Big Boss is an influential character from the Metal Gear franchise. He is viewed as a legend by all those who came after him. Before he earned the title of Big Boss however, he was known as Naked Snake.
He is the main protagonist of Metal Gear Solid 3, Portable Ops, Peace Walker, and Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.
He has been voiced by both David Hayter and Richard Doyle. He is voiced and motion capped by Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland in Metal Gear Solid V.
John's (Jack to his close friends) military career goes back to 1950 in his US Army days and during the Korean War. Whilst serving, John went under the tutelage of The Boss. Four years later, John was rendered sterile during the testing of an airborne detonated hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll. Whilst under The Boss's apprenticeship she educated him in the fields of combat, weaponry, espionage, survival, demolition and tactics. Together the two also developed CQC (Close Quarters Combat) before going their separate ways in 1959.
Two years later, John enlisted into the Green Berets where he served with Python in Vietnam. The two became close, with John even saying that Python was one man that he could always trust in battle. Together they were involved in a classified mission, where Python was shot and presumed dead. In was then in 1964, that John was recruited by the freshly formed FOX unit.
John was assigned to the Virtuous Mission at the beginning of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. He was given the codename Naked Snake, to signify the fact that he was entering with hardly any equipment and everything was strictly procure on site; in other words, he was completely naked. His primary objective was to recover Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov, a Soviet scientist who wished to defect to the US once again.
His secondary objective was to remain undetected, his presence in Soviet territory would cause an international crisis if exposed. To accomplish his mission, Snake performed the world's first HALO (High Altitude-Low Opening) Jump and successfully infiltrated Tselionyarsk undetected. Whilst there, he was introduced to his support team by Major Zero (currently operating under the codename Major Tom), consisting of Zero, Para-Medic and unknown to Snake, The Boss.
Snake made his way through the forest around KGB guards and eventually arrived in Rassavet. He eventually reached the remains of a factory where Sokolov was being held captive. Sokolov then told Snake about Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin, who was preparing to take Sokolov, along with his weapon.
As Snake and Sokolov are then ambushed by KGB operatives and surrounded, the KGB are in turn ambushed by the a rogue GRU faction, the Ocelot Unit, who are intent on capturing Sokolov for Volgin. When insulted by the unit commander, Ocelot himself, Snake then engages and disables the whole unit with nothing more than CQC and a tranquilizer gun, leaving Commander Ocelot's ego severely bruised in the process. Sokolov and Snake then escape from the facility.
Upon reaching the rope bridge back to Tselinoyarsk, Sokolov pointed out his most recent weapon and the reason Volgin was after him; the Shagohod, a tank capable of launching nuclear ICBMs. Halfway across the bridge, they meet The Boss, where they discover she has defected to the Soviet Union. Sokolov is then captured by the Cobra Unit. The Boss explains that Sokolov and two Davy Crockett missiles (portable nuclear shells) are her gifts to Colonel Volgin for allowing her to join his side.
Volgin himself then appeared and ordered The Boss to kill Snake, as he now knew what Volgin looked like. She then engages him in CQC, breaking his arm and throwing him off the bridge, knowing he would survive. Before he falls Snake grabs The Boss' bandana from her hair.
Snake survives and tended to his wounds with Para-Medic giving him instruction. Meanwhile, Colonel Volgin fires one of the Davy Crocketts at the OKB-754 research facility, destroying it.
As Snake finishes tending to his injuries, the plane he arrived in drops a Fulton Recovery Balloon for him in order to evacuate. However, the presence of the aircraft in Soviet airspace incriminates the FOX Unit and the United States for the nuclear destruction of the research facility.
Although Snake goes back to the facility where he first found Sokolov, it is now abandoned. He has come back here to meet with his contact, codenamed ADAM. ADAM is a NSA codebreaker who was in the USSR. Another codebreaker, codenamed EVA had also defected. After a while, Snake goes back outside and is ambushed by guards. He was rescued by a female on a bike, who later identified herself as EVA. Furthermore, she offered Snake intel and equipment. Although Snake had not met ADAM, it appeared as if he had met the other codebreaker, EVA.
After resting the night, Snake was once again ambushed, this time by the Ocelot Unit being led by Revolver Ocelot. Ocelot takes EVA hostage, but forgets that he only has six shots in his revolver. Snake manages to overpower him, and Snake and EVA escape.
Snake continues on through Tselinoyarsk, eventually fighting and defeating various members of The Boss's Cobra Unit; The Pain, The Fear, The End and The Fury. He also came across Aleksandr Leonovitch Granin, who had the original prototype designs for Metal Gear.
Eventually he reaches Groznyj Grad, and in order to rescue Sokolov he must disguise himself as GRU Officer Ivan Raidenovitch Raikov. However, the rescue attempt fails as Volgin sees through his disguise and beats Snake unconscious and kills Sokolov.
Snake is captured by the enemy. During this time, he is brutally tortured by Volgin. At one point during the torture, Ocelot accidentally blinds Snake in his right eye by firing his revolver next to Snake's eye.
Snake managed to escape from capture. He eventually jumps into a river to avoid getting caught by Ocelot, nearly drowning himself. It is during this near-death experience he has an encounter with a deceased Cobra Unit member, The Sorrow.
After having barely survived this encounter, he reunites with EVA, who gave him back his equipment, C3 explosives to use on the Shagohod facility, and an eye-patch.
He then returned to Groznyi Grad, and reached the facility where the Shagohod was being developed. He rigged the building with C3 explosives and destroyed it, but not before fighting Volgin in a one-on-one fight. After defeating Volgin, Volgin takes control of the Shagohod and chases Snake. This ends with Snake disabling the Shagohod with RPG's and finally killing Volgin.
As Snake is leaving the area, he has a final encounter with The Boss in a field of white flowers in Rokovoj Berg. Snake reluctantly fights, and, after a long battle, defeats her. Naked Snake then finishes his mission by shooting her.
For his heroic actions during Operation Snake Eater, Naked Snake is awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the title of Big Boss by U.S President Lyndon Johnson.
However, just prior to this, EVA had told Big Boss that everything, including The Boss's defection, was a set up by the Government to avoid taking blame for a nuclear attack, and to get The Philosophers' Legacy. This along with being forced to kill his mentor, left Big Boss distraught. He lost his patriotism for his country, and eventually retired from FOX.
Some time after Metal Gear Solid 3's conclusion, Naked Snake (not yet reffering to himself as Big Boss) encountered Frank Jager during the Mozambican War of Independence in 1966. Shortly afterwards in 1970, the FOX unit, led by Gene, staged a revolt and took over a base in South America known as La Peninsula de los Muertos (The Penninsula of the Dead). Snake was taken prisoner by FOX member Cunningham, who proceeded to interrogate him as to find out the whereabouts of the missing half of The Philosophers' Legacy.
Big Boss managed to escape the prison with the help of a captured Green Beret named Roy Campbell, and tried to contact Para-medic and Sigint about leaving the island, but they warned him that the US would not let Big Boss return to America until he could prove that he was not the leader of the FOX Unit's rebellion. So Big Boss and Campbell slowly built up an army using members of the FOX unit they captured and persuaded to come to their side.
Eventually, they discovered that Sokolov was also brought to the island to help Gene use a Metal Gear. Big Boss gathered his forces and prepared to strike Gene and the new Metal Gear, even fighting his old comrade "Python" and an experimental soldier nicknamed "Null." He managed to defeat them, but was captured by Cunningham and interrogated by Gene.
Later, Big Boss was freed by Elisa and went to destroy the Metal Gear, but after destroying it Sokolov revealed that it was merely a test model. On top of that, Gene used his psychic powers to turn Big Boss's troops against each other. However, a soldier named Johnathan sacrificed himself to snap the units back to normal.
After another fight with Null, Big Boss faced Gene one last time, where he revealed that Operation Snake Eater was set up by one man but won't tell Snake who that man is. The two then fought each other to determine who would be the true successor to The Boss. When Snake emerged victorious, Gene handed him his half of the Philosophers Legacy and begged him to keep the dream alive, to create a place where soldiers would be welcome, free from the demands of any country or government.
Residing in Colombia after the events of Portable Ops, Big Boss met Kazuhira Miller and the two of them formed a group of stateless soldiers known as MSF (Militaires Sans Frontieres, AKA "Soldiers Without Borders.") One rainy night he was approached by a man calling himself Professor Ramon Galvez Mena and his student Paz. He told Big Boss/Naked Snake and Miller that the CIA had invaded the peaceful island of Costa Rica with an army completely under the radar for some unknown purpose, and wants the MSF to drive them out of his country. Snake believes that the Professor is an agent of the KGB, and refuses to become a pawn of the Soviets. However, Mena reveals that Paz taped a conversation between two women: an unidentified woman with an English accent, and what sounds like The Boss. Snake suddenly decides to help, in part to help Paz bring peace to Costa Rica, and in part to find out if his mentor somehow survived.
After Mena's KGB handlers loan MSF an abandoned offshore platform to use as a base (later called "Mother Base"), Snake leads the MSF to slowly liberate the people of Costa Rica from "la CIA." First he makes contact with a group of refugee Sandanistas who fled Nicaragua after the Somoza government drove them out, and learns about the strange mechanical monsters that have been terrorizing the land.
Then while trying to track down American nuclear missiles, he discovers the roboticist Huey Emmerich and the Peace Walker project, along with the former CIA Director Hot Coldman. While Coldman is leading a CIA-backed mercenary outfit, he is also trying to create "the perfect deterrent" that would involve launching a nuclear missile to show the Soviets what will happen before they launch one of their own. After Snake destroys an AI-controlled tank in the facility, Huey decides to join Big Boss and the MSF to stop his own creations, and directs Snake to hit a AI-research facility in some old ruins.
Snake manages to infiltrate the facility after rescuing a French ornothologist, but then discovers a woman nicknamed Dr. Strangelove, who blames him for killing The Boss in cold blood. Apparently, she had been designing the AI for Peace Walker based off The Boss's memories, but was still mystified as to why she would let Snake kill her. Snake can't bring himself to destroy the AI, and ends up being attacked by an AI-controlled VTOL craft.
The MSF pick up the trail of the AI pod near some more ruins, and after a battle with a gigantic AI-controlled weapons platform, Snake infiltrates the base. Unfortunately, before he can destroy the AI, Coldman captures him and Strangelove tortures him for more information. Even though Snake escapes, Peace Walker's AI has been completed thanks to Snake's lack of an answer during the torture session. Coldman reveals that he plans to feed Peace Walker fake data that will make it launch a nuclear strike on Mother Base. Snake manages to damage Peace Walker outside the facility, but the machine transforms and begins to roll out across the ocean, to a US missile base in Nicaragua.
Snake infiltrates the missile base, but discovers Russian soldiers mixed in with the CIA mercenaries. Just as he fights his way to the Control Room, Coldman's troops hold him at gunpoint again. But then the Professor from before pulls a double-cross, revealing himself as a KGB agent named Vladimir Zadornov, and holds Coldman hostage. He plans to redirect Peace Walker to launch its nuke at Cuba in order to piss off the rest of South America and align them with the Soviets, and on top of that he will kill Snake to make him a legendary figure like "El Che." However, the MSF forces led by Amanda and Chico bust in and save everyone.
Just as it seems disaster was avoided, Snake discovers that Coldman used his last breath to activate Peace Walker, while transmitting a fake Soviet nuclear strike to NORAD, so that even if Peace Walker dies, NORAD will think the Soviets are nuking America and will test his theory on nuclear retaliation. Snake fires every last bullet he can at Peace Walker, but it won't stop transmitting the fake data. However, The Boss's AI somehow decides that drowning Peace Walker in the ocean will save the world from a nuclear Holocaust, and so Peace Walker limps into the ocean to save everyone.
However, all is not yet right, as Paz later turns out to be a triple-agent, known as Agent Pacifica, who tries to get Big Boss to rejoin Zero as a member of the Patriots. When Boss refuses, Paz hijacks Metal Gear ZEKE and then tries to use it to launch a nuclear missile at the East Coast of the USA to turn the MSF into a pariah. However, Boss destroys the Metal Gear, sending Paz to the bottom of the ocean.
In 1975, as MSF's power continued to grow, Big Boss and Kaz received word that Paz survived the battle at Mother Base and was being held in a secret US prison camp off the southern tip of Cuba. MSF volunteer Chico decided to rescue her himself, but ended up being captured and held in the same facility.
As luck would have it, the United Nations pushed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect Mother Base and determine if its true nuclear capabilities fell under the Non-Proliferation Treaty the very same night that Snake decided to rescue both Chico and Paz from the prison camp. Big Boss infiltrated the CIA black site "Camp Omega" at Guantanamo Bay and rescued Chico, then Paz, and returned to Mother Base, but not before removing a bomb that was surgically implanted inside her.
Unfortunately, the inspection turned out to be a ruse. The secretive XOF unit disguised themselves as the inspection team and then proceeded to destroy Mother Base once they were inside. Big Boss tried to rescue Kaz and as many people as he could, but Paz revealed that there was a second bomb inside her. She jumped out of the helicopter shortly before it exploded, a medic tried to shield Big Boss from the explosion, but the explosion was close enough that Big Boss fell into a coma.
While Big Boss was in a coma, Zero came up with a plan to hide Big Boss from the world when he awoke, by turning one of MSF's best men, the medic who shielded Big Boss from the explosion 9 years ago, into Big Boss' "Phantom" and act as a decoy. The medic was given plastic surgery and hypnotherapy to have him possess the real Big Boss' memories and to make him believe that he was the real Big Boss. The medic would then be known as Punished "Venom" Snake.
When Big Boss awoke in 1984, knowing that the whole world would want him dead, he decided to go along with Zero's plan and use Venom Snake as a decoy while he went into hiding. Venom Snake awoke not long after, and Big Boss, now disguised as another patient and calling himself "Ishmael", helped Venom escape the hospital, which came under attack by XOF forces.
They managed to escape the hospital and hijack an ambulance, but eventually crashing after being shot by a helicopter and knocked unconscious. After the crash, Big Boss awoke first and was dragged out of the ambulance by Ocelot while Venom was still unconscious.
Big Boss then removed his bandages, and was given clothes, an eye-patch and a bike by Ocelot, who told him that Venom believes himself to be the true Big Boss, and would be fine with this new title. Venom Snake would be furthering the legend of Big Boss while the real one could be conducting his own operations and create the real Outer Heaven in secret.
Sometime later, he sent a tape to Venom Snake labeled "From The Man Who Sold The World", in it he thanks Venom Snake, stating that because of him, he was able to cheat death. Big Boss called Venom a friend, and stated that they both had created the legend of Big Boss, and with it, they could change the world.
Operation Intrude N312/N313 (Metal Gear)
Big Boss soon returned to the US, where he took command of the legendary FOXHOUND unit. A couple of soldiers he trained included Frank Jaeger (under the name Gray Fox) and a Green Beret named David, a genetic "son" of Big Boss who would later be called "Solid Snake."
In 1995, US intelligence discovered that forces within Outer Heaven were developing a new Metal Gear, and asked FOXHOUND to infiltrate the base and destroy it. Big Boss secretly tried to stall for time so that the kidnapped Dr. Madnar could finish working on the new Metal Gear model, so he commissioned "Operation Intrude N312" and sent out Gray Fox, but he was captured due to Big Boss's setup.
US intelligence insisted he try again, and Big Boss decided to put the second mission in the hands of FOXHOUND's least experienced member: Solid Snake. Sending him on "Operation Intrude N313," Big Boss expected that the Outer Heaven forces would either capture or kill Solid Snake before he ever got close. Big Boss sent a tape to Venom Snake, informing him of this mission.
Unfortunately for him, Snake managed to infiltrate the base, kill some of the veteran soldiers inside, and even destroy the Metal Gear TX-55 before it was completely finished. Big Boss then sent Venom Snake to kill Solid Snake. Venom Snake, acting as Big Boss, revealed that he was the one trying to sabotage his mission, even hitting the self destruct button for Outer Heaven. Solid Snake managed to kill Venom Snake in one-on-one combat, and escape the destruction of Outer Heaven before it exploded.
Big Boss then rallied the nearby survivors of Outer Heaven and fled to central Asia, where he planned his next move.
Shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, several satellite nations and border territories broke away from the Russian Federation, and struggled with internal conflicts. One of these places, known as the "Zanzibar Province," was embroiled in a war of mercenary vs. mercenary. However, Big Boss's own mercenary unit managed to bring peace to the land. Zanzibar Province was re-named Zanzibar Land, and Big Boss became its President. Big Boss enlisted the help of Dr. Madnar, willingly this time, to help him build a new Metal Gear model called the Metal Gear D and deter future attacks against him or his people. In response, the US sent Solid Snake back into the field to destroy Big Boss and his new Metal Gear.
Solid Snake fought his way through Zanzibar land, destroying the Metal Gear D thanks to a design flaw and then defeating Gray Fox in hand-to-hand combat. Eventually, Big Boss confronted the supposedly unarmed Solid Snake, hoping to defeat him for good. He claimed that soldiers were useless outside of the battlefield, and could not survive without the meaning that conflict brought. He then tried to kill his son, but Solid Snake managed to dodge his bullets and retaliated with a makeshift flamethrower consisting of a lacquer spray and a lighter, burning Big Boss alive.
After the conflict ended, the Patriots recovered his body, badly burnt but still alive. They injected Big Boss with nanomachines to preserve his body and threw him into cryogenic stasis, but not until they collected a sample of his DNA to use in the genes of next-generation soldiers (including the ones Solid Snake would face in Metal Gear Solid).
After being burned alive at the end of Metal Gear 2, Big Boss was not seen by Solid Snake for the next 15 years. Naomi revealed that Big Boss was in fact alive in Metal Gear Solid 4.
At one point in the game, when Snake makes his way to an Eastern European church, a woman codenamed Big Mama reveals that she has held on to his remains in a van, barely being kept alive by nanomachines, but a series of events led to his body being burned by Liquid Ocelot later in the game.
At the game's conclusion, Big Boss makes a surprise appearance when Old Snake tries to commit suicide. Snake is shocked to see Big Boss alive and draws his weapon on him. Big Boss quickly disarms him with CQC. Embracing him with a fatherly hug, he tells Snake that he feels no hatred between them. Big Boss reveals to him that the body that was burned was actually that of Solidus, whose remains was used as a decoy to fool The Patriots.
Big Boss had been awoken from his coma after the FOXALIVE Virus was uploaded to GW, which also revealed the location of Zero. With Big Boss fully revived, he tracked down Zero and brought him to Arlington National Cemetery.
Now in a vegetative state, Zero was dependent on life support and confined to a wheel chair. Big Boss proceeded to elaborate on the conflict between Zero and himself to Snake, and stated that although there was bad blood between them, he wondered if Zero actually hated him or feared him. Big Boss then killed Zero by switching off his air supply machine, finally ending their conflict.
Before his death, Big Boss crawls to the grave of The Boss, and expresses his pain to Snake. After finally having made peace with his son, as a final request, he tells him to not waste the time he has left fighting, and to live his final days in peace. He regrets having killed The Boss in 1964, and confesses that the actions he took after Operation Snake Eater were wrong.
At the grave of The Boss, he says; "Boss, you were right. It's not about changing the world. It's about doing our best to leave the world the way it is. It's about respecting the will of others and believing in your own... Isn't that what you fought for? At last, I understand the meaning behind what you did. At last I understand the truth behind your courage...".Finally understanding The Boss's will, he then salutes her grave one last time.
After a brief monologue he collapses, lights a cigar with the help of Snake, and dies peacefully. His last words are; "This is good, isn't it?"
Big Boss' death signs the end of the Metal Gear Saga. He was the original Snake, the only co-founder of The Patriots who was still alive, and every villain in the series since his death (Liquid, Solidus, and Ocelot) were all influenced by his ideals. The entire series was connected with Big Boss in some way or another. When Big Boss died, all of his sins went away.
Naked Snake/Big Boss (English) Voice Actors
David Hayter - Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, MGS: Portable Ops
Richard Doyle - Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Kiefer Sutherland - Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes