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"This world will become one. I have found the way. Race, tribal affiliations, national borders... even our faces will be irrelevant. The world that The Boss envisioned will finally become a reality, and it will make mankind whole again."

Zero (real name David Oh, and formerly known as Major Zero, O, Major Tom and Cipher) was the original commander of CIA Special Forces Unit FOX (Force Operation X) as well as Cipher. His relationship with Big Boss started as a friendship, but later developed into a bitter enmity.


Early life and career[]

David Oh served in Layforce with The Boss, participating in various raids in Egypt. They were close friends with a fellow member of Layforce who died on December 30, 1941, with Oh personally delivering his winged dagger pin to The Boss. He and The Boss also served in the British SAS. Oh later met and recruited a Hungarian assassin into the SAS after the latter defected from the Soviet Union. Impressed with the Hungarian's skills as an assassin and military tactician, Oh quickly promoted the assassin to his Executive Officer. During his later career in MI6, he was referred to as "O" and ultimately joined the CIA, under the bureau of classified planning,[3] where he gained the codename "Zero" (derived from "O").

In September 1962, Zero helped Dr. Nikolai Sokolov and his family defect from the Soviet Union to America, but was forced to allow Sokolov to be taken back due to a secret deal made between the two superpowers during the Cuban Missile Crisis. After reuniting with The Boss, the two formed the CIA's FOX Unit much to the DCI's dismay. However, Zero's own reasons for FOX's creation were to prepare himself for a second attempt at recovering Sokolov.[4]

While serving in the CIA, Zero went on to be friends with Jack. He also recruited Donald Anderson and Dr. Clark into the organization as he recognized the two individuals' potential, though he ended up receiving complaints three days per month relating to Anderson. Zero also formed a club within the CIA dedicated to finding UMAs, and acted as its president, with Anderson as its vice president. At some point, he also took in an orphan, providing food and a place to live. Prior to 1964, Zero obtained a residence in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Zero later promoted his tactician assassin as the commander of a covert support unit he had secretly created as an insurance policy for FOX's success. Members of the unit were tasked with providing tactical support and field intel to FOX operatives in a covert manner. Its overall purpose was to ensure the survival of FOX operatives during missions. Any information regarding Zero's shadow group was highly classified to the point that even The Boss and the CIA were unaware of the group's existence, presumably resulting in his tactician assassin harboring a deep-seated hatred for both him.

Operation Snake Eater[]

See also: Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater

By August 1964, Major Zero served as FOX's commanding officer for the Virtuous Mission under The Boss's oversight with the objective being to once again rescue Sokolov in Tselinoyarsk, USSR. Earlier, Zero briefed Jack on the previous attempt to rescue Sokolov, explaining that the Soviets most likely wanted Sokolov to finish a weapons system that was being developed, capable of turning the tide of the Cold War. He also warned Jack that if Sokolov wasn't retrieved in four hours, then they wouldn't have enough time to be extracted from Tselinoyarsk. Zero explained to Naked Snake the mission's on-site procurement and stealth aspects, and designated himself as "Major Tom" due to incorrectly remembering the successful escape tunnel's name in The Great Escape. Upon Snake's arrival at Rassvet, Zero explained to Snake of needing to deliver a message to Sokolov upon rescue: "Sorry for being so late." Upon learning of the dangerous circumstances of the KGB and the GRU's current rivalry, he also insisted that Snake get out with Sokolov quickly.


Zero in 1964, during Operation Snake Eater.

Following the Virtuous Mission's failure, Zero was shocked by The Boss's defection to the Soviet Union and Sokolov's facility's bombing as he viewed The Boss with higher regard than even his own family, although he did later admit that The Boss had an aura of mystery. He also felt that his new codename might have been a mistake so he re-watched the film roll for The Great Escape, having arranged for its delivery through the film company, and thus realized his error. Zero later visited Jack in an advanced ICU, offering a Cuban cigar and briefing Jack on what had happened on the outside. The Soviets' leader had personally been willing to accept the story about The Boss's defection and had tried to de-escalate the situation surrounding the nuclear incident, but a politically precarious situation resulted as hard-liners in the Soviet military pushing for a nuclear reprisal attack against the Americans. Official proof of innocence involving the United States needed to be presented if a full-scale nuclear war was to be prevented, thus the American Government had proposed a follow-up mission to Zero with the main objectives being the assassination of both Colonel Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin, the leader of the rogue GRU faction which intended to use the Shagohod, and The Boss. In return, the Government would revoke the charges of any and all involvement in The Boss's defection against FOX, under the condition of accepting. Zero also implied that he had been placed in the same situation as Jack: If they rejected or failed the mission, not only would FOX be disqualified as an official unit, but they may also be executed. Major Zero again served as Naked Snake's commanding officer during Operation Snake Eater, with Para-Medic and Sigint providing radio support, and EVA assisting Snake with transportation. When it appeared that Sokolov was committing adultery with Tatyana (Volgin's lover in actuality), Zero was in disbelief and tried to point out that Sokolov wasn't the kind of person to do so before Snake told him that "people change." In addition, when investigating Sokolov's supposed lover's identity, his initially speculation of Tatyana being a supposed KGB officer was obscure within the ranks of the KGB when he couldn't get any leads. After Sokolov was apparently killed by Volgin, Zero decided to make the Shagohod's destruction a top priority to honor his fallen friend. He later learned from Snake about communicating with The Sorrow. But despite insisting that he'll believe whatever Snake had to say, he spoke to Para-Medic and voiced that he may have gone insane before Snake pointed out hearing the two. The mission was a success as the Cobra Unit were killed off, the Shagohod was destroyed, and both Volgin and The Boss were defeated.

When Naked Snake was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the codename of Big Boss by the President, Zero and the rest of the intel team showed up for the ceremony and Zero tried to personally congratulate, but his friend was too distraught to say anything to him and eventually left FOX and America to drift across nations as a mercenary due to having learned Operation Snake Eater's full truth and The Boss's role as a double agent.

Post-Snake Eater[]

At some point, Zero became involved in a secret plan known as "the cleanser project" which seemingly involved using biological agents (such as the vocal cord parasite) to target an entire race of humans for unknown reasons.

San Hieronymo Incident[]

Main article: San Hieronymo Incident
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.[?]

In November 1970, Major Zero was arrested for treason after being accused of instigating the FOX rebellion on the San Hieronymo Peninsula. Big Boss set out to clear their names, with radio support from Para-Medic and Sigint via a radio frequency that Zero had maintained for such an emergency.[5]

Zero had conspired with Ocelot to bring about the incident, in order to obtain the remainder of the Philosophers' Legacy. The two wished to use the massive funds to end the Philosophers' power, after having watched its American branch further degenerate into squabbling factions. Using Ocelot, Zero manipulated the charismatic Gene into staging the rebellion and stealing the CIA's new Metal Gear, forcing the CIA Director into a vulnerable position with the threat of a nuclear launch. Ocelot was initially unaware of his co-conspirator's identity, but Gene had suspicions as he was referred to as "the man with the same codename as Null."

Neither Zero nor Ocelot had anticipated that Gene would actually launch Metal Gear into America, thus framing the Soviet Union and ending the current détente in the Cold War. However, Big Boss and Roy Campbell were able to form a resistance movement on the peninsula, and ultimately foiled the launch attempt. Meanwhile, having supplied Metal Gear's trajectory data to the DCI, Zero had Ocelot assassinate the DCI who attempted to take shelter in a secret bunker beneath the CIA headquarters. Ocelot then stole the documents that the DCI had intended to save from destruction, regarding both the Philosophers' Legacy as well as a list of the organization's members, and provided these to Zero.

After they were cleared of all charges, Zero, Para-Medic, Sigint and a senior Government official greeted Big Boss at a runway upon returning to America by plane. There, Zero handed documents that would allow for a new special forces unit's creation to Big Boss, following his disbandment of FOX.

Zero later shared battle data and gave hints about genomes as bargaining chips to which Ocelot agreed to stay working together under the condition that they recruit Big Boss.

Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.


Halved patriot

Big Boss, Dr. Clark, Zero, and Donald Anderson.

Zero recruited Big Boss, Anderson, Dr. Clark, Ocelot, and EVA to form a private intelligence network, which was later coined as 'Cipher' sometime after the organization's creation. Using the Philosophers' Legacy as a limitless source of funding, Zero hoped to carry out what he believed to be The Boss's vision by turning Big Boss into a charismatic icon and unifying the world under a single will by controlling information. Zero quickly put Cipher to work in using its influence to disseminate stories that would elevate Big Boss's legend and give the private network the icon needed that could aid them in controlling the masses. Some of these stories were true and some were heavily embellished and some were outright fabrications, causing Big Boss to resent playing the role of Zero's icon and likely saw similarities to the way The Boss had been used by the American Philosophers.

Zero and Big Boss

Zero and Big Boss part ways.

Big Boss started to disagree with the intelligence network's goal and had a different interpretation of what The Boss's will really meant, to which Zero feared that his friend might leave so he had Dr. Clark create a grand experiment in order to maintain their icon. Big Boss found out about the project, was disgusted and outraged by it and, considering this to be the last straw, parted ways with Zero and left the United States. Ocelot and EVA also departed the intelligence network out of loyalty to Big Boss, though maintained limited contact so the two could keep apparently keep tabs on Zero. EVA would still in communication with Cipher's reclusive leader who had gone into hiding, presumably due to Zero having been undergoing medical treatment secretly at 10th Avenue of Hell's Kitchen in New York City for an unknown ailment. During this time, Zero no longer issued orders to his agents directly, instead using proxies - this was true even for the XOF, the former covert support group which Zero had re-purposed to act as Cipher's black ops strike team. The only one exception existed was his operative Pacifica Ocean who he personally met at his safe house to have make contact with Big Boss.

Peace Walker Incident[]

Main article: Peace Walker Incident

In 1974, Cipher orchestrated a takeover in Costa Rica involving Hot Coldman's unmanned AI weapons. To carry this out, Cipher dispatched Pacifica Ocean and arranged a secret business proposition with Kazuhira Miller to help expand the Militaires Sans Frontières. However, Cipher's ultimate plan was to manipulate Big Boss into participating without any willing knowledge. The project had two major objectives, to gather data on the AI weapons and Peace Walker to identify potential uses of this technology for Cipher in the future, and to facilitate the expansion of the MSF private army so that it could then be co-opted to serve as Cipher's deterrent - Cipher did not have at this point in time a complete hold over the United States, and faced significant resistance within the American government via its rivalry with the US military's JCS (Joint Chiefs of Staff).

Cipher ordered their agent to modify the MSF's Metal Gear ZEKE when the time came, and convince Big Boss to rejoin Cipher by threatening to frame the MSF for launching a nuclear warhead at the United States if he refused, which ultimately failed when Big Boss damaged ZEKE and stopped the nuclear launch. Miller had also been unaware of Cipher's plot to discredit the MSF. Meanwhile, Cipher planned to use the sons as insurance against Big Boss should the time arise.

Post-Peace Walker[]

In March 1975, Zero heard about the trojan horse attack on the MSF and that Big Boss survived the incident but had fallen into a coma. Having his suspicions on who was behind the attack, Zero contacted EVA to head the operation to move Big Boss, Miller, and a medic from Colombia to a safe hospital in Cyprus. He then devised a plan whereby the medic would be transformed into a body double through hypnotherapy and plastic surgery to act as a public face until the time came for the real Big Boss's resurgence. He approached Ocelot about the plan first; Ocelot was skeptical towards co-operating with Zero and the plan itself, agreed to help implement it, and took to looking over Big Boss and the body double as the two were in comas. Zero also contacted Miller, explaining that he had nothing to do with the attack, identifying XOF as the true culprits, and offered economical support so Miller could continue building up the Diamond Dogs, asking Miller to await Big Boss's return. He told Miller that the pass code for the event would be "V has come to". As part of his plan, Zero hid the fact from Miller that this would not refer to the real Big Boss. Miller begrudgingly accepted Zero's support, but made sure to tell him that he was still responsible for all of the MSF's slain soldiers lost that day whether he had ordered the attack or not, hoping to work together again with Big Boss to come for him and Cipher. Zero merely replied that no one would not be able to find him.

Ultimately, Zero learned the hard way that Skull Face had planned for years to attack him. As Zero spent his time in hiding and relayed orders via proxies since the cloning project, Skull Face never had an opportunity to track him down until Skull Face then had Pacifica abducted, under the guise of being considered a traitor to Cipher, eventually gaining the information on Zero's hideout after successfully tricking the only agent to have actually met Zero face-to-face at Camp Omega. Sometime before 1977, Zero was sent a pin, a very close copy of the Winged Dagger pin that was once owned by The Boss, which was laced with a strain of parasite that would eventually reduce Zero to a vegetative state, supposedly as Skull Face recovered from The Boss's body in Russia. During the "business call" supposed to confirm Zero received the package, Zero pricked himself while examining the pin. Zero's wound became the vector for the parasite to enter his body; the parasite began to take effect by the phone call's end, leaving Zero in debilitating pain. Although the best physicians attempted to delay the effects, Zero was resigned to his fate. As he was woefully aware that his ability to run Cipher would grow increasingly diminished with his illness' progression, he secretly arranged for Strangelove to develop for him an AI network to take over his intelligence network as he already lost faith in the new generation, but Strangelove was eventually forced out after a "certain incident." He grew weaker and found himself increasingly unable to uphold his intelligence network's daily leadership so he left command over to Donald Anderson, more specifically the central AI that Anderson oversaw. He also gave specific rules to follow in order to avoid a repeat of the Mammal Pod's hacking into NORAD. But since Skull Face and the XOF took over Cipher's operations to more effectively carry out plans of the English language's destruction, Zero was forced to rely on his own resources to effectively hide.

By 1977, he also paid Big Boss a visit in Cyprus and intended to bid farewell and presumably bury the hatchet between them. By this time due to Skull Face's attack, Zero was relegated to a wheelchair. In order to ensure his disappearance and destination was kept secret, he also orchestrated a blackout in New York City that same year that disrupted communications and transportation via two submarines, also giving a cover story. Despite this, it's implied that Miller may have been aware of Zero's ultimate fate.[6]

By the time of Skull Face's threat was ultimately dealt with during Venom Snake's campaign throughout Afghanistan and South Africa in 1984, Zero had fully entered his vegetative state and was relegated to life support. His wheelchair's push rim was also removed, rendering him completely immobile.[7]

Years later, control of Cipher was given over fully to the Patriots, an AI system that was a reference to the fact that Zero's intent to unify the thought and awareness of every individual through the control of information could be considered a kind of 'patriotism'.

Later years[]

Zero has unfortunately brought about had unforeseeable consequences: Big Boss had build a fortress nation in South Africa and a mercenary state in Central Asia with the aim of launching a coup d'etat against the Patriots so that Big Boss's dream of a world unified by perpetual conflict could finally be realized - the one world where soldiers would always have a place and would be able to fight entirely free from political domination. After the two uprisings orchestrated by Big Boss in 1995 and 1999 respectively were ultimately defeated by Solid Snake, the Patriots placed Big Boss into a nanomachine-induced coma in accordance with Zero's will as he had considered Big Boss an irreplaceable friend and had endeavored to keep alive by any means necessary - the Patriots' actions in a sense could be considered a replication of what Zero did after Big Boss was attacked by Skull Face, although this coma was not one Big Boss was intended to wake up from.

To make matters worse, the Patriots' AI system ended up completely abandoning Zero's will, and even both Dr. Clark and Anderson grew corrupt while his allies' political power was reduced to nothing. The Patriots had begun to fully realize Zero's grand plan to unify the world via information control, but would later deviate from Zero's will after deciding the War Economy was a more effective solution to controlling humanity, obtaining direct control over the actions and emotions of soldiers, potentially enslaving all human beings had it come to fruition to the civilian level.

Guns of the Patriots Incident[]

See also: Liquid Sun, Solid Sun, Third Sun, Twin Suns, Old Sun, and Naked Sin/Naked Son


Zero's centenarian shell, in 2014.

In 2014, Big Boss had awakened and then discovered Zero in a persistent vegetative state kept alive solely by life support equipment. After a computer worm destroyed the Patriots' AIs and Old Snake defeated Liquid Ocelot, Big Boss took Zero's wheelchair-bound shell to The Boss's grave in Arlington National Cemetery, as Zero's wheelchair's push rim had been removed and thus he couldn't move himself.[7] Big Boss lamented that Zero had nearly "brought the world to the brink of ruin" without even realizing it. Big Boss reflected on their past experiences before Zero's life support equipment was switched off by Big Boss. Zero was struggling to breathe as Big Boss's hands pressed over Zero's chest to stop him from moving as he died, ending the dictatorship he unwittingly created and putting his former friend to peace.

Personality and traits[]

Zero had a prominent scar over his left eye and also believed that he had once been abducted by aliens.[8]

Due to his SAS training, he often looked down upon the American Armed Forces' methods of conducting operations, viewing them as sloppy, such as the fact that they relied too much on prepared equipment, such as a flashlight, or that they would leave their feces on the battlefield. The bomber jacket that Major Zero wore during the missions in 1964 resembled those worn by Allied pilots in World War II. It was also similar to the one worn by Steve McQueen in the 1963 film The Great Escape.

MGS3 Zero Yojji Shinkawa

Major Zero

According to Zero's personal data as of 1964: his eyesight was 20/13; his blood type was "A"; he had previously been afflicted with gout; his hobbies included watching movies and hunting; his favorite food was Shepherd's Pie, while his least favorite food was hamburgers; he enjoyed spy and war movies; his favorite animal was the horse; his favorite type of liquor was whiskey; he enjoyed rugby; he liked Dimbula brand tea; and his favorite UMA was the Loch Ness Monster.[2] Additionally, Zero disliked coffee and referred to it as "foul mud." Owing to his British background, he also frequently did afternoon tea with scones, and often got annoyed whenever people either mistake his activity for snacktime or otherwise treat it as the same thing, prompting him to give a detailed lecture on the differences. This was best demonstrated with Sigint after the latter explained what inspired him to refer to a particular type of camouflage as "chocolate chip" (with it also being implied by Sigint as he signed off that this happened frequently).

Zero was a huge fan of the James Bond films. Zero talked to Naked Snake about the intricacies and technological side of Bond's spy equipment and suggested that Snake be more like Bond, equipped with a "Snake shaped gun" and would get into an argument on the subject with Snake harboring a disinterest in the series and the spy genre in general. Zero also admitted that he personally didn't approve of how Bond interacted with female spies, after supposedly deducing one of the factors in Snake's dislike for the character. Sokolov said that Zero was a man of his word and a man of honor as he kept his promise to rescue him from the Soviet Union and apologized for being so late. In addition, Zero also was one who judged people on their merits rather than physical differences, as evidenced by his hiring Donald Anderson despite the former being banned from the workplace due to his ethnicity.

Zero had a keen eye for talent when recruiting operatives for missions, as he was responsible for recruiting several talented soldiers, mercenaries, spies and even assassins including Big Boss, Revolver Ocelot, Para-Medic, Sigint, Paz, Skull Face, and numerous others who would later become famous throughout the years. The Major had a particular interest in recruiting oddballs, people who displayed unique combat abilities, physical features, or even mannerisms that was often considered out of the ordinary in most people's eyes. One example of this would be Zero's recruitment of Skull Face, who had impressed the Major with his skills as an assassin and military tactician despite his horribly disfigured appearance. Another example would be Zero's recruitment of Paz, being impressed by her keen senses and ability to fool others using her youthful appearance, using her to infiltrate Big Boss's mercenary group MSF as way to keep tabs on him as well as to steal Metal Gear Zeke once it was completed, although she had ultimately failed her mission and was later captured by Skull Face, who used her to strike against the Major.

Of all his recruits, Zero's most complicated recruit was also his best recruit, Jack, the man who would become the legendary mercenary Big Boss. Upon meeting him, Zero knew he had chosen the right man for the Virtuous Mission, being impressed with the young man's military record as well as Jack's training underneath with his old ally, the Boss. While they had little in common, both were deeply motivated by the Boss' final words before dying, and chose to live the rest of their lives trying to rebuild the world the Boss had always striven for. As time went on, Zero came to see Jack as the greatest soldier he ever had the pleasure of working with, surpassing even his mentor. while he had complete faith in Jack's abilities, Zero knew he wasn't invincible and would eventually die in the field or of old age, something that Zero saw as unacceptable. Knowing that Jack was sterile due to his exposure to radiation, Zero took it upon himself to carry on Big Boss' legacy and decided to clone him without his knowledge, knowing that he wouldn't approve. Big Boss was initially allied with Zero in joining the Patriots until he found out about the Les Enfants Terribles project, causing him to leave the Patriots, an act which Zero saw as unacceptable.

While their relationship remained strained for many years, Zero continued to look out for Big Boss even though the later wanted nothing to do with him. Zero even went out of his way to protect Big Boss after the attack on Mother Base, placing the comatose soldier in a British military hospital in Cyprus to protect him from Skull Face and XOF, who had gone rogue and poisoned Zero with a Parasite strain that would eventually leave him in a vegetative state. Knowing that XOF had taken over most of Cipher's assets and operations worldwide, Zero was left with limited resources and time before he would lose his mind, and used his remaining days making sure that Big Boss was well protected, going so far as to cooperate with Ocelot in creating a body double out of one of Big Boss' most trusted soldiers who was also in a coma, subjecting the man to extensive plastic surgery and hypnotherapy to transform him into Big Boss's Phantom. Before going back into hiding, Zero told a comatose Big Boss that the world will need him when he wakes up. One of Zero's final orders before disappearing was promoting Donald Anderson as the acting leader of what was left of Cipher, leaving him to develop the A.I. program that would eventually take leadership of the Patriots.

Zero didn't know much about technology and would use Sigint's notes when explaining what the anti-personnel sensor, motion detector, and active sonar were to Naked Snake. On a related note, he once bought a washing machine but didn't know how to use it.

After founding the Patriots to carry on The Boss' will, Zero over time became power hungry and a dictator by collecting more wealth and to gain more influence within the government. As a result, he also had no qualms for using Big Boss as an icon and to clone him without his knowledge. After Big Boss left the Patriots, Zero felt betrayed and lost his faith and belief in everything.

By 1974, he also lost his ability to keep his promises and his code of honor by this point by his nearly having the Militaires Sans Frontières framed for a nuclear strike against America when Big Boss refused, despite this going against his promise to allow MSF to expand to Kazuhira Miller when getting him involved in the plot. In addition, after going into hiding as a result of Big Boss leaving the Patriots after he found out about the Les Enfants Terribles project, Zero did not directly give orders to his agents, instead supplying them to proxies and left his whereabouts unrevealed to all except for one agent, Pacifica Ocean, and even then, she implied at one point that she occasionally got orders via proxy instead of from Zero directly,[9] indicating that Zero had become paranoid. Paz also repeatedly implied that the penalty for defying Cipher would anger him to such an extent that the penalty would be "worse than death" (although, due to Zero's more amicable interaction with her when first meeting her, it's unclear whether she meant Zero himself or the Cipher organization as a whole).

His paranoia was also shown in that he initially limited what would eventually become the Patriots' AIs and limited them to information sorting specifically to avoid recreating a similar near-disaster during the Peace Walker Incident in 1974, where The Boss AI proceeded to drown itself before it could start a nuclear war. Ironically, Skull Face's actions against Zero and later Strangelove's death at the hands of Huey ultimately resulted in the Patriots' AI network's ban on thinking for itself being removed (and thus, ultimately proving Zero's concerns about them possessing independent thought to be very sound in the future) due to Donald Anderson, being promoted to the de-facto leader of the Patriots in Zero's place, being forced to implement broad instructions and programming them to learn for themselves due to Strangelove dying before she could implement traits such as compassion into the Patriots AIs' network.

In 2014, regarding Zero's actions, Big Boss wondered if Zero hated or feared him. However, Zero always considered Big Boss a good friend and had nothing to do with the decimation of MSF. He didn't care about Skull Face attacking him with vocal parasites, but never forgave him for putting Big Boss in a coma.


"Zero" is a British military radio term, often used as a call sign for a HQ. It also refers to a ghost, which Zero claimed was also fitting for a sneaking mission. Zero also referred to himself and the Patriots as "Cipher"; the English words "zero" and "cipher" are both derived from the same Arabic word "sifr", which refers to emptiness. This became fitting after Zero lost his beliefs and faith in everything when he became an empty shell of his former self.

Behind the scenes[]

Zero is the central antagonist of the Metal Gear series, although Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain would make him a tragic villain.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater[]

In the Japanese version of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Major Zero's (ゼロ) voice was provided by Banjō Ginga, the voice of both Liquid Snake and Liquid Ocelot.


Major Zero

Zero's real name, David Oh, was first given in a voice casting sheet for Metal Gear Solid 3, which was leaked prior to E3 2004.[3] It is mentioned in the Metal Gear Solid 4 Database and by Ocelot in an audiotape in The Phantom Pain.

It's possible that his character may have been at least partly inspired by Colonel David Stirling (otherwise known as Phantom Major), a real life British Army officer who acted as the founder of the Special Air Service (SAS). Aside from sharing a first name they also share a similar age, military background and philosophy regarding the effectiveness of small military special forces units.

The name Major Tom, while mentioned in-game to be a reference to The Great Escape, is also a character in the song "Space Oddity" by David Bowie. This could be a nod to the song, as it was originally selected as the ending theme for Metal Gear Solid 3 as it references space exploration. However, as the game ultimately departed from this theme, it was replaced by Starsailor's "Way to Fall."

In the Operation Snake Eater Briefing, Zero provides a Cuban cigar, despite the fact that Cuban imports were illegal in the United States in 1964 and remained so until the ban was briefly lifted by President Barack Obama in 2016.[10]

If the player ends up dying three times during The Sorrow battle and continuing, Zero will call and tell the player to use the Revival Pill at the Game Over screen.

Two radio conversations, relating to the Raikov Mask and the completed Raikov disguise, will have Zero commenting regarding the mask's "nostalgic" feeling that he "for some reason doesn't like it" and that Naked Snake's wearing of the Raikov disguise "is starting to irritate [Zero] already," referring to the negative fan controversy regarding Raiden from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.

Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops[]

Although Zero is imprisoned during the events of Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, he can still be recruited as a secret character. Simply complete the game with a Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel save file on the PlayStation Portable's memory stick or use a code.

Zero's true involvement in the game is briefly hinted at during Gene's conversation with Ocelot in a cutscene, where he identifies Ocelot's co-conspirator as "the man with the same codename as Null." "Null" is the German word for "Zero."

"Commander of Special Forces unit FOX, it was he who proposed the establishment of the unit to the CIA. Led Operation Snake Eater, providing support to Snake via radio. President of the unofficial UMA Finders Club at the CIA."
―Character description in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus

Major Zero opening fire on FOX soldiers.

Some fans had speculated that Zero was the "deviously cunning strategist" that Gene had mentioned in Portable Ops. Upon first viewing, the game's dialogue does not immediately make clear that this strategist and "the man with the same codename as Null" (Zero) are two distinct characters. However, later games reveal that Zero had continued to admire and idolize The Boss, causing opinion to shift towards the strategist being Hot Coldman from Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots[]

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was the first game to reveal that Zero had founded the Patriots. Although he was responsible for most of the events of the game, he does not make a direct physical appearance until the game's epilogue, where Big Boss proceeded to kill Zero via deactivating his life support systems in front of Solid Snake after explaining his role in the whole thing, in order to "return Zero back to nothing." His voice actor for the game is unknown. According to the Artbook for the game, it was Kojima's request to have Zero be in a wheelchair, which had been considered a simple order. In addition, because of Zero's advanced age by the time of the game's story, the CG team had a far easier time building his character due to needing to implement a lot of wrinkles. However, as he only appeared in a real-time cutscene, developing his character was still tricky due to making sure the edge isn't shifted by even a little bit.[11] On a similar note, Zero's designer, Chihoko Uchiyama, initially intended to depict Zero with white eyes, but was stopped by Shinkawa, who insisted on a more dementia and vegetative outlook to him.[12] The concept art also specified that Zero's wheelchair had its push rim removed, emphasizing his loss of control of the machines that surround him.[7]

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker[]

Zero does not make a physical appearance in Peace Walker, barring Kazuhira Miller's secret phone call and Paz Ortega Andrade's flashback. However, he is referenced multiple times. In one of the briefing files, Big Boss reminisces about Zero hating coffee in a conversation with Paz. In another briefing file, it's implied that Big Boss is thinking about Zero when Paz mentions not understanding why "friend turned against friend" while describing Costa Rica's civil war.[13] In addition, during the attempted destruction of the Mammal Pod in Chapter 4, one of the glitched statements by the Mammal Pod was "The Lonely Fox Chases The One Eyed Hound", hinting at Big Boss and Zero's feud. In the Date Paz mission, Paz when she's sleep talking will sometimes say "Yes sir... I understand" in a different tone of voice, with it being implied of flashing back to a conversation with Zero.

Other appearances[]

"David Oh" is a dog tag that can be collected in Metal Gear Solid 2: HD Edition. It is ID 026 and can be found during the Tanker Chapter on the Extreme difficulty setting. However, the man the dog tag belongs to was born on July 14 while Zero was born on August 12.

Major Zero appears in Versus Battle.

Master Manipulator of the Oval Office
Big Boss, Slowly Consumed by Power
SAS-trained, Zero formed the CIA’s special forces FOX unit with the Boss, and then the Patriots with the Big Boss, and lost himself to power in the process
―Major Zero's bio on Versus Battle

Zero is heavily alluded to in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. He is also an unlockable character in the Ground Zeroes app, acting as an officer character in the Mother Base Developer. To unlock him, the player must obtain 50k+ points on Hard Mode of Destroy the Anti-Air Emplacements while connected to the app.

Hideo Kojima revealed on Twitter that Banjō Ginga (Zero's Japanese voice actor) would play a role in The Phantom Pain, although it was unconfirmed at the time whether Zero himself would actually appear in the game.[14] Jim Piddock (Zero's English voice actor) stated on Twitter that he elected not to reprise his role as Zero,[15] and later elaborated on the reason for the refusal in an episode of The Codec by explaining that Zero had a limited physical presence in the game so Konami felt justified in giving him what he believed was too small of a payment for his voice work for the character and would be mostly heard instead of seen.[16]






  1. ^ Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Kojima Productions (2015).
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2004).
    Radio Mode, Personal Data. [1]
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2004).
    This is implied in a radio conversation between Zero and Naked Snake during the Virtuous Mission.
  5. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Kojima Productions (2006).
    Naked Snake: Does anybody read me? This is Snake. If anybody can hear this, please respond. // Para-Medic: Snake! Is it you? Is this the real Naked Snake? // Snake: That voice... Para-Medic? // Para-Medic: It's me! It's been a while, huh, Snake? It's good to hear your voice again. // Snake: Same here. It'd be even better if I weren't in this god-forsaken place. So, you're still using this circuit? // Para-Medic: Major Zero kept it just in case. He said if you were safe, you might try to use it to contact us. To be honest, I never really expected you to call. But I'm glad you did.
  6. ^ Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Kojima Productions (2015)
    Benedict "Kazuhira" Miller: [...]According to the man you extracted, their orders came through the same channel as always. But is Zero really able to give orders in his current state? Or is somebody else calling the shots for XOF? For Cipher? What the hell...
  7. ^ a b c Metal Gear Informer on Twitter: "Zero's wheelchair in MGS4 has the push rim removed. He can't push himself. A small detail further emphasizing his loss of control over the machines that surround him. This is the focus of our article analyzing his death scene:" / Twitter
  8. ^ The latter is mentioned by Sigint in a radio conversation, should the player manage to procure the Spirit camo.
  9. ^ Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Kojima Productions (2014).
    Info > Paz's spy log: Big Boss & Mother Base > Communications Record 2 (Correspondent Unknown)
    Paz Ortega Andrade: Yes, things are...proceeding. But modifying ZEKE has not proven easy. I'm using Zadornov to buy some time. [...] No, I have not forgotten what you said. However... Well, forgive me for asking, but... this is you I'm speaking to, isn't it... Cipher [Zero]? communication ends I must... I will fight Big Boss. The world must be ruled by a single will... To defy Cipher is a fate worse than death.
  10. ^
  11. ^ The Art of Metal Gear Solid 4, Page 058.
    しわの場合はライティングで多少変な影が入ってもおかしく見えませんが、卵型のつるっとした肌だとちょっとエッジがずれるだけで変な影になってしまうんです。特に今回はリアルタイムのCGなので非常に気を使う部分でした。(新川)(Translation: From the director, "appeared in the last wheelchair," was a simple order. The finish is still asked to Uchiyama. It is a feeling that production progressed comparatively smoothly even if talking with CG Modeler. The more wrinkles, the easier it is to make. Modeling is hard to make with a child or a beautiful face woman. In the case of wrinkles, it doesn't look funny even if a little strange shadow enters in the writing, but it becomes a strange shadow only by the edge is shifted a little when it is the skin that the egg type vine. Especially this time, because it is a real-time CG, it was part that I use very careful. (New River))
  12. ^ 兵隊 on Twitter: "@Arc_Hound @Nyxus_MGS According to Chihoko Uchiyama, who designed Zero, she first revealed that when she drew Zero she was white-eyed, but was stopped by Shinkawa. Zero seemed to have been ordered as an old man with dementia who had completely lost consciousness." / Twitter
  13. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kojima Productions (2010).
    Briefing File > Paz > Costa Rica > The Civil War
    Paz Ortega Andrade: What I don't understand is why friend turned against friend when they could have talked it out instead. // Naked Snake (Big Boss): Yeah, that... would have been nice.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^