is sent back to the Soviet Union, thwarts Volgin’s plot and overcoming his emotional attachment, he kills The Boss.


After the mission is complete, Eva, an agent Snake met on the mission, reveals the original objective of these events was to acquire the Philosopher’s Legacy — a huge sum of money amassed by wealthy citizens from various countries. The Boss was sent to retrieve it, but because Volgin used the bomb, the mission was changed. Despite her loyalty to the USA, The Boss had to take the blame for her country, sacrifice herself and forever be labeled a traitor and monster.

Even with Snake’s successful mission and being awarded the title of “Big Boss” by his government, killing his mentor and tarnishing her name for the country did not sit well with him. Because of this, he retired from the military and disavowed his new title.

The Philosopher’s Legacy winds up in the hands of Zero — Snake’s previous commander. Zero recruits Big Boss to create an organization called the Patriots with the goal of creating a better world.

Unfortunately, Snake and Zero do not share the same vision and their relationship is strained, so Big Boss leaves the organization.

‘Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker’

By 1974, Snake had created his own personal army for hire called the Militaires Sans Frontieres, or Soldiers Without Borders.

Snake is approached by a teenage girl named Paz and a KGB agent Vladimir Zadornov. They are hired to remove a rogue CIA group from Costa Rica, but only after Snake hears a year-old tape with The Boss’s voice.

Zadornov also gives an abandoned offshore oil rig to Snake for his army to use as a mother base.

During the course of the mission, Snake learns the voice is actually an artificial intelligence using The Boss’s superior logic as the brain for a nuclear-equipped, walking tank called a Peace Walker, or a Metal Gear.

Snake meets Peace Walker’s designer, a man named Huey Emmerich, who leaves the rogue CIA group to join Snake’s army and create a Metal Gear for him.

The head of the rogue CIA group is a man named Hot Coldman, who plans to use the Peace Walker as a nuclear deterrent by launching a strike himself.

Snake is only able to stop the threat after The Boss’s AI sinks itself in a nearby lake. Because of this, Snake realizes when The Boss chose to sacrifice herself in 1964, she was giving up her life as a soldier. As something Snake could never do, it removes Snake’s emotional ties to the Boss.

In the aftermath of these events, Snake readopts his Big Boss title and plans for his own military organization called Outer Heaven.

Meanwhile, Emmerich has developed a Metal Gear for Big Boss, but the vehicle is stolen by Paz, who reveals she was actually an agent of Zero’s organization Cypher.

Snake stops Paz, but she is lost at sea from the vehicle’s explosion.

‘Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes’

Paz is later found by a unknown U.S. agency and tortured for information.

At the same time, the U.N. announces they will be inspecting Big Boss’s base for nuclear weapons.

Because Paz has information that could threaten his army, Big Boss mounts a successful rescue operation.

Upon returning to mother base for the inspection, he finds out the inspection was just a ruse and the shadowy organization behind Paz’s torture was actually attacking his base.

Escaping with a few survivors, Snake can only watch as his home is destroyed.

To make matters worse, it is revealed Paz, who is on board the same helicopter as Snake, had bombs planted inside of her. Paz jumps from the helicopter, the bombs go off in close proximity to the helicopter and everyone on board is either killed or grievously wounded.

“Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” starts with Big Boss waking from a coma nine years later.