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Mercenaries, sometimes referred to as mercs,[1] soldiers of fortune,[2] or dogs of war,[3] are soldiers who participate in conflicts for a profit, often selling their services to the highest bidder. Because they are only loyal to those who pay them for a job instead of to a state, they are usually considered untrustworthy. Some missions that mercenaries can be hired for are wetwork purposes such as assassinations. Some mercenaries also participate in conflict for reasons other than financial matters: Namely, if they have an innate desire for battle. A group of mercenaries are usually referred to as private military companies or private military security companies, although because of the negative stigma associated with the term "mercenary," the PMCs are usually considered "different" from mercenaries.

Big Boss

After Big Boss left the FOX unit in 1964, he participated as a mercenary in various conflicts, including the Mozambican War of Independence, after a failed attempt at weaning himself from the battlefield. He resumed mercenary work after leaving FOXHOUND in the early 1970s, and participated in various conflicts during the Vietnam War for various parts of the U.S. military, before forming his own private military company, the Militaires Sans Frontières.

Big Boss and other mercenaries from across the world, including the surviving members of the mercenary nation Outer Heaven, helped secure Zanzibar Land's independence in the 1990s, and their contribution led to the conflict being referred to as the "Mercenary War."

Kazuhira Miller

In the early 1970s, Kazuhira Miller operated as a mercenary and served as an instructor to Colombian guerrillas. When Miller's guerrilla unit was defeated by the Militaires Sans Frontières, an impressed Big Boss offered him a position in the organization. Years later, after going separate ways with Big Boss, Miller became an instructor for a mercenary school twice a year.

Vietnam War veterans

In 1974, various Vietnam veterans ended up undergoing mercenary work and being contracted to aid the Peace Sentinel in the completion of the Peace Walker project for reasons relating to their poor treatment by the time they got back from the Vietnam War.[4][5][6] Some of the mercenaries also ended up joining the MSF.

Ex-Russian Army soldiers

By the time of the 1990s, several Russian soldiers, after they ended up losing their jobs from the Red Army's reorganization as a result of the Soviet Union's collapse, ended up undergoing mercenary work, with one in particular, former GRU colonel Sergei Gurlukovich, also forming a mercenary team, the Gurlukovich Mercenaries, with the intended goal of reestablishing Russia as a world superpower. Revolver Ocelot also underwent several mercenary jobs in various global hotspots before joining FOXHOUND in 2000.


Mercenary backgrounds were part of the qualifiers for joining FOXHOUND in addition to traditional service within various armed forces, as it necessitated that new recruits had military experience before joining FOXHOUND.

Solid Snake

Solid Snake became a mercenary after the Outer Heaven Uprising of 1995. He was hired to execute a rescue operation during the Zanzibar Land Disturbance in 1999. In 2014, Snake was hired to assassinate Liquid Ocelot, but dismissed payment.


After the events of the Big Shell Incident, Raiden began some work as a mercenary after suffering from PTSD and separating from girlfriend Rosemary. One client of his was the Paradise Lost Army, whom he helped out in exchange for aiding in locating Sunny, Olga Gurlukovich's daughter who was held hostage by the Patriots.

Known mercenaries

Warning: The following information is from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." It has some level of canonicity within the continuity, but reader discretion is advised.[?]
Non-"Metal Gear Saga" information ends here.
"If I die in a combat zone // Tell all the people in homeland // That I did my best. // If I die in a combat zone // Tell that pretty girl of mine // That I bring the best memories with me. // If I die in a combat zone // Tell all my best friends // That I died facing a gun. // If I die in a combat zone // I don't need my name on my grave. // Etch instead that there was; // A man who lived, fought and died."
―"If I Die In a Combat Zone," an anonymous song of mercenaries[7]

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.[?]

Liquid Snake acted as a mercenary and a for-hire assassin as late as age 13.[8]

Behind the scenes

One of the euphemisms for mercenaries, "dogs of war," is derived from a line from William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, where Mark Antony, shortly after discovering Caesar's assassination, shouted "Cry 'havoc', and let slip the Dogs of War!"

In the Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake manual, a song is present that talks about dying on a combat field that is attributed to mercenaries. Although no such song exists in real life, a similar song was previously used in the film Full Metal Jacket.

The general bios for the Japanese local soldiers in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus imply that the 47 prefecture soldiers joined FOXHOUND specifically to gain enough combat experience to eventually undertake mercenary work.[9]

Notes and references

  1. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kojima Productions (2010).
    Kazuhira Miller: (Radio) There they are... CIA mercs. Snake, you've got to get past them undetected. Avoid combat whenever possible.
  2. ^ Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Kojima Productions/Platinum Games (2013).
    Kevin Washington: What soldier of fortune could resist?
  3. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kojima Productions (2010).
    Naked Snake/Big Boss: Hold it! You [Gálvez] seem to think we're [MSF] just a pack of "Dogs of War." Is that right?
  4. ^ "I got back from Vietnam and found I had no place to call home anymore... Mind if I stick around with you guys for a while?" - Random soldier on Mother Base's staff menu.
  5. ^ "I went through hell in ‘Nam… I’m ready for anything!" Random soldier on Mother Base's staff.
  6. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Kojima Productions (2010).
    MSF Recruit: I used to be in the army, but the government sold us out. Is there anything worth risking your life for anymore?
  7. ^ Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake - User's Manual, Konami Corporation (1990).
  8. ^ Metal Gear Solid Official Missions Handbook.
  9. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus (Japanese version), Kojima Productions (2007).
    English translation: "A member of a specially enhanced unit who has been deployed to his hometown. A certain "device" seems to be required in order to contact him. Moreover, he [Japanese local soldier] apparently wants to become a freelance soldier by joining a unit with as much real combat experience as possible."

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