I think a line spoken to Meryl in the first of the MGS saga best summarises what we have seen in the "Solid" story so far: "The reality is no match for the legend".
More than just being different characters, I think the tales of Snake and Big Boss also fit into the catagories of The Legend and The Reality. By the end of Solid Snake's arc (MGS, MGS 2, MGS 4), we see Kojima has gone to great lengths to explain virtually everything that could possibly have been construed as supernatural (Mind Control, Telekinesis, A soul taking over another person, Hallucinations, and so on). This represents the "real", and even things that might not have needed an explanation have been tied up and fit into our world.. usually at some point involving nano machines.
In contrast, I feel the Naked Snake/Big Boss story arc (MGS 3, MGS: PO, MGS: PW, MGS V?) has, most of the time, almost gone out of it's way NOT to explain these events (The Boss' stitching flowing over her body like a Snake, the sudden change of colour of flowers following her death, Snake's "Boss Fight" with The Sorrow). I think the game indirectly hints at this by giving, not a Game Over screen, but a Time Paradox screen, occasionally even with Campbell telling you off for causing a time paradox. To me, it points to the idea that what we are seeing are not events that have actually happened, but rather a representation of those events. The legends passed down from one person to another; distilled as an interactive experience (either that we control directly, or that "someone" is experiencing as a VR mission).
I believe that the story/theme of Metal Gear Solid V is all about what happens when both of these "worlds" collide. Zero didn't just want another soldier, but an idol for the next generation. You could even take it further and say it's also about the battle of "Faith" versus "Facts"; is having an explanation for everything always the most suitable way to go forward? People lie about their loved ones to save them from the truth and to prevent harm (e.g. Snake lying to Naomi about Grey Fox's last words at the end of MGS). Conversely, has blind faith always led humanity down the best roads?
I believe this idea fits nicely with the fear of an "always on" society, and also the idea of information control from MGS2. Is what we see really the truth? Or is it censored to show someone elses truth? The gear on Snake's back from the phantom pain also suggests interference from Psycho Mantis. Could those shackles represent the same kind of control as the puppet strings from MGS4? Could this whole experience be Big Boss rejecting these implanted memories? Or this be the conclusion of a social experiment, like Raiden's story in MGS2, from Kojima to us to decide what is actually real?
(Originally posted at http://mygazbook.blogspot.c... )