A hidden cutscene in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain finally triggered in the game late last week. Fans found it years ago, and surmised that it was only to be shown if all of the nuclear weapons in the game were disarmed. However, there are still thousands of nukes present in the game. Developer Konami admits that something has gone wrong, at least on PC, and is seeking a resolution.
“The nuclear disarmament event was triggered in the Steam version of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain on Feb 2nd at approximately 12:00 GMT,” Konami said in a statement provided on Twitter. “We are still investigating, but can confirm that the event was triggered while the nuke count hadn’t reached zero.”
The Metal Gear series, the brainchild of designer Hideo Kojima, has long had a staunchly anti-nuclear message. After the game was launched, warring factions of players spent years online alternately building and disarming nuclear weapons. The latest update, issued by Konami’s Japanese Twitter account, puts the number of weapons down slightly as of Sept. 1 at 9,864. The Xbox One had the lowest number of nukes, with just 205, while PlayStation 4 had 1,855.
Curiously, the announcement comes amidst a sudden spike in public interest in nuclear proliferation.
On Jan. 30, during his state of the union address, United States President Donald Trump called on Congress to allow the military to “modernize and rebuild” its nuclear arsenal. Just a few days prior the so-called “doomsday clock,” a visual metaphor that symbolizes the real-world risk of nuclear war, was moved up 30 seconds. It now stands at two minutes to midnight, the closest it has been since the 1950s.
In the nuclear disarmament cutscene, the The Phantom Pain’s cast of characters stands before a statue celebrating nuclear disarmament. The inscription on that statue reads, “As of this day, the nuclear flame set alight on the plains of Alamogordo in July of 1945 have been extinguished. [...] Here lies proof of the virtue of a mother as validated by her sons.” Later, the cutscene flashes a quote from former President Barack Obama, delivered in the Czech Republic in 2009.
“Our efforts to contain these dangers are centered on a global non-proliferation regime,” Obama said, “but as more people and nations break the rules, we could reach the point where the center cannot hold.”
Meanwhile, on Reddit, fans of The Phantom Pain are bemoaning the fact that the in-game nuclear disarmament meta game doesn’t really seem to be working. There’s some hand-wringing, to be sure, about man’s virtual inhumanity to man but also some valid concerns about the stability of the game itself, first released in late 2015.
“Honestly, it pisses me off,” said a user who goes by the handle Kwehpot. “They couldn’t bother to ACTUALLY fix disarmament so we could achieve it ourselves, instead opting to go the easy route and do it themselves.”