The twin Snakes.
Big Boss was in a coma when he was cloned.
Fact: The original Japanese script for Metal Gear Solid only states that
he simply was sterile.
By Ravi Singh
Posted on July 30, 2011
There are a few times when Metal Gear fans read a myth article I have written
and scoff at how it is possible that anyone who calls themselves a Metal Gear fan
(or in fewer cases, anyone simply familiar with the Metal Gear series) can believe
such a myth. A simple internet search reveals that it is possible, with causes ranging
from intellectual laziness, the acceptance of rumors as fact, or simple stupidity.
This however is a myth that even the most religious of fans could believe. After
all, it is a myth that originates from an official, canon and uncontested Metal
Often, it's easy to forget that the Metal Gear series is Japanese. A grand majority
of the characters are American, American foreign policy plays a huge part, and only
occasionally does anything Japanese come into play. Maybe the original Metal
Gear for the MSX felt Japanese due to the horrific translation job. Metal
Gear Solid was an entirely different story though, and arguably remains as the
best localized title in the series.
Of course, mistakes are bound to happen in what was then a lengthy script for
a video game. When people talk about Big Boss being in a coma during the Les Enfant
Terribles project, they are talking about this line from Liquid Snake during his
angsty rant on top of Metal Gear REX.
Liquid Snake: But father was wounded in combat and already in a
coma when they brought him in. So they created us from his cells...
with a combination of 20th century analog cloning and the Super
There is plenty of speculation of this coma among fans especially when taking
the alleged "missing link" between Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and
Metal Gear into consideration. However, the two "links," Metal Gear Solid:
Portable Ops and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker take place two years
before and after the Les Enfant Terribles project, respectfully, and the circumstances
surrounding the coma itself are not explored. Well, that's because there was no
coma, at least according to the original Japanese script.
Liquid Snake: だが親父は戦場
I sent this segment of the Japanese script to Marc Laidlaw from from
Junker HQ, known for translating
the Metal Gear Solid 2 Game Plan and Policenauts. Marc translated
it as such:
Liquid Snake: But an injury father sustained in combat left him
sterile. So they created us from his cells... with a combination
of 20th century analog cloning and the Super Baby Method.
Big Boss manages to survive exposure to radiation during the Bikini
Atoll testing... and once again during the Virtuous Mission.
This actually makes more sense when you think about it. Comatose males can actually
have sperm extracted from them. Usually the issue in these cases isn't the inability
of extraction, but rather, the consent of the patient. Even if we try to stay in
1998 and forget about the revelation in later titles that the cloning was done without
Big Boss' approval, we know that consent was not an issue since they ended up
cloning Big Boss anyways. So really, the whole thing about the coma makes no
sense when discussing the mission to get Big Boss' offspring.
What the injury itself was, is not 100% clear. It's assumed that Big Boss became
sterile due to his exposure to radiation during the Castle Bravo detonation at Bikini
Atoll in 1954. This is revealed in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. I wouldn't
necessarily call being at a base during peace time as "combat" though (no offense
to anyone who had the misfortune of being there), so who knows. More importantly,
who knows if Hideo Kojima even really thought of what injury specifically led to
Big Boss being unable to bear children. Like with many things in the series, he
may have not planned it.
As for why the whole coma thing was added in the first place, we will probably
never know as we're talking about a single line in a game that was released over
ten years ago. It's possible that something within the notes provided to the translator
made Big Boss being in a coma make sense and flow better. Maybe it was to prevent
the brutal images of how exactly Big Boss became sterile from a wartime injury from popping
in the minds of players as it was not until Snake Eater that nuclear radiation
exposure was hinted at. It should be noted though that despite the changes made to
the script for Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes in order to be a more direct
translation of the Japanese script, this specific line from Liquid Snake remains