On Feb. 2, Konami started a “Nuclear Disarmament Event” for their 2015 hit video game, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. In the online event, players are given the option to build their own personal nuke in order to deter other players from invading their home base. Ironically, the event also tasks players to invade and disarm other players’ nuclear devices in order to achieve a special, “nuclear free” cut-scene ending, with the condition that it will only play if every nuke on the gaming platform, like PS4, Xbox One, etc. is disarmed. Three months after the beginning of the event, some players believe the event to be impossible, with some fans believing this was Konami’s intention from the start.
In large part, MGS V: TPP players believe the event to be difficult due to Konami investigating the authenticity of every result and the existence of “phantom nukes”. On the PS3 platform, players were able to achieve the final cut-scene on account of the low amount of players on that specific platform. However, Konami redacted the ending from PS3 players after discovering it had be earned through using improper conduct, even resulting in a player being banned. Now, Konami has reportedly made the cutscene to never be able to play again, even if it’s achieved legitimately.
Speculatively, improper conduct was probably used due to the existence of what The Anti-Nuke Gang, a collection of players who study the online event, call phantom nukes. The group discovered that some nuclear weapons do not belong to any players, therefore the weapons cannot be disarmed. With the impossibility of deactivating those nukes, the gang asserts the event’s ending is impossible to realize. The group’s theory is that phantom nukes were made by players who got banned, but their base’s assets, i.e their nuke, remain active for whatever reason.
Players of MGS V: TPP have vastly different interpretations of the online event because of this difficulty and Konami’s reluctance. Due to Konami meticulously examining if the endings are legitimately earned, some believe, like the Anti-Nuke Gang, Konami may have extra content for the game to be unlocked after completion of the event. Some theorize once the ending has been earnestly achieved, a new segment of the story, the speculated “chapter 3” of the game, will become available for players to enjoy. In large part, this theory most likely derives from fans hoping there is more content that Hideo Kojima, the creator and visionary of the Metal Gear Solid series, had planned before departing from Konami right after the release of MGS V: TPP.
Other fans believe that Konami, mostly Kojima, had purposefully planned for the event to be “impossible”, or extremely unlikely, to accomplish in order to represent the reality of a nuclear-free world. There is more credence to this presumption given that the series is most famously known for its nuance and allegories on complex, real-world issues. Considering the nature of the event, where players create nukes to protect themselves, but want to disarm opponents’, it clearly resembles the nuclear disarmament discussion in real geopolitical spheres seen today. Furthermore, the phantom nukes in the event could possibly represent countries reserving hidden nukes, meaning the world will most likely never be truly disarmed of nuclear weapons.