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Villains Wiki
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Villain Overview

We have no nation, no philosophy, no ideology. We go where we're needed, fighting not for country, not for government, but for ourselves. We need no reason to fight. We fight because we are needed. We will be the deterrent for those with no other recourse. We are soldiers without borders, our purpose defined by the era we live in.
~ Big Boss in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.
This is good...isn't it?
~ Big Boss's last words.

Big Boss is the code name given to John, a FOXHOUND agent and the central character of the Metal Gear series of video games, as well as the series' initial protagonist (chronologically).

He is the main antagonist of the original Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake and later the protagonist of the prequels, from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater to Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. He also made a guest appearance at the end of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and is a pivotal character in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

He was voiced by David Hayter (who also voices Solid Snake) in the prequels, excluding Metal Gear Solid V, where he was voiced and motion captured by Kiefer Sutherland (who also played David in The Lost Boys, John Merrill in Stand By Me, Freddie Lee Cobb in A Time to Kill, Bob Wolverton in Freeway, The Caller in Phonebooth, Bosco in Marmaduke, and Senator Quintas Corvus in Pompeii). In Metal Gear Solid 4, he was voiced by Richard Doyle, who also voiced The Fury in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.



Big Boss was originally depicted in Metal Gear as the leader of FOXHOUND, and the commander of Solid Snake, before revealing he was actually also the leader of Outer Heaven, and the game's main antagonist. (It would later be revealed the final boss of the game was actually his "phantom", Venom Snake.) While presumed dead at the the end of the game, a post credits sequence revealed his survival, and he returns as main antagonist of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. Here, he lays out his motivations to create a world of perpetual warfare, but is defeated and seemingly killed by Snake.

As revealed in Metal Gear Solid series, it is revealed that his DNA was forcefully cloned by his former CO, Major Zero. These sons include Solid Snake, Liquid Snake, and Soldius Snake. Both Liquid and Solidus attempted to carry out Big Boss' will (Liquid out of being scorned, Solidus out of respect). Zero's response to Big Boss' departure of his organization is still viewing Big Boss as an irreplaceable friend.

In a collection of prequels, starting with Metal Gear 3: Snake Eater, and continuing with Metal Gear: Portable Ops, Metal Gear: Peace Walker and Metal Gear Solid V, Big Boss serves as the protagonist, and his slow slide into villainy is depicted. While depicted heroically in Metal Gear 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear: Portable Ops, while serving under the codename Naked Snake, he begins taking darker methods throughout the events of Metal Gear: Peace Walker, and Metal Gear Solid V has him solidify his turn to darkness. This led to the creation of Outer Heaven and FOXHOUND, which also led to the beginning of the Metal Gear series.

It is revealed that he wanted to create a world where soldiers are not treated like political tools, and actually valued, being The Boss' aforementioned vision. He aided the faction (with great risk), that first attempted to kill him (The Outer Heaven resistance group) from the NATO Bombing, he was so highly regarded that Revolver Ocelot did everything to remember Big Boss. Big Boss' motives behind his actions stemmed from a strong guilt after learning that his killing of The Boss was the direct result of a fake defection gone awry, and then learning that her death had in fact been orchestrated from the beginning. However, his interpretation of her will, which saw her as just as a soldier rather than a person, led to Big Boss wishing to plunge the world into eternal war. It took witnessing the Patriots create a world of war without end to make him realize his mistake.


Early Life

John (nicknamed Jack) was born in 1935, and joined the military in the 1950s, fighting in the Korean War. Jack met The Boss, becoming her protégé and disciple, and she taught him extensive combat, weaponry, survival, espionage, destruction, psychology, and foreign languages. In addition, Jack and The Boss later developed CQC (close quarter combat), which became a famous combat style.

Through the experience, Jack hold The Boss in high regard, viewing her as a mentor and parental figure in his life. In 1954, Jack was involved in the Bikini Atoll test of the first airborne detonation of the hydrogen bomb, and didn't develop the symptoms like his most of his friends, but was rendered sterile. On June 12, 1959, Jack and The Boss parted ways, and would meet again years later in Snake Eater.

In 1961, Jack was sent on covert operations during the early stages of the Vietnam War, and met and befriended Python. He later stated that Python was one of the few soldiers he could rely on during battles, and the two played poker together. The two were later involved in a mission where Python was shot and presumed dead.

Before 1964, Jack served in the Green Berets for several years, and became an experienced sniper in urban and marine environments. Also, Jack would eat snakes during previous survival training exercises, which would became useful during his future missions. Around this time, Jack was awarded various medals and commendations, including the Army Achievement Ribbon, the Good Conduct Ribbon, Defense Distinguished Service Ribbon, Korean Service Ribbon, the Distinguished Service Cross Ribbon, possibly the Vietnam Service Ribbon, and many others.

Naked Snake

Snake Eater

As revealed Metal Gear Solid 3, John was originally a young FOX (a subdivision of the CIA) soldier and spy under the codename Naked Snake. He was sent to assassinate his former mentor and spiritual mother, The Boss, in order to prevent nuclear conflict between Russia and the United States. After executing said task, as well as single-handedly taking down Colonel Volgin and the Cobra Unit, he was left cold, unpatriotic, and bitter, having intense guilt and a burning urge to complete The Boss' original vision.

Portable Ops

Naked Snake continued to use his original codename instead of "Big Boss", and FOX was considered rogue due to several members starting a revolt in San Hieronymo. Snake was branded a traitor by the Department of Defense, and was imprisoned since they believed he led the revolt. He managed to escape with the assistance of the Green Beret, Roy Campbell, and fought against the revolt alongside Para-Medic and Donald Anderson. Snake also met Frank Jaeger, who would become a close ally of his, and battled his old friend Python. During the course of his operations, Naked Snake defeated Gene, and managed to clear his name while learning that Boss's death was planned.

Peace Walker

Naked Snake formed Militaires Sans Frontières ("Soldiers Without Borders"), a mercenary group that he stationed at the Coast of Columbia, where he met Ramon Galvez Mena and Paz Ortega Andrade. Ramon wanted Snake to stop the invasion of Peace Sentinel, but boss initially refused until he heard the Boss's voice from a message. Naked Snake started to work with Amanda Valenciano Libre to fight against Peace Sentinel, and recruited the mechanical engineer, Huey Emmerich, into the MSF. During his operations, Snake learned that the Boss's voice was actually a AI program, and that Ramon used him so the Soviet Union could conquer Central America. When Hot Coldman launched Peace Walker after the machine made it to Nicaragua, Snake was forced to stop it to prevent a nuclear war.

After stopping Peace Walker, Snake believed that this demonstrated that the Boss abandoned him and her ideals by "putting down her gun", and thus decided to take the title of "Big Boss". While Metal Gear ZEKE was being completed from salvaged AI parts, Big Boss deduced that there was a spy within the MSF, and learned that Paz was secretly an agent of Cipher. She was stopped from using ZEKE to start war by launching a missile on the East Coast, but Big Boss believed she survived. Afterward, Kaz confessed to being a partner of Cipher, but Big Boss forgave him and allowed him to hold his position in MSF.

Metal Gear Solid V

Ground Zeroes

Still leading MSF, Big Boss became suspicious of Paz's survival, which was confirmed after Paz was revealed to be imprisoned in Camp Omega. Boss originally wanted to eliminate Paz due to her of knowledge of MSF, but had to change his plan after Chico was captured and revealed their location. Big Boss decided to infiltrate the camp with only the assistance of Morpho and his combat medic, and managed to rescue Chico before focusing on finding Paz. After finding her, Boss returned to the chopper and had his medic perform surgery to remove a bomb in her abdomen.

Returning to Mother Base, Big Boss found it under attack by XOF forces, and helped Kaz and several soldiers extract on helicopters. Escaping from the base, Big Boss witnessed Kaz attempt to interrogate Paz before she jumped out of the helicopter since she had a second bomb in her abdomen. Boss suffered little injuries due to the medic taking most of the blast, and the helicopter crashed into another. Big Boss, Kaz and the medic were the only survivors of the incident, and were taken to a hospital where they were treated by doctors and nurses. Boss fell into a coma due to his injuries while Kaz were able to recover, but the medic was placed into a artificially induced coma for nine years.

The Phantom Pain

After awakening in 1984, Big Boss was briefed on how the world changed in his absence. After discovering the plan to create a duplicate of him to act as a decoy, and take his place of the world stage until he was ready, Boss agreed to this plan. On 11th March, weeks after "Ahab" had awakened, and XOF beginning their attack on the hospital, Big Boss made his move. Posing as "Ishmael", he saved Venom from a female assassin, and claimed to be an ally who had "watched over him for the last nine years". During the escape Ishmael and Ahab encountered Tretij Rebenok and the Man on Fire. The hospital was then raided by a XOF strike force, and Ishmael saved Ahab from the XOF soldiers. While hiding among dead doctors and patients, they were caught by a XOF squad who were distracted and killed by the Man on Fire. Ishmael realized the Man on Fire's weakness, and shot the sprinklers, causing him to disappear. Ishmael and Snake recovered firearms from the dead XOF soldiers, and fought their way through the hospital.

Making their way to the entrance hall, Ishmael separated from Ahab to distract the soldiers, allowing Ahab to escape. After making it outside, Ishmael commandeered an ambulance and used it to run over the Man on Fire to save Ahab. Ishmael drove Ahab in the ambulance, evading XOF soldiers, but he was knocked unconscious after taking a shot from a helicopter. Subsequently crashing into a river bank, Ishmael recovered first and was pulled from the vehicle by Ocelot, leaving the unconscious Ahab. Ocelot returned to the base area to meet with Big Boss, who discarded the Ishmael role, and received a motorcycle from his ally. Ocelot then gave Big Boss a U.S. passport and told him to go by the name in said passport and advised him to change his face, so he could secretly return to the US. Big Boss mused on the medic being his "phantom", before Ocelot assured him Ahab could handle it. After parting ways, Big Boss began his long term plan to create his new military nation: Outer Heaven. He used Venom Snake and his mercenary company Diamond Dogs to further the legend of his own name while working in secret. Sometime after Venom Snake regained his memories, Big Boss sent a cassette tape to Venom Snake, labelled "From the Man Who Sold the World," which revealed the truth, thanking Venom for his part in the deception.

Metal Gear

In 1995, the USA learned of Metal Gear's development in Outer Heaven As the leader of FOXHOUND with Venom Snake leading Outer Heaven, Big Boss commissioned FOXHOUND to infiltrate Outer Heaven and destroy the weapon before anyone else so he could buy Venom Snake time to finish the TX-55 Metal Gear. Big Boss sent rookie agent Solid Snake to save Gray Fox from Outer Heaven, and destroy the Metal Gear. Big Boss acted as intel for Snake during this mission, but Snake proved to be far more competent than he realised, leading him to feed Snake false information. Approaching the end of the journey, Snake discovered that Big Boss was secretly the leader of the very group who triggered the mission. He killed Venom Snake, unaware that this was Big Boss's "phantom", and destroyed the Metal Gear, with Outer Heaven being destroyed by self destruct. Big Boss used Venom Snake's death to fool the world into believing he was dead, and vowed revenge on Solid Snake.

Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake

Near the end of the 1990s, Big Boss was heading a mercenary force, referred to as the children of Zanzibar Land, and recruited Gray Fox to his cause. He had Metal Gear D created to ensure Zanzibar's success, but was forced to focus on Solid Snake after he infiltrated his base in 1999. Though Big Boss had the advantage against Solid Snake, Gray Fox was defeated and Metal Gear D was ultimately destroyed. Boss then confronted Solid Snake in the underground base, quoting his late mentor before engaging in combat against his former subordinate. During the battle, Big Boss was defeated by Solid Snake using a flamethrower, falling to the ground with severe burns. Despite his defeat, Big Boss survived the incident, being placed into a induced coma by the Patriots via the use of nanomachines.

Metal Gear Solid

Big Boss's clone, Liquid Snake, became bitter towards his "brother" Solid, as Liquid wanted to personally get revenge on their "father". He would become the leader of FOXHOUND and launched an insurrection at Shadow Moses, as he was convinced by Revolver Ocelot to do so. During the incident, Liquid revealed to Solid Snake that they were clones of Big Boss, and that he wants to get revenge on his "brother" for taking his chance to kill the legendary hero. Solid Snake managed to defeat Liquid, who succumbed to the FOXDIE virus.

Guns of the Patriots

Around 2014, Big Boss was put back together with some of Solidus Snake's body parts, and awoke from his coma upon the destruction of the Patriots' system. After awakening, Big Boss decided to hunt down Major Zero, and found him in a vegetative state. Seeing that the Patriots was at an end, Boss traveled to Arlington cemetery along with Zero, where he saw Solid Snake attempting to commit suicide. Big Boss revealed himself to Snake, and after a brief confrontation, explained how he returned and the situation revolving around Liquid Snake. He then explained what happened between him and Zero, before killing his former ally by turning off his life support. Feeling the symptoms of FOXDIE, Big Boss, at the grave of the Boss, apologised to her, admitting that he was wrong about her will, saluting her one last time. After telling Snake that he should the rest of his life not on the battlefield, Big Boss peacefully passed away besides the Boss's grave.

Other Appearances

Super Smash Bros.

Big Boss appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as a sticker that increases the frequency and catch rate of using a Trophy Stand on an enemy. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Big Boss appears as a legendary grab type primary spirit that deals more damage to metal enemies, obtainable by enhancing the Naked Snake spirit.


You're pretty good.
~ Naked Snake to Ocelot, foreshadowing the latter's famous catchphrase.
You won't find it without making sacrifices. No offense, but I don't know what peace is. Never felt what it's like. Never even been interested in it.
~ Snake to Paz.
Now do you remember? Who you are? What you were meant to do? I cheated death, thanks to you. And thanks to you I've left my mark. You have too – you've written your own history. You’re your own man. I'm Big Boss, and you are too… No… He’s the two of us. Together. Where we are today? We built it. This story – this “legend” – it’s ours. We can change the world – and with it, the future. I am you, and you are me. Carry that with you, wherever you go. Thank you... my friend. From here on out, you’re Big Boss.
~ Big Boss on the cassette tape to Venom Snake.
The nightmares? They never go away, Snake. Once you've been on the battlefield, tasted the exhilaration, the tension... it all becomes part of you. Once you've awakened the warrior within... it never sleeps again. You crave ever bigger tensions, ever bigger thrills. As a mercenary, I'd think you would have realized that by now. You care nothing for power, or money, or even sex. The only thing that satisfies your cravings is war! All I've done is give you a place for it. I've given you a reason to live.
~ Big Boss to Solid Snake in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake.
Everything has its beginning. But doesn't start at "one." It starts long before that, in chaos. The world is born... from zero. The moment zero becomes one is the moment the world springs to life. One becomes two, two becomes ten, ten becomes 100. Taking it all back to one solves nothing. So long as Zero remains, one... will eventually grow to 100 again. And so our goal was to erase Zero. Even the mighty Patriots began with a single man. That one man's desires grew huge, bloated; absorbed technology; began to manipulate the economy. We realized too late that we had created a beast. We had helped turn Zero into 100. His sin... was ours. And for that reason, I'm taking it upon myself to send Zero... back to nothing ... 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 ... Zero and I... Liquid and Solidus... We all fought a long, bloody war for our liberty to free ourselves from systems, nations, norms and ages, but no matter how hard we fought, the only liberty we found was on the inside, trapped within those limits... The Boss and I may have taken different paths but in the end, we were both trapped inside the same cage... "Liberty." But you have been given freedom. Freedom to be... Outside.
~ Big Boss.
I never thought of you as a son, but I always respected you as a soldier... and as a man.
~ Big Boss to Solid Snake.


  • He is the first character in the series to appear as the protagonist and the main antagonist in different games.
  • Metal Gear Solid V was advertised as the moment Big Boss truly became evil. While he is not the protagonist of The Phantom Pain, it does reveal his worst sin in brainwashing a loyal member of his own men into his proxy, Venom Snake. This callous manipulation, which eventually led to Venom's death, is the exact sin that disillusioned him to the government in Snake Eater, proving his ultimate hypocrisy.

External Link


           Metal Gear Logo.png Villains

The Philosophers
Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin (Leader) | Major Ocelot | Naked Snake | Cobra Unit (The Fury | The End | The Fear | The Pain)

Naked Snake | Gene | Null | Cunningham | Elisa & Ursula | Python

The Patriots
Zero (Leader) | Revolver Ocelot | Big Boss | Pacifica Ocean | Skull Face | Solidus Snake | Fatman | Olga Gurlukovich | The Colonel

Peace Sentinel
Hot Coldman (Leader)| Ramon Galvez Mena | Huey Emmerich

Skull Face (Leader) | "Skulls" Parasite Unit | Man on Fire | Tretij Rebenok

Outer Heaven
Big Boss (NES Ver.)| Frank Jaeger | Shotmaker | Machinegun Kid | Bloody Brad | Fire Trooper | Dirty Duck

Zanzibar Land
Big Boss (Leader) | Gray Fox | Black Ninja | Running Man | Red Blaster | Four Horsemen | Jungle Evil | Night Fright

Sons of Big Boss
Liquid Snake (Leader) | Decoy Octopus | Revolver Ocelot | Psycho Mantis | Vulcan Raven | Sniper Wolf

Sons of Liberty
Solidus Snake (Leader) | Dead Cell (Fortune, Fatman & Vamp)

Liquid Ocelot's Outer Heaven
Liquid Ocelot (Leader) | Vamp | Gekkos | Haven Troopers | Beauty and the Beast Unit (Screaming Mantis/Psycho Mantis, Crying Wolf, Raging Raven & Laughing Octopus)

Desperado Enforcement LLC
Senator Armstrong (De-Facto Leader) | Khamsin | Samuel Rodrigues | Mistral | Monsoon | Sundowner

Lord of Dust | Gear REX | Mosquito | Silent Mastodon | Huey Emmerich | Sergei Ivanovich