James Johnson was the 44th President of the United States, serving during the time of the Big Shell Incident. He was the successor of George Sears.


Early life and career

Describing himself as an insignificant son of a senator, Johnson was selected by the Patriots to become the 44th President of the United States and George Sears' successor, after he pledged his loyalty to the organization. Johnson ascended to the Presidency after Sears was removed from office, following the Shadow Moses Incident.

U.S. Presidency

During his Presidency, Johnson was little more than a pawn for the Patriots. Under their orders, he initiated programs in Space Defense and National Missile Defense, also making reductions in income tax. Due to his policies, Johnson was re-elected as President, though again, this was merely a charade played by the Patriots. During his presidency, he also authorized and initiated the development of a purified hydrogen bomb,[1] and also pledged to close down the Guantanamo Bay prison facility in Cuba in 2008.

The Manhattan Incident

See also: Tanker Incident and the Big Shell Incident

In April 2009, President Johnson visited the offshore cleanup facility Big Shell as part of an inspection tour, along with numerous other government and business VIPs. However, the facility was taken over by armed terrorists led by Solidus Snake and Dead Cell, and Johnson was immediately captured.

During a rescue attempt by SEAL Team 10, Johnson was successfully rescued, though he was quickly recaptured thanks to the efforts of Dead Cell members Fortune and Vamp. Originally, Johnson planned on working together with Solidus, in order to blackmail the Patriots into giving him more power and influence within the group, but the Patriots manipulated even that desire, however, making him an unwitting accomplice in the S3 Plan. Johnson punched in the nuclear launch sequence himself into the nuclear football, but he later had doubts when Solidus planned on actually getting rid of the Patriots – an organization which, in Johnson's mind, must continue to exist.

James Johnson

President Johnson commands Raiden to kill him, in order to prevent a nuclear strike.

After being relocated to the Shell 2 Core, Johnson witnessed a Nikita missile pop out of one of the ventilation shafts. He then tried to flee from it and braced for impact, not realizing that the missile, fired by special forces operative Raiden, was actually aiming for the power generator right behind him to cut the power supply to the electric floor just outside his cell. Johnson, in the aftermath met up with Raiden, whom he initially mistook to be a Patriot assassin, which caused him to grab Raiden's crotch.[2] After Raiden claimed to be a member of FOXHOUND, Johnson realized that the entire situation aboard the Big Shell was actually part of the S3 Plan. Previously believing that he had betrayed the Patriots on his own volition, it transpired that his ambitions had been manipulated all along. Abandoning all hope, Johnson decided to carry out his allotted "role" in the plan.

Johnson revealed the real truth behind his administration, and the existence of the Patriots, to a disbelieving Raiden. After explaining why the organization must continue to exist, and the terrorists' plans to hijack the newly-constructed Arsenal Gear, he ordered Raiden to stop Solidus by disabling Arsenal's AI, GW. Providing him with a disk containing a computer worm cluster, Johnson told Raiden to hand it to GW's system programmer, Emma Emmerich, for her to upload into the AI.

After revealing all that he could, Johnson demanded that Raiden carry out his "role" by assassinating him before the launch sequence confirmed his identity. However, this was taken care of by terrorist member Revolver Ocelot, secretly a Patriot himself, who shot and mortally wounded Johnson. With his dying breath, the President reiterated his final orders, as Commander-in-Chief, for Raiden to find Emma and stop Arsenal. Ocelot, when revealing the intended purpose of the S3 Plan as he knew it, also revealed that Johnson figured out what was really going on, although he nonetheless played the role he was intended to play.

The AIs later used Johnson's voice to remind Raiden about how GW was key to the Patriots' supremacy.

Unconfirmed history

The following information has been detailed in official Konami-licensed media, written by various external authors. Its status in the Metal Gear canon is unconfirmed.[?]

James Johnson was the intended recipient of Revolver Ocelot's final radio transmission during the Tanker Incident.[3]

Behind the scenes

James Johnson (ジェームズ・ジョンソン Jēmuzu Jonson?) and Kenneth Baker have the same Japanese voice actor (Yuzuru Fujimoto). This was presumably done intentionally to make the events that happened aboard the Big Shell even more similar to that of the Shadow Moses Incident. In the HD Collection version, meeting him will unlock the Achievement/Trophy "Bohemian Candidate."

Johnson, going on an inspection tour on the Big Shell, thus being held hostage by the Sons of Liberty, was added into the game because the production staff realized that having terrorists attack a clean up facility in itself was slightly weak storytelling.[4]

The player can optionally use the Nikita missile to kill President Johnson, although this will obviously result in a mission failure. In addition, if the player hits a wall in the adjoining room to Johnson's cell, Johnson will react with suspicion and try to investigate the sound. Humorously, when the Colonel is briefing Raiden and the player on using the Nikita missile on the power generator, the footage shown depicts Johnson reaction to the Nikita missile just before it impacts the generator. In addition, depending on the difficulty mode, Johnson's actions will vary. In Very Easy mode, he will run away and then duck and cover just as the missile is closing in on the generator behind him. In the harder difficulties, Johnson will do some reckless moves, which will also increase the risks of killing him in the process of destroying the generator.

In the aftermath of the Tanker Incident, Ocelot addressed his contact as "Mr. President." Although Johnson was the U.S. President at the time, the game's script, included in The Document of Metal Gear Solid 2, identifies this person as Solidus. However, Otacon contradicts this later in the game by claiming that Solidus was underground at the time of the incident. Additionally, the official Piggyback strategy guide for the game names Johnson as Ocelot's contact, noting Solidus's removal from office. Regardless, the game does not implicate Johnson by name and he does not mention having any involvement when discussing the event to Raiden.

In one of the Alternative Missions in Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, Raiden's dead body must be examined in order to identify and photograph his killer from a selection of characters in the torture facility of Arsenal Gear. The deceased Raiden is clutching his groin, indicating that the killer is Johnson, referring to his actions in the main Sons of Liberty storyline. In the suspect lineup, Johnson will perform the same acrobatics that he uses to evade RC missiles in the main game (on the Very Easy difficulty setting), making capturing him on camera more challenging. 

The ending timeline in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain mentions that the President in 2008 pledged to close down Guantanamo Bay's prison facility. The President is not identified by name in the timeline entry, although Johnson would have been President in that year in the Metal Gear universe. In real life, this pledge was made by then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama.



Notes and references

  1. ^ Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2001).
    Vamp: This is no ordinary nuclear bomb. This weapon is capable of heavy hydrogen nuclear fusion using lasers and magnetics to generate heat-insulated compression. It was a top secret project initiated by the current President...and Solidus has no idea of its existence. The clean thermonuclear bomb is at an experimental stage and is handled differently. Specifically, it becomes launch-capable when Arsenal is activated. A nuclear threat still exists.
  2. ^ Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (script), Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2001).
    The President approaches Raiden. // President: I’m prepared to face the consequences of my betrayal. // Raiden: What are you!? // President: ...(Thinking) // The President pulls Raiden up close. Raiden is surprised by the President’s sudden intimacy. The President reaches between Raiden’s legs. // Raiden: What the --! // President: You’re... a man...? (it’s not that woman) // The President pulls his hand back. He realizes that Raiden is not a member/ninja of the Patriots.
  3. ^ Metal Gear Solid® 2 - The Official Strategy Guide, p.201, Piggyback Interactive (2002).
    "Incidentally, Ocelot's final radio transmission ("... of course, Mr. President") is not intended for his old boss, Solidus. George Sears was removed from office after the Shadow Moses incident, and the current President is James Johnson, also a puppet of the Patriots, and the intended recipient of this message."
  4. ^


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