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The units of the Genome Army (left to right): NBC, light infantry, Arctic warfare, and heavy troops.

The Next-Generation Special Forces, also known as the Genome Army and Genome Soldiers, and nicknamed the Space SEALs,[1] were a top secret United States Army black ops unit that specialized in counter-terrorism. They also served as reserve members of Unit FOXHOUND.


The Genome Soldiers were organized to cope with terrorist incidents specifically involving weapons of mass destruction typified in nuclear, biological and chemical warfare. Its members were strengthened through gene therapy, having either been injected with the "soldier genes" of Big Boss, or otherwise having their nucleotide alignment rearranged to resemble Big Boss' DNA. Many also underwent VR training, guided by the Force XXI concept, but had little or no actual field experience.

In February 2005, the unit took part in an insurrection against the U.S. Government on Shadow Moses Island.



Warning: The following information is from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." Its canonicity within the continuity is disputed, therefore reader discretion is advised.[?]

The idea for the Genome Army project stemmed from late 1970, when Zero requested for Ocelot to join the Patriots as well as aid him in a project relating to battle data gained from the Perfect Soldier, Null.[2] Likewise, a rumor persisted about "soldier genes," to which the rogue FOX commander Gene, the byproduct of the Successor Project, speculated to be true after he was defeated by Big Boss.[3]

Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.

An Arctic warfare trooper in cold weather gear.

According to Liquid Snake, the Gulf War Syndrome was actually a side effect of early Genome Soldier experiments by the the Pentagon, along with the so-called "Gulf War Babies" that veterans reported. The side effects were glossed over through claims that they were the result of exposure to depleted uranium tank rounds, alongside post-traumatic stress disorder and anti-sarin injections.

The Genome Soldier project was headed by Dr. Clark. One of the guinea pigs in her gene therapy experiments was Gray Fox, recovered from the battlefield after being mortally wounded in Zanzibar Land in 1999. Even though military use of genetic therapy was banned under international law, the U.S. government secretly carried out the project anyway since the laws were simply declarations and not actual treaties.[4]

The Next-Generation Special Forces were formed as a counter-terrorist unit comprised of former members of biochem units, technical escort teams and the Nuclear Emergency Search Team. Their original purpose was to neutralize NBC threats. After the "death" of Big Boss and the downfall of Zanzibar Land, members of Big Boss' mercenary dispatch company Outer Heaven were integrated into the unit after the U.S. Government purchased their contracts. The team subsequently merged with the U.S. Army's VR program, Force XXI, and were given VR training.

A genetic experiment, like that used to identify "soldier genes."

Afterwards, they were secretly enhanced with Big Boss's "soldier genes," giving them augmented senses, reflexes, and combat skills. This was accomplished through the realignment of nucleotides to mimic Big Boss' genes, making the subjects "digital" copies, in a sense. This genetic inheritance made Les Enfants Terribles subject Liquid Snake, an "analog" clone, regard the Genome Soldiers as siblings.[5]

All of the Genome Soldiers achieved high grades in their psychological tests, which led other members of the military to remain unsuspicious of them. However, a month prior to the Shadow Moses Incident, the soldiers were reported to have consulted classified information relating to the soldier genes, as well as performing their own gene therapy experiments. They were successful in doing so due to the process being almost completely automated, as well as possessing IQ levels higher than 180.

Shadow Moses Incident

Main article: Shadow Moses Incident

Heavily armed troopers storm the holding cells to attack Solid Snake and Meryl Silverburgh.

In February 2005, the Next-Generation Special Forces took part in a secret weapons testing exercise on Shadow Moses Island, Alaska. Because of the nature of the climate and weather conditions of Shadow Moses, the Next-Generation Special Forces were injected with an antifreeze glycopeptide. The Genome Army and FOXHOUND (under Liquid Snake's command) staged an insurrection on the island, taking over the nuclear facility where Metal Gear REX was secretly being developed along holding hostages: DARPA Chief Donald Anderson and ArmsTech President Kenneth Baker. The terrorists (calling themselves the Sons of Big Boss) threatened to launch a nuclear strike if the remains of Big Boss were not delivered to them in less than 24 hours. Almost the entire NGSF unit were subverted to rebellion, with some members supporting Liquid's cause of their own free will, while others were brainwashed by Psycho Mantis. It was later revealed that the Genome Soldiers had begun to suffer from a genetic disorder as a result of their gene therapy treatments, and that Big Boss' remains was the key to their survival.

Three Genome Soldiers guard the communication towers walkway.

During the incident, Arctic warfare troops patrolled the outdoor areas of the facility, while light infantry guarded most of the building interiors. NBC troops patrolled the warhead storage building, where they would utilize chemical weapons to deter potential intruders and escapees, while relying on their protective gear.[6] Heavily armed troops were deployed on several occasions to battle Solid Snake, but were ultimately defeated in combat. Four Genome Soldiers, equipped with stolen stealth camouflage prototypes, attempted to kill Snake after ambushing him in an elevator, but they too were unsuccessful.

After Psycho Mantis' death at the hands of Solid Snake, Liquid speculated that the soldiers may begin to lose morale, since their brainwashing would eventually wear off.

Post-Shadow Moses

Nearly all of the Genome Soldiers that survived the rebellion were transferred to Pease AFB in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where they were imprisoned. Nastasha Romanenko implied in her exposé that this was done in order for the government to continue experimenting on them.[7] However, one member (Johnny Sasaki) was somehow able to avoid this fate.

Weaponry and equipment

The Genome Soldiers were equipped with many different kinds of weapons. They included:

FAMAS G1 - French 5.56 Assault rifle. It is a bullpup style assault rifle and the main firearm of the Genome Soldiers. Holds a 25 round box magazine. Can accommodate an M203 grenade launcher as an add-on module under the hand guard.[8]

M9 - Italian 9 mm handgun. The soldiers with assault shields will use this handgun at the same time to shoot at Snake. Uses a 15 round magazine

SPAS 12 - Italian 12 gauge combat shotgun. Holds 8 rounds. Only used by combat teams dispatched via backup request.[8]

MK 23 SOCOM - German/American .45 ACP handgun. Holds 12 rounds.

PSG1 - West German 7.62 sniper rifle. Holds 5 rounds or 20. Sniper Wolf's favorite weapon as well.

M67 Frag - American standard issue fragmentation grenade.

Genome Soldier types

There were four main types of Genome Soldiers:

  • Nuclear, Biological & Chemical warfare troops
  • Light infantry
  • Arctic warfare troops
  • Heavily armed troops

In addition to the above, there was also a fifth type of Genome Soldier that utilized dark-colored fatigues and gas masks. During the Shadow Moses Incident, they fought against Solid Snake on the communications tower, its walkway, and the freight elevator in the underground maintenance base.

Asymmetry Theory

The Asymmetry Theory refers to genetic diversity, which plays a large part in determining whether organisms of a particular species can adapt to their environment and survive. If a species is not genetically diverse then all of its members are at risk of infection, or death, from a certain disease that they can not adapt to.

Human cloning led to a reduction in genetic diversity. Because Solid Snake and Liquid Snake were essentially genetic copies of Big Boss, their immune system, too, was identical. Therefore, if a virus came along that their particular immune system could not adapt to, they were in danger of simply dying off. This, to Liquid’s mind, solidified his notion that the Genome Soldiers were on the verge of death at the genetic level.

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.[?]

The "cream of the crop" in regards to the Next-General Special Forces were the Genome Combat Veterans, having taken part in hundreds of sorties, both simulated and real.[9] Clad in spec-ops "black owl" Kevlar-armored fatigues, they were involved in the last stages of their genome therapy to become "Space SEALs." Combat Veterans had accurate aiming skills and were also trained in fighting with Optic Camouflage.

During the Shadow Moses Incident, the Combat Veterans transported containers of explosives and Stinger missiles/launchers around the base, while bragging about their success and discussing the other hostages.[10] The contents were originally supposed to be delivered to Liquid Snake, but Solid Snake managed to pocket them after they left them. Also, they were originally supposed to deliver a third container to Liquid, but it ended up stolen by the intruder.

By the time of Solid Snake's infiltration into Metal Gear REX's underground base, the Genome Soldiers who had undergone brainwashing by Psycho Mantis had retreated into the Alaskan wilderness, due to their loss of morale.[11]

Behind the scenes

Space SEALs were first mentioned in the instruction manual and official strategy guide for Metal Gear Solid, described as being the nickname of the Genome Soldiers, though they were not identified by this name in-game. "Space SEALs" were later mentioned in the official novelization by Raymond Benson, this time to specifically refer to "Genome Combat Veterans." This was likely done in order to bring attention to the fact that there were indeed some Genome Soldiers with actual field experience, despite the unit often being described otherwise in several sources.

Johnny Sasaki, a surviving Genome Soldier, appears in Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2 (voice cameos), and most notably in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots as "Akiba." It is never revealed whether or not he possessed the same genetic mutations as the other Genome Soldiers, or indeed, if he even underwent any gene therapy, due to his fear of needles.

The Twin Snakes

Promotional screenshot from The Twin Snakes showing the arctic variants of the Heavily Armed Troops.

In Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, because of the inclusion of game mechanics from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, the Genome Soldiers will often give a status report on the radio during patrol. If the player knocks a Genome Soldier out, he will bear risk of entering caution mode if the unconscious soldier fails to report back on time. Likewise, the Genome Soldiers also practice the CQB clearing search during an evasion phase.

Unlike the original PlayStation version, the Heavily Armed Troops no longer patrol areas and only appear when they're called for backup or during scripted events. As a result, areas that were patrolled by HAT soldiers in the PS1 version, such as the Armory and REX's Lair, are now patrolled by Light Infantry soldiers. In addition to the standard HAT soldiers, The Twin Snakes introduces an arctic variant that are called for backup in outdoor areas patrolled by Arctic Warfare soldiers (such as the Heliport or the Canyon). They are dressed just like arctic soldiers, but wear green bulletproof vests and white helmets. HAT soldiers are now armed with riot shields and handguns in addition to the FAMAS rifles they were equipped in the original game.

During the briefing sequence, when Naomi describes to Snake the origins of the Genome Soldier project, Snake sarcastically responds that it's a "dinosaur theme park," referring to the 1990 novel and 1993 summer blockbuster film adaptation Jurassic Park. This reference did not exist in the English localization of the original Metal Gear Solid.

Portable Ops Plus

An Arctic warfare Genome Soldier in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus.

Soldiers genetically modified for warfare. As members of the high-tech Next-Gen Special Forces anti-terrorism unit, they have undergone VR Training based on the Force 21 trials.
―Official bio on the Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus official site
"A soldier who has undergone gene therapy to enhance combat abilities. These "next-gen Special Forces", intended for counterterrorism operations, where given VR training based upon the "Force 21" concept."
―Official description in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus

Genome Soldiers, more specifically the arctic warfare variety, can be recruited and used in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus. They are equipped with the FAMAS as their standard issue firearm. Their voices were reused from the Soviet soldiers.

The player can change the soldiers' uniform color by using an item called the Heart of Justice, giving them a similar appearance to the Super Sentai of the similarly titled Japanese superhero franchise (localized in North America as Power Rangers). What color they change to depends on their overall stats (and according to their bios, their overall demeanor), with Black being the rarest. A special version of the Black Genome Soldier was offered as a wireless download for the Japanese version at the Tokyo Game Show in 2007,[12] which had been given the name Burakku (Romanization for "Black"), 50000 EXP, 310 Life, 620 Stamina, 60 Sense, and careers of Athlete Ball Game and Player-Personnel Director.[13]

Upright Heart/Heart of Justice Genome Soldiers.

"A Genome Soldier awakened to the color red by the Heart of Justice. While not outstanding in any respect, the Red Soldier definitely stands out in a crowd. Takes the initiative and is the driving force behind his team. Has a strong sense of responsibility."
―Official description in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
"A Genome Soldier awakened to the color blue by the Heart of Justice. The Blue Soldier is highly capable and level-headed, but doesn't like to display emotions. As a result, tends to remain aloof in battle. In reality, though, has more passion inside than anybody else."
―Official description in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
"A Genome Soldier awakened to the color green by the Heart of Justice. The Green Soldier has a warm personality and a wealth of experience, earning trust and admiration from other members of the team. Enjoys the occasional cup of strong tea."
―Official description in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
"A Genome Soldier awakened to the color yellow by the Heart of Justice. The Yellow Soldier's cheerful personality lights up any situation. Generally perceived as mood makers, but dependable in a fight. Loves a good bowl of curry."
―Official description in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
"A Genome Soldier awakened to the color black by the Heart of Justice. The Black Soldier is extremely capable and a jack-of-all-trades, but prefers solitude and is misunderstood by other soldiers."
―Official description in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
"A Genome Soldier awakened to the color pink by the Heart of Justice. A gentle demeanor and sharp senses give the Pink Soldier a keen insight into all types of problems. They support their team by being alert to what's going on around them at all times."
―Official description in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

In addition, both the standard Genome soldiers and the six colored Genome soldiers can be recruited via passcode, with their specific passcodes varying depending on whether the game is the Japanese or the American version. The passwords are as follows:

Character Japanese U.S.
Genome Soldier (Red) FEJIBFVSQ 9CM4SY23C7X8
Genome Soldier (Blue) DTAOHESNN 9GNPHGFFLH
Genome Soldier (Green) DZZXGBDMGE TGQ6F5TUHD
Genome Soldier (Yellow) ASGJNBBGSX CE5HHYGTSSB
Genome Soldier (Pink) HTITXXOOI 7WRG3N2MRY2

Although the Genome Soldiers don't appear in Portable Ops itself, they were alluded to twice: The first time when Gene considered the possibility of the rumor of soldier genes being true after he was defeated by Big Boss, and the second time during Ocelot's call with his employer, when the latter alluded to gaining battle data for the Perfect Soldier, and requested for Ocelot's help in the project.

Although the colored Genome soldiers do not make a reappearance after Portable Ops Plus, the player can customize their characters to possess a similar appearance to them in Metal Gear Online 3.[14]

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

The Genome Soldiers, alongside FOXHOUND, appears as enemies in the Déjà Vu mission in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, albeit only as skin-over soldiers wielding the same weaponry as the regular soldiers in the main game. They will only appear if the player is using the Classic Snake or Cyborg Ninja skin. Otherwise, they will appear as Marines.



Notes and references

  1. ^ Metal Gear Solid (manual), Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (1998).
    The name "Space SEAL" is presumably a reference to the United States Navy SEALs.
  2. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Kojima Productions (2006).
    Ocelot: ...Battle data... ...from the Perfect Soldier [Null]? [...] Genes... genome... [...] ...I see... Intriguing... I'll help you with the project. But on one condition... I want him to join us. [...] Yes, Big Boss... So that we can become the Patriots.
  3. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Kojima Productions (2006).
    Gene: That story about "soldier genes"... Perhaps it was true after all. You [Big Boss] are the true Successor...
  4. ^ Metal Gear Solid, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (1998).
    Solid Snake: "I thought international law banned the military use of genetic therapy."// Naomi Hunter: "Yes, but those are just declarations, not actual treaties."
  5. ^ Metal Gear Solid, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (1998).
    Liquid Snake: That’s right... The Genome Soldiers that you’ve [Solid Snake] been killing are our brothers, with the same genes as ours. // Solid Snake: The Genome Soldiers!? Liquid: That's right. They are our brothers, created artificially through the alignment of nucleotides to mimic our father's genes. They too are the product of numerous sacrifices. // [...] Snake: So then... the so called Gulf War Babies that have been reported by Gulf War veterans are... // Liquid: Yes... They too our are brothers and sisters.
  6. ^ Metal Gear Solid, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (1998)
    Solid Snake: It looks like they're equipped with gas masks. // Meryl Silverburgh: That's because they are not supposed to use heavy arms. // Snake: Ah. You mean they use chemical weapons, instead.
  7. ^ Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2001).
    In the Darkness of Shadow Moses: The Unofficial Truth: "The survivors from the next-generation commando unit were all removed to the Pease AFB in New Hampshire, ostensibly for training. As far as I know, they remain prisoners there to this day. The government has repeatedly denied allegations of genetically engineering super-soldiers, but rumors that the research continues remain persistent."
  8. ^ a b This weapon is featured in The Twin Snakes remake.
  9. ^ Metal Gear Solid Official Mission Handbook, Millennium Books (1998).
  10. ^ Metal Gear Solid novelization by Raymond Benson, Del Rey Books (2008).
  11. ^ Metal Gear Solid novelization by Raymond Benson, Del Rey Books (2008).
    In the novel, Solid Snake notices that many of the places that he had visited were eerily empty, despite the fact that his escape would most likely have raised an alert. Liquid Snake's conversation with Revolver Ocelot in the launch control room for REX implies that the reason why they were missing was because several of them had retreated due to a loss of morale.
  12. ^ TGS 2007 info at IT Media
  13. ^
  14. ^

See also