For months, there have been rumblings of discord between video game publisher Konami and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain director Hideo Kojima. First Kojima’s name, one of the most respected in the industry, was scrubbed from the game’s packaging, and now the popular opinion seems to be that once The Phantom Pain is a completely done deal, Kojima will pack up and leave the company where he’s worked for decades, meaning someone else would be tasked with carrying on the legacy of Metal Gear, a franchise so ground-breaking and successful it literally changed the industry.
But none of this drama seems to have adversely affected The Phantom Pain’s development, as advance reviews of the title have been glowing. And perhaps even more baffling is that even as this might be the end of an era, the series has in no way lost its sense of humor, as seen in this bizarre yet emotional Metal Gear Solid V TV commercial starring an about-to-be-wed bride and groom, dressed in their finest Metal Gear-style cardboard boxes.
The ad opens to the sounds of church bells and heavenly strings. The doors to the chapel open, and in steps Saki, with her father walking her down the aisle.
Well, duck-walking her down the aisle, to be precise.
Yes, for this special occasion, Saki and her father are both decked out in a Metal Gear soldier’s best friend: the cardboard box.
Her friends gush over how beautiful she looks, with her veil and tiara, and we see at the alter that the groom, Kenji, has chosen a similar outfit.
▼ How romantic!
After the pair seals their vows with a kiss, things pick up at their elegant reception. Just like in America, it’s customary for the newlyweds to feed each other their first bite of the wedding cake.
As is customary in Japan, there’s a speech from the M.C. explaining how the bride and groom became acquainted. “They met through Metal Gear Solid,” she informs the guests, “and Kenji fell in love with Saki at first sight.” There’s also a slide show in which we see pictures from Saki’s childhood.
▼ Including her teen years, when she dabbled in gyaru fashion trends like frosted white lipstick.
And, as always in Japan, the reception wraps up with the bride and groom reading a letter of thanks to their parents, who cared for and raised them. As Saki begins to speak, her father is visibly moved.
▼ Apparently poor Saki’s mom didn’t get her cardboard box back from the dry cleaners in time for the wedding, so she had to wear a kimono instead.
Her voice trembling with emotion, Saki reads:
“In my 28 years, I’ve learned many things from my Papa and Metal Gear Solid. The guts to never give up, no matter what the situation. The humor to make everyone have a good time. And, most of all, gentleness.”
Oh, so Saki is 28? That makes her the same age as the Metal Gear series!
“But there’s something they still haven’t taught me.
The greatest mystery of Metal Gear.”
See, Metal Gear Solid V’s protagonist, Snake, is the same character who was presented as the arch-villain in the very first Metal Gear, released in 1987. He was even the game’s last boss. While we’ve seen The Phantom Pain’s Snake slip gradually further into disillusionment and start to thirst for revenge, we still haven’t seen what pushes him over the line from hero to villain. That seems to be what the commercial is promising to tell us, after 28 long years.
But dads know everything right? Surely, on this special day, Saki’s father will clue her in on just what turns the Snake of Metal Gear Solid V into the notorious Big Boss of the original Metal Gear, right?
No, he won’t. Saki is all grown up now, and since she’s leaving the nest, it’s time for her to start having those important experiences with her new life partner.
▼ “Saki, please unravel that mystery with Kenji.”
“Papa!” Saki sobs, and even Kenji is so moved by the gesture that he bursts out of his box, shouting, “Father!” As the assembled well-wishers witness this touching scene, there isn’t a dry eye in the house…except for the waiter.
▼ “The heck is going on here?”
There’s also a condensed version of the ad that ends with Saki’s father declaring “It looks like it’s time I told you,” and features a cameo by some of the most loved inanimate stars of the franchise.
You know, if The Phantom Pain really is the end of the line for Metal Gear, I don’t know which I’m going to miss more: the games, or the crazy marketing.