The Metal Gear solid series has always had strong undertones about the threat of nuclear proliferation. Metal Gear Solid V takes that message to a new level by integrating an in-game metagame that unlocks a new story cinematic once all players have disarmed their in-game nuclear arsenals.
Nuclear weapons are a powerful force in MGSV‘s Forward Operating Base side-game, which allows players to build a personal army and arsenal that can be used to invade and loot fellow players online. The nuclear bombs act as a deterrent against an invasion by other players, unless the invading force also has a nuclear weapon or has achieved hero status through tireless do-gooders.
The nature of that in-game arms race led to tens of thousands of in-game nukes being deployed on the game’s servers as of November 1, according to Konami’s official tally. But players also have reasons to reverse that trend. As Konami officially announced recently, a “Secret Nuclear Disarmament Event” will only be triggered for all players when “All nuclear weapons on the regional server corresponding to your console or platform must be decommissioned. In other words, the amount of nuclear weapons on your server of the platform must be equal to 0.”
There were some clues to this “secret” event before. Tinkerers managed to find a hidden cutscene announcing global disarmament buried in the game’s code soon after it came out, though no one was sure how to trigger the scene (there were theories, of course). The disarming event was also covered in the official hardcover guide to the game, published by Piggyback.
However, the effort to disarm has taken on a new urgency in recent days, as Konami has begun publishing regular updates on the size of the game’s nuclear stockpile. on his Twitter feed. Since yesterday, console players are all but wiped out, with less than 200 guns remaining per platform (the numbers quoted by Konami appear to be global counts, so regional counts could hit zero even sooner). PC players have a longer way to go; the nuclear arsenal on Steam has dropped from over 36,000 on November 1 to just over 11,000 yesterday.
There are already organized efforts to reduce those numbers to zero. Groups like Reddit’s Metal Gear Philanthropy have banded together to invade other players’ bases to steal and disarm their bombs. On the trollier side of the equation, a group called Metal Gear Patriots are working to get as many nukes on those servers as possible, stealing nukes back from the philanthropists to protect them.
While the community has made admirable progress on disarmament so far, achieving full disarmament may prove difficult. In fact, on the Xbox One, Konami’s nukes have jumped from 40 to 52 in recent days. It’ll be interesting to see how the numbers continue to fluctuate as Konami pays more attention to this intriguing little metagame.