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Skull Face

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Skull Face



Biographical information
Nationality Hungarian[1]
Died 1984
Physical description
Eye color Blue
Hair color Bald
Career and family information
Affiliation(s) XOF
Notable family and relationship(s) Mother and father
Metal Gear information
Main appearance(s) Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Created by Hideo Kojima
Voiced by (English) James Horan
Voiced by (Japanese) Takaya Hashi
Motion capture Blake Crawford
"I was born in a small village. I was still a child when we were raided by soldiers: foreign soldiers. Torn from my elders I was made to speak their language. With each new post, my masters changed, along with the words they made me speak. With each change, I changed too. My thoughts, personality, how I saw right and wrong... words... can kill."
―Skull Face[src]

Skull Face was the heavily scarred commander of the military group XOF during the 1970s. Skull Face would also become a commander of the Parasite Unit in the 1980s. He suffered extensive injuries in his youth which caused his characteristic facial scars, burns, and discolorations, most notably a Glasgow smile.


Early lifeEdit

The man who became Skull Face was born to two rural factory workers in a small village in Hungary. His childhood was interrupted when the factory was bombed, under the (correct) suspicion that it was a weapons manufacturing site. He was trampled in the aftermath by a mob of civilians rushing to escape, and sustained significant injuries during the chaos, including being doused in boiling oil. His medical condition was critical; a nurse treating his wounds in an infirmary remarked that he ought to be euthanized. He was left with dramatic deformities and nerve damage that rendered him unable to feel pain, both conditions which were exacerbated when he was tortured by foreign hands later in life.[2]

He later was nominated commander of XOF by Zero, and was tasked with ensuring Big Boss fulfilled certain mission objectives. One of these missions was Operation Snake Eater. He also served alongside Big Boss as well. Although he hated both men, he nonetheless enjoyed his position in XOF immensely. At some point, he met with Code Talker, where he received some parasitic bugs, which would cause various gruesome symptoms, including irreversible decline of the host's cognitive systems.[3]

Ground ZeroesEdit

At some point after the Peace Walker Incident in 1974, Skull Face and XOF took command of a U.S. naval base in Cuba and, under Cipher's orders, turned it into a "black site." During this time, he claimed XOF were a CIA unit, although the group didn't answer to Langley.[4] On one occasion, Skull Face relayed his personal history to a prisoner that he attempted to recruit to his side though the prisoner ended up dying from the torture he inflicted on him.[2] He also ended up interrogating an MSF Intel Team agent, even quoting briefly Big Boss's line about pain "getting the better of us," when trying to get him to talk. Although the prisoner never divulged any information, Skull Face nonetheless came very close to breaking him, closer than the other interrogators of various agencies at the base.[5]

In late February 1975, Skull Face had Cipher spy Paz Ortega Andrade imprisoned at the U.S. facility, after learning she had survived her confrontation with Big Boss's mercenary group, Militaires Sans Frontières (MSF). Ostensibly acting under Cipher's orders, he actually intended to interrogate her for knowledge regarding Zero's wheareabouts, who had gone into hiding ever since his "grand experiment." Skull Face subsequently had Paz raped and tortured due to her defiance, and when child soldier Chico was captured trying to rescue her, he had him tortured as well. He made Chico watch while Paz's rape and torture was being carried out, even tasking the boy to have sex with her and participate in the abuse himself, until Chico eventually broke and exposed key details on MSF's Mother Base and Metal Gear ZEKE. Eventually, Skull Face confronted Paz in private and, after explaining his motives, and inferring his willingness to aid Big Boss to fulfill his goal, he got her to reveal Zero's location.[6] He then had her implanted with two bombs, one in her abdomen and another "in a place [MSF]'d never look," anticipating that Big Boss would come to rescue the two prisoners. After being debriefed about the successful rigging by an "away team" with bombs on Mother Base's struts, he also ordered for the XOF personnel to make copies of Chico's recordings, as he wanted to make sure Big Boss listened to them.[7]

On March 15, Skull Face visited Chico at the Omega Base prison camp, to inform him that Paz had revealed everything he needed to know, and claimed to have kept a promise by giving her a merciful death. As he arrived at the camp, the guard dogs stationed at the camp barked viciously at him, as they sensed him as an enemy.[8] He then told Chico that he should give his regards to Big Boss, and asked him how it felt to "play the traitor." Skull Face then headed to a heliport with several other XOF soldiers, removing the XOF logo on his chopper after he arrived, then notified his forces that the "Trojan horse" was in, and that the pirate crackdown was "a go." After lifting off, Skull Face ordered his men to remove the XOF patches from their uniforms and hand them to another soldier, who then threw them outside to the ground below.

True to his predictions, Big Boss proceeded to rescue Paz, and he also failed to discover the second bomb, although Paz threw herself out of the chopper at the last minute. Nonetheless, he used the information he gained from Paz to find Zero, proceeding to infect Zero with a parasitic insect that would gradually render Zero invalid, eventually taking effect before 1977, as his hatred was such that he wasn't content with merely killing his former commanding officer.[9][10] However, his chance at revenge came at the cost of Skull Face himself being infected with several of the same bug inside his vocal chords, forcing him to find a cure for his infection to no avail. He was later manipulated by Code Talker into undergoing experimental radiation therapy, the latter hiding from him that there was a far simpler cure in the form of the bacterium wolbachia.[3] He also eventually gained control over Tretij Rebenok, a child with psychic abilities.

The Phantom PainEdit

Some time later, Skull Face arrived at Mother Base heavily guarded, but lowered his men's weapons. Afterwards, he was seen riding with Big Boss in the back of a jeep in Afghanistan. Later on, Big Boss and Skull Face arrived at a hangar containing a Metal Gear. This Metal Gear would later be controlled by Eli in an attempt to kill Big Boss. Finally, Skull Face was seen attacking Huey Emmerich for unknown reasons.

He later deduced Zero's plan to have the AIs rule the Patriots in his place, and attempted to use Walker Gear to indefinitely eliminate his "employers", and ensure the world ran through chaos by eliminating the English Language and with the help of Walker Gear. However, just as his plan was to come to fruition, Eli interfered at the last minute via a chopper, with Tretij Rebenok going wild, activating Metal Gear ST-84 prematurely and causing Skull Face to be crushed under rubble. After defeating the Metal Gear, Big Boss and Miller exact revenge against Skull Face for his role in the destruction of MSF, shooting him several times with his own gun, detaching his left leg and right arm, before leaving him to his fate. However, Huey Emmerich ultimately kills Skull Face by shooting him in the head shortly thereafter.[3]

Personality and traitsEdit

Skull Face had shown himself to be extremely dangerous, ruthless and sadistic, going to great lengths to achieve his goals. Having tortured both Paz and Chico both mentally and physically to get the information he wanted, Skull Face still tortured them stating, "we're half way there." During his interrogations and torturing with Paz, he would play the 1971 song "Here's to You" by Joan Baez, out loud.

He was also very skilled at interrogation, which was best demonstrated with his interrogation of an MSF Intel Team agent, where despite not getting any information on Big Boss, the prisoner admitted that of the interrogators at the base, Skull Face came the closest to breaking him.[5]

Skull Face was a brilliant strategist, as he manipulated both the MSF and his two prisoners into playing into his hands. Despite his nature, he attempted to implore a previous prisoner to join his side and live for revenge, though the prisoner ended up dying. He also told one of his soldiers that Paz needed to recover from the torture, although only because he needed her alive. During a torture session, he told a soldier to stop whipping Paz because she was no good to him dead.

Because of his cruel upbringing, he was shown to be extremely nihilistic, understanding hope only in the sense of it being a survival skill and otherwise not viewing it as important.

Skull Face always wore a trench coat, ten-gallon hat and carried a sawed off lever-action rifle.[11] In 1984, he was seen wearing a domino mask.

Behind the scenesEdit

Skull Face appears in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain as the main antagonist. He is described as "A Ghost without a Past." He was first revealed, albeit unidentified, in the PAX Prime 2012 demo for Ground Zeroes, and briefly in the GDC 2013 trailer announcing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which was early thought to comprise both Ground Zeroes, and The Phantom Pain.

The XOF commander's name was supposedly revealed to be Albatross in an article posted by a game tester, regarding a private demo of Ground Zeroes by Hideo Kojima in May 2013, for the video game website Gamasutra. The article was deleted shortly thereafter.[12] However, the E3 2013 trailer later revealed that the XOF commander's name was actually Skull Face.[13]

In the English version of Ground Zeroes, James Horan provided Skull Face's voice, while Takaya Hashi provided his Japanese voice.

In a Twitter post, Kojima compared Skull Face with the Batman villain Clayface.[14] In another series of Twitter posts, Kojima admitted that he considered including Skull Face on the overseas cover for Ground Zeroes, but decided against it due to it being too horrifying, and because it reminded him too much of the film Enemy Mine.[15]

In an interview with Famitsu in November 2012, Kojima revealed that Skull Face was originally going to be called "Scarface."

In a commentary for the opening scenes of Ground Zeroes on IGN, Kojima explained that he had the dogs bark at Skull Face as if he were enemy personnel to emphasize that Skull Face was different from the other personnel.[8]

In the E3 2014 trailer for The Phantom Pain, Skull Face is shown leading Big Boss to a hangar with Metal Gear inside.

During a Q&A session at Gamescom 2014, Kojima described Skull Face as somewhat inhuman, stating that "he’s not just a plain old bad guy: his face has been stripped off, revealing his skull. This ‘skull face’ represents the human side that he lost."

YongYea's interview with Skull Face's English voice actor, James Horan, suggests that Skull Face's role is smaller than initially thought. Horan stated that he had recorded his dialogue within an hour and a half.[16]

During Chico's 5th cassette tape in ''Ground Zeroes'', at 00:35, Skull Face says "Vigyétek a ketrecébe!" which is Hungarian for "Take him to the cage !"

Some elements of his character were leaked in an Italian game guide for the game.[3][9][10]



Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Kojima Productions (2014).
    This is strongly implied in Chico Tape 5: When telling his soldiers to take Chico to his cage after Chico protested during an interrogation of Paz, he says to his soldiers "Vigyétek a ketrecébe," which is Hungarian for "Take him back to his cage." In addition, his backstory given in his motives tape, strongly resembles an actual event that occurred in 1944 in Hungary, where a small village with oil refineries and factories named Almásfüzitő was bombed repeatedly during the year as part of the Oil Campaign of World War II, and similar to both several spies claims and Skull Face's own admission, was also a military outpost.
  2. ^ a b Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Kojima Productions (2014).
    Briefing files > Acquired Tapes > Agent's Recording > Secretly Recorded POW Interrogation
    (waterboarding is heard, and then shuffling them prisoner back to the boiler room cell. A man is heard driving in) // Skull Face: I needed this place, to listen to the words people have to say. That's something they could never understand. (the man, Skull Face, then walks up to the prisoner, who is groaning in agony) You've done your part. You told us plenty. You've known the pain of ages. And even now you think, as any person would, that this can't be happening. Is it education? Morals, faith? Just an imprint of a lifetime of stories? Face to face with oblivion, which is where you are, and you still think that help is coming. The world you were born into is made to save you. Isn't that right? Of course it is. Everyone knows that. Until your last breath, you know it. Without the slightest chance or reason left to them, humans are capable of hope. I'm no different. But for one thing. When my time came calling I didn't die. My family died, my country died, but they didn't take me with them. All Hell took from me was this skin, this outer peel that marked me "human." My village had an oilseed field and a fine factory. Every day my friends and I would see our parents at work in that factory. That's all I had. All the world I knew. Then one day, aircraft came droning in from some far-off sky. The factory was bombed. Some... "spies" had told them we were making weapons. The building burned. We tried to flee outside. The crowd blocked the exit. The crowd of people. Hot. So hot. I tried to push through their legs and get ahead, but a boot in my stomach put me on the ground. The smoke of them burning filled me up. I heard my name called... but not for long. At the infirmary they carried me to, a nurse in the corner saw me and remarked, as if it happened every day: "They should let the poor thing die." Those are the only words of my mother tongue I remember. It was the language of my village. Until foreign troops invaded. Then the last identity I had left - the words I spoke - were pulled from me. My skin would never feel anything again. This face would be burned again, in torture, at foreign hands, but I, I still writhe in that burning factory. Doused in scalding rapeseed oil. That's all I have to feel, that pain - all I have to remind me I exist here. (chuckles) Those "spies" reported well. We made weapons all right. As cartloads of rifles came in from the battlefields, we fixed them up and sent them back out. So our country could win. Or rather, so that little world we knew could continue. I came to realize I mustn't die. I'm their last hope, all those who perished and left me here. I have to accomplish something. If I don't, their will will be swept out of this world. (Skull Face proceeds to grab the prisoner) So? Do you see me now? Tell me. What do you see? Hmm? You have eyes. What do your eyes see? (chuckles) Yes, that's right. You see a skull face. You see me. This skull is who I am. My mark, my proof of humanity. I have no country, no language, I have no face, but I haven't lost my skull. So I told myself... The pain and effort that keep me alive will never know relief, never bear fruit, never be repaid. I know that, but I told myself to focus on some hope, a nonexistent hope to guide me through this burning world. A hope - call it a dream. A melancholic delusion. As the pressures within me stretch me to bursting, and I force myself not to cry out, though the words I thought were carved into me are gone, and all I knew is dead. I know how you feel. I've felt that. So show me. That I'm not the only one. That you too can return to this world, for revenge. Do you see me? Don't die. Don't die! (Ahh...)
  3. ^ a b c d File:LwvPDDy.jpg
  4. ^ Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Kojima Productions (2014).
    An undercover agent uncovered that they never actually answered to Langley, and informed Big Boss as much.
  5. ^ a b Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Kojima Productions (2014)
    Prisoner 12282: Boss… I never expected you would come… This place is full of “enemy combatants” renditioned from all over the world. But I couldn’t believe how many groups were asking the questions. They gotta have some kind of secret agreement. At a guess, I’d say there were MI6, BND, ISI… I even heard one guy speaking Russian. Yeah, they’re making deals with the East too. Local agencies will snatch dissidents who’ve defected to the West and then send ‘em back across the Iron Curtain… after a stopover here. They’re dealing in “leverage” on foreign administrations. Backdoor money. Scandals. Financial fraud. By sharing information that governments want to sweep under the rug, they, they gain leniency for their agencies. They’re trying to create some kind of HUMINT network without borders. Sorry, that’s all I know. Can't believe I got captured... I should have known I wasn't up to your standard... The torture was... was beyond anything I ever imagined. They were breaking guys left and right... I came pretty close too. But don't worry, Boss. I, I didn't tell them a thing. But... just one time... I was questioned by this other guy. He was different from the rest. I'll never forget him... or what he said. It cut right into me. "Nothing to be ashamed of. Pain gets the better of us all." "Let the words comfort you." "Now what did your boss tell you?" I nearly talked. This guy was so... so weird. I know I saw his face. I just... I can't remember it... The administration here knew about the operation. There was a leak. The brass are long gone. All that's left are the grunts kept out of the loop and us "enemy combatants"... Dunno why they left witnesses like us here alive. Mind if we stop a minute, Boss? I gotta rest. Let's get outta here. I wanna go home. Our home...
  6. ^ Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Kojima Productions (2014).
    Skull Face: Cipher [Zero] has been in hiding ever since his grand experiment. No one has seen him in years... All we hear are orders delivered by proxy..... Except you [Paz]. You met with him, face to face, in order to contact Big Boss. Tell me where he is. Where is Cipher...... Where is Zero...... // (voice of a female in pain while Skull Face is talking) // Skull Face: I've never known choice. Where I was born, the language I speak, I've never had the freedom to choose for myself. But you, right now, are free. Do as you will. // Paz Ortega Andrade: This will save Big Boss? // Skull Face: It may. Paz: Will you really kill Zero for me? // Skull Face: Not for you // Paz: Alright.... Zero is......
  7. ^ Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Kojima Productions (2014)
    Acquired Tapes > Chico's Tapes > Chico's Tape 7 - March 15, 1975: Bargaining with Paz (Final Recording):
    Skull Face: You [Paz] shall not see triumph. You've been most helpful. And I have one last use for you. To you I give a magnificent end... But an end nonetheless. The final moment is yours. // Soldier: We heard from the advance team – everything's right on schedule. The C4 has been planted on the legs [on Mother Base]. Strike team and decoy team are in position. And, we have confirmation that Big Boss'[s] chopper has lifted off. // Skull Face: A shame I won't see him. But at least I'll get a look at his body. Time for us to move out, too... But first, let's stop by and see the boy [Chico]. I want Big Boss to hear his little diary. Hopefully he's still a good listener. Give this [Walkman] to the boy as a reward...and a memento. Make copies [of the tapes]. // Soldier: Yes, sir. // Skull Face: First Big Boss, then Zero. Liberation is at hand.
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ a b File:2sG2WgM.jpg
  10. ^ a b File:dZVZ38G.jpg
  11. ^ Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Kojima Productions (2014).
    Marine 1: (Hey) You see that costume party those guys saluted to? // Marine 2: Yeah... Trench coat, and a ten gallon hat, and to top it off, that piece he's carrying is a sawed off old lever-action. Their CO's got style... for a bad guy in a western. // Marine 1: Nah man, he's just a Republican. // Marine 2: (And) Either way, he didn't look like no soldier to me. // Marine 1: And his bodyguards are all special forces ball-busting heavy operators. Last time I saw that, I was reading a comic book. // Marine 2: (Clicks tongue) I'm gonna have nightmares about this shit.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Metal Gear Solid 5: GAMEPLAY TRAILER! The Phantom Pain Xbox One Footage! - YouTube
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^

Start a Discussion Discussions about Skull Face

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  • Skull face at Diamond dogs Funeral.

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    • The wiki article for Skull face says that he was present at the Funeral service for  Diamond Dogs, but i've watched the trailers that had ...
    • I am afraid that was my doing after seeing the long E3 2015 ("Elegia") trailer. I assumed that he was there for the funeral because I thought ...

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