I don't particularly understand the supposed "real ending" that happens between Mission 45 & Mission 46.

Big Boss is shown to die, but it is shown that we are somehow the medic the entire time. This is supposedly different from the fake ending that shows Skullface.

Could someone explain the real ending of MGS:V Phantom Pain to me? How do we know which one is the true ending, and how does it tie up with the other games (as this supposedly predates MGS 3 and the other games).

  • I get your asking for an explanation, but there is no question here, just a request.
    – user106385
    Sep 2, 2015 at 2:29
  • 5
    @Timelord64 Uh, did you read the title?
    – childe
    Sep 2, 2015 at 3:35
  • I've read both titles, now. Both seem to say the same thing; "I dont understand the ending", but putting a question mark at the end of a statement does not make it a question. What is it, exactly, that you do not understand about the ending? Can you provide reasons that things would conflict, or otherwise not make sense? So far, all this question has is a spoiler, a statement that you do not understand it, a request to explain the ending, and the questions "how do we know this is the true ending? / how does this tie up with the other games?".
    – user106385
    Sep 2, 2015 at 3:51

3 Answers 3


To my understanding the entire thing is a plan orchestrated by Big Boss.

He wakes up from his coma, and people find out wanting him dead. He disguises himself as Ishmael, and has the medic that took the brunt of the helicopter crash in "Ground Zero" "transformed" into a look alike or decoy. Ironically the medic was also in a coma for nine years.

He then takes it a step farther and has everyone convince this decoy or "phantom" as the game calls him, that he is in fact the real Big Boss. The reasoning is because Big Boss wants Outer Heaven to be a nation, and can acquire this goal with a "phantom" easier...

The Phantom goes on to making an Outer Heaven base in Africa (the setting of the original Metal Gear game for MSX) while the real Big Boss creates a base in Zanzibar (the setting of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake). The Phantom is the Big Boss that Solid Snake fights and I guess kills in the first game, explaining why Big Boss was alive in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake.

  • Eh, which one is it at the end of MGS4? I do believe it's the real one. But that doesn't explain which one was MGS2's.
    – Kilazur
    Sep 12, 2015 at 16:56
  • 5
    @Kilazur. The one in MGS 4 is the real one (he has no horn), while the one in MGS 2 is Solidus Snake, a third clone of Big Boss. Incidentally, Solidus is the corpse that burned in MGS 4, which was believed to be Big Boss.
    – Nolonar
    Oct 4, 2015 at 21:22
  • I didn't get the feeling that the real Big Boss wanted to decoy to think that he was actually Big Boss, he seemed to just want him to convincingly play the part. I remember a scene at the end where the decoy is standing in front of a mirror, listening to a recording, presumably by the real Big Boss, which tells him something along the lines of "You're Big Boss now", and the decoy smiles. That strikes me as a "go along with" intent, instead of an attempt to convince him that he's someone besides who he thinks he is. Feb 23, 2016 at 18:40
  • It should noted that Zero actually orchestrated the plan to create a "Phantom" Big Boss as explained in the tapes you receive after completing the mission. He recruited Ocelot and Kaz stating that he didn't expect Skull Face's betrayal and didn't intend to hurt Big Boss in this way. Mar 18, 2016 at 13:44

Spoiler for MG1, 2, MGS4, 5 (as, all the game I will talk about)

  • MGS5: Ground Zero (1975), Skull face attack Mother Base, Big Boss is put into coma, as is the Medic.

  • Between GZ and TPP: Big boss understand he draw too much attention, between Cypher and Skullface, to be able to create Outer Heaven. He need someone to take the spotlight and draw attention away from him until he is ready. The Medic, still comatose, is transformed into his sosie to that end. The Medic really believe he is Naked Snake/Big Boss.

  • MGS5: The Phantom Pain (1984): You, "Phantom" Big Boss, awaken, and go to fight Skullface. If you are really attentive, you can catch some hint about the truth, Venom Snake wear his pants and eyepatch differently than Naked Snake. At the very end of the epilogue (Mission 51: The Truth), the flash in the mirror show you in Outer Haven, during MG1, to confirm that.

  • MG1 (1995): "Phantom" Big Boss is killed by Solid Snake.

  • MG2 (1999): Real Big Boss create Outer Heaven in Zanzibar Land, and is put into coma as revealed in MGS4.

  • MGS4 (2014): EVA and Ocelot (ADAM), have protected the comatose Big Boss from the out of control Cypher, and used Liquid's and Solidus's corpse to repair Big Boss's body. The comatose corpse you see burned by Ocelot is the rest of Solidus's body. Real Big Boss appear at the end, take out Zero, and wish Solid Snake to live a normal life, exempt from the "bunch of old fools's folly".

Hope it resume better the event's of MGS :)

  • Now Im cofussed. This mean MGS5 Is a prequel of MG1 ? Im big fan of the game, but dont keep record of the history and long gaps between games. So not sure what you mean Jan 28, 2016 at 15:32
  • @JuanCarlosOropeza: Yes it is, I ve added the year of the start of the plot in my answer if it can help you.
    – DrakaSAN
    Jan 28, 2016 at 20:07
  • Yes, that help, Looks like I miss a few games, will need to catch up. Jan 28, 2016 at 20:36
  • Now when in Phantom Pain they accuse the guy on mechanical legs to bring the bad guys to mother base, when was that? I tought was MGS4, but now I realize I miss a different a MGS5 and GZ - TPP. Jan 28, 2016 at 20:40
  • It s in TPP, at the end of Huey Emmerich (Otacon's father) story arc. But that would be another question to explain how and why he got expelled in such manner
    – DrakaSAN
    Jan 28, 2016 at 20:42

I personally enjoy the plot twist..in a sense, we the player is the medic therefore is big boss..therefore is the big boss who created outer heaven..and we eventually become Solid Snake who will kill Big boss phantom..i think what hideo kojima is trying to say is that we are all big bosses.. we are here playing phantom pain while the real big boss is somewhere else is Zanibar land.. the twist is not that we're playing as the medic but rather ourselves..

it makes sense to the MGS universe too because in metal gear 1..big boss command Solid snake to kill big boss near the end and that was the story we (thought) we knew all this time..but it turns out we killed big boss phantom

  • Sadly, the game eludes that question. Who is the Big Boss we see in the other MGS games? No definite answers yet. My two cents is that the real Big Boss only appears at the end of MGS4.
    – Kilazur
    Sep 12, 2015 at 16:55
  • @Kilazur: Real Big Boss is fought in Metal Gear 2, Phantom is killed at the end of Metal Gear 1, as hinted by the end of the prologue.
    – DrakaSAN
    Jan 28, 2016 at 20:43
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    @Kilazur At the end of MGS5 there is a timeline where it explicitly states that the Phantom is the antagonist in MG1, and that Big Boss is in MG2 and MGS4. There is a definitive answer.
    – Tom Bowen
    Feb 23, 2016 at 17:05

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