We also see Skull Face in the prologue Ground Zeroes as part of a process of metabolization of madness by the protagonist

Being a huge fan of the saga, I have watched the latest Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain trailer thousands of times. Without any obsession or sensationalism, simply in my opinion something wasn’t working properly in there.

Hideo Kojima has always made up his trailers so that they could anticipate something that was going to be confirmed by the next. At E3 2015, we have seen the last official trailer for the game, so for every question or doubt remained unsolved we’ll have to wait and see what happens on September, 1.

When I saw the trailer one last time, I noticed something strange: try and see the trailer from 4.30 to 5.00: in those thirty seconds, something more valuable than the entire 5.00 min + trailer happens.

Venom Snake gives his back to the Metal Gear Zeke, in the distance you can see Ocelot from Diamond Dogs, the camera makes a 180 degree turn around Snake. Behind him, there’s nothing, only other soldiers looking at the machine – the Metal Gear – and, in the precise moment when the camera fixes its view on the protagonist, he turns his back and looks at Skull Face while he is saying hello putting his hat on. Basically, he appeared from the nowhere, and a few seconds earlier we could hear the phrase “Phantoms Breed Destruction”.

Skull Face doesn’t exist, he is simply the specular image of what John, Big Boss, Venom Snake, Punished Snake or Saladin is becoming. It’s a sort of double personality that fights to contradict Major Zero’s ideal, an ideal of extreme order contradicted itself by the French of the villain in the phrase “sans lingua franca”.

Need a passage?

That French is not put there for mistake, as France is the homeland of freedom and people’s power after the revolutions that accompanied us from ‘80s to our days.

In the logic of meta video game shaped by Kojima from the controversial and outstanding Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, we also see Skull Face in the prologue Ground Zeroes as part of a process of metabolization of madness by the protagonist. He needs to create a mean to get to its opposite Major Zero - the gamer / viewer sees it, in fact, while Big Boss never sees him, does not speak - Huey, the father of Otacon, becomes the scapegoat.

So in a alignment à la Nietzsche, we could also speculate that Skull Face is what for him is the direct opposite to the intentions of Zero, "his" part, the one that for extremism, the opposite in fact, he tries to suppress. What if the same Big Boss had designed the attack on Mother Base? If he had consciously or unconsciously created the pretext for this bloody war?

I believe that Skull Face is the ultimate pretext found by Kojima to justify the "descent into hell" of our protagonist, a pretext which frankly we needed to justify the rewriting of years only assumed in the saga.

Basically Skull Face has never appeared in any chapter and, before him, the only exception was the manipulated Raiden, just a marginal character, a pawn, someone you weren’t supposed to love or cry for. A victim, yet another in the style of Japanese game designer and director.

Skull Face in a view from behind.

Skull Face instead has primary importance, is the conditioning of the same protagonist, something more human and at the same time brutal and selective when it comes to human survival. Survival because even our protagonist can justify the violent acts committed against his Diamond Dogs (the soldiers he killed at the end of last year’s trailer were wearing the uniform of his team).

Metal Gear Solid V is getting Metal Gear Solid 5, reaching the complexity of writing that was a seminal part of the previous work in the saga. And this is an answer for all of those who were accusing the game to seriously lack in terms of storyline.

The concept of the doppelganger has always been clear and explicit in the rhetoric of Kojima: Liquid is the doppelganger of Solid, Liquid Ocelot, Solidus of Big Boss and, apparently Skull Face is the real doppelganger evolution of Big Boss: Venom/Punished Snake.

Ah! Don’t say that Skull Face was tying his shoes in that scene and therefore he was down on the ground, since he has python boots without laces (the python is a snake, Snake in fact), so there was nothing to tie…

Translated by Paolo Sirio