After two-and-a-half-years, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain on PC has finally unlocked a hidden cutscene celebrating complete nuclear disarmament. This has been a semi-secret community challenge, waiting for players to destroy all nukes built by players in the game's 'Forward Operating Base' multiplayer invasion mode. However! In a very Metal Gear-y conspiracy theory twist, it seems that celebrations are premature, because Konami say that the event was triggered when the nuke counter was not at zero. We're celebrating peace while thousands of nukes are still unaccounted for. If you load MGS V now you can see the cutscene, or watch it here:
I always forget I have that great clubhouse flag.
Nuclear weapons are part of the game's FOB invasion mode, items that players can build which restrict who can invade your clubhouse and boost your base's stats. But when players do invade, they can yoink your nukes then disarm them. They're relatively minor in the scheme of things--something you can play the game without ever encountering--but removing nukes has given players a task to work towards.
We've known about the disarmament cutscene since 2015 but it's been a long, long fight towards achieving it. Players have organised in places like the Metal Gear Anti Nuclear forum on Reddit, set up a disarmament hitlist, kept an unofficial chart of progress, and generally tried to fight the rising nuclear tide. This hasn't been helped by a number of known and suspected cheats and glitches for getting and keeping nukes, which Konami have been slow to counter at times.
Here it gets very Metal Gear-ish with conspiracy theories. When they noticed the nuke count on PC starting to fall at great speed, some players suspected Konami were fiddling the numbers to wrap MGSV up in time for the February launch of survival spin-off Metal Gear Survive. Others suspected a kind-hearted hacker was somehow disarming nukes. Konami themselves say they don't know what's going on.
"We are still investigating, but can confirm that the event was triggered while the nuke count hadn't reached zero," Konami said in a tweet on Sunday. Sounds like the dastardly machinations of the La-li-lu-le-lo to me.
"We would like to apologize for the inconvenience and reassure you that we will investigate the matter as well as take the necessary action to avoid this in the future," Konami added.
This all feels even more fitting for the times, when disinformation is rife and world leaders are casually tossing around threats of global thermonuclear extinction. For a kooky bag of jargon, Metal Gear is often oddly prescient.