Why Ocelot Acts Differently in MGS V

Progeny of The Boss, anarchist agent of the Patriots, manipulative torturer, and one of Venom Snake’s closest advisors – Adamska A.K.A. Shalashaka A.K.A. Revolver Ocelot has been many things to many people. Having spent most of his life as a triple-agent Ocelot knows how to put on different faces. This is why I get so confused when I see complaints about his characterization in The Phantom Pain.

In past games, he’s this c***y extravagant a****** that is always pulling strings in the shadows, taunting his enemies, and is always in the center of attention in all 4 games. In 5, he’s so serious and grounded. What the f*** is this s***? >_>

The above quote highlights a few of the traits we’ve seen over time, but to get a sense of Ocelot’s character we should look at his past appearances.

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Metal Gear Solid:

Revolver Ocelot appears to be the elderly gunslinger of Fox Hound. He tortures high ranking officials (and Solid Snake), sets up elaborate C4 traps, and loses his hand to a cyber ninja. He was always in on Liquid Snake’s plotting, but appears to have a greater allegiance to Mother Russia. Not much to read on his character in this appearance.

Metal Gear Solid 2:

Ocelot appears to have been taken over by Liquid Snake’s personality after having the deceased’s hand surgically grafted to his arm. He steals a new Metal Gear in the opening act, betrays the Russians he had been working with, and downs a tanker full of Marines. We then see Liquid Ocelot ally with the terrorist group “Dead Cell” and crash the massive Arsenal Gear in Manhattan. He’s older and crazier.

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Metal Gear Solid 3:

Ocelot appears as a member of GRU (Russian Intelligence). He does a few random things that seem to further the goals of Naked Snake’s enemies and has this weird rivalry thing going on with Snake at the same time. From start to finish the vibe between them is both antagonistic and friendly. He comes off like a cocky ass, but he’s also just a baby.

Metal Gear Solid 4: 

Having abandoned Ocelot’s previous character traits entirely in favour of being a Liquid Snake doppleganger, our favourite triple threat has become a modern day super villain. He is positioned as the big bad of MSG4 and the game’s conclusion kicks off with an epic fisty-cuff fight between him and Old (Solid) Snake. We don’t really get a glimpse at his old personality until he’s on the brink of death where he tells you “you’re pretty good.”

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I brought up his previous appearances in the franchise to illustrate something important: context. Especially in an irregular, postmodern game series like Metal Gear Solid context is everything.

Metal Gear Solid:

Ocelot is working for the President of the United States to bring down an organization which has been pulling the strings of politics, controlling the flow of news information, and creating the military-industrial complex known as “The Patriots.” With that goal in mind, Ocelot manipulated Liquid Snake into starting an insurrection on Shadow Moses.

Metal Gear Solid 2:

Ocelot sells the Metal Gear REX data for war funds to rebell against The Patriots, helps the former President go into hiding, and at some point graphs Liquids arm to his stump – using a combination of drugs, psychotherapy, hypnosis, and nanomachines to fool The Patriots into believing that he had actually become a different person. Ocelot then forms The Sons of Liberty with Dead Cell and Solidus Snake (the former President) to take down an AI system that is controlling all of the data on the internet on The Patriot’s benefit. Responsible for yet another insurrection, he was successful in loosening this illusive group’s control on the world.

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Metal Gear Solid 3: 

Ocelot was ordered by the CIA to assist Naked Snake in his operations. EVA gets in the way of his attempt to aide snake and he has to pretend to be an antagonist, but he does help Naked Snake out towards the conclusion. They have some friendly duels, ultimately ending with a game of Russian Roulette in which neither of them dies. Meeting someone of Big Boss’ caliber fundamentally changed the way Ocelot looked at the world.

Metal Gear Solid 4:

Liquid Ocelot uses his massive funds to insight yet a final insurrection — this time with the aim of dismantling The Patriots’ network in its entirety. He creates an army out of five largest existing private military companies. Yes, he put up barriers for Snake, but he knew that our hero would overcome all of them. He manipulated Snake into destroying the AI network that was running the Patriots and made it clear to Snake that Zero was still alive. Had he not been pulling string against the Patriots global politics, war, and the economy would still be under their sway.

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Ocelot is a hero of the franchise. He comes off as a villain because he has to. It is a front. That’s how espionage works. His poor mother gave everything she had — including her reputation — to the country she loved, only to have her will blocked by a secret hand that pulled the strings of the world.

He isn’t just a loyal friend of the Big Boss — Ocelot is the liberator the world needed. The Phantom Pain is the only time he didn’t have to front. There was no grand scheme or subterfuge and it doesn’t make sense that he would be an ass to Venom Snake given his relationship to Big Boss.

He still does the torture thing. He still points at other characters like he’s holding revolvers. He still doesn’t care much for people who aren’t Snake.

Ocelot is the same dude that he’s always been. We’re just seeing a different side.

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