|"Hmm, I don't remember that one. It mustn't be that important." |
This article is about a subject from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." It has some level of canonicity within the continuity, but reader discretion is advised.[?]
- "I'm using war as a business to get elected... so I can end war as a business! In my new America, people will die and kill for what they BELIEVE! Not for money. Not for oil! Not for what they're told is right. Every man will be free to fight his own wars!"
- ―Steven Armstrong, exclaiming his future intentions as president, to Raiden.
Steven Armstrong was a United States Senator representing the U.S. state of Colorado, as well as a candidate for the 2020 United States Presidential Election. He was also the benefactor for World Marshal Inc., as well as its de facto CEO.
Armstrong was born and raised in Texas. Prior to pursuing politics, Armstrong played college football for the University of Texas, but joined the United States Navy due to a desire to serve his country, which also sacrificed his professional football career. However, although a member of the Navy, he never saw actual combat during his time in the service. At some point, he moved to Colorado. By the time of 2016, he maintained his physique and even managed to enhance it further via nanomachines in order to put his strength beyond a cyborg soldier.
Armstrong eventually ran for election to the Colorado state senate. One of the initiatives he spearheaded while acting as a Colorado state senator was slashing the state budget, leading to privatization of the police force, and allowing World Marshal to gain control of the Denver Police Department. Armstrong was eventually elected to one of Colorado's seats in the United States Senate.
In 2016, Armstrong delivered a speech to increase his approval ratings, later expressing to his speech writer the belief that people only cared about the spin you put on it, and no longer cared about information control, or even right or wrong. The speech writer warned him that he would appear before a grand jury if his connection to Desperado PMSC was revealed, which Armstrong refuted, given his belief that ordinary citizens could not care less due to believing that money was the only thing that truly mattered. Armstrong also expressed a desire to actually remake America's position as the most powerful nation in the world and reclaim the American Dream, also blithely stating that the Tea Party Movement was not going to succeed due to its unwillingness to make sacrifices, implying that he wanted to bring about another American Revolution, and compared himself to the true Sons of Liberty. Armstrong then dismissed him as he had other matters to attend to, although not before promising to talk to him soon. The conversation was later leaked onto the Internet. That same year, just as was feared by his speechwriter, he was investigated for his ties to World Marshal Inc., the world's largest PMC as well as the largest distributor of cybernetic parts. Despite this, he was still considered a presidential nominee for the 2020 elections, and was even considered to be a "shoo-in."
- See also: Raid at World Marshal, Ambush in Africa, Abkhazian Coup, Investigation in Guadalajara, Raid in Denver, and Operation Tecumseh
At some point after his investigation, Armstrong and World Marshal/Desperado took an interest in Samuel Rodrigues' abilities, and arranged for him to arrive at Denver. After Sam managed to defeat a Metal Gear RAY UMG unit, he then proceeded to invite Sam to the roof via the PA for a "final interview." When Sam boarded an elevator to the roof, he contacted Sam and informed him that he was like him in several respects, despite Sam's insistence that he kill Armstrong for "sacrificing soldiers from his cozy office." He then met with Sam and powered up to his maximum form. While fighting him, he eventually retreated to the top of one of the structures and utilized his abilities to hurl five Hammerhead choppers at Sam, before jumping down and beckoning for him to continue the fight. He later implemented a crimson aura. In the closing of the battle, Armstrong proceeded to block Sam's sword strike with his right forearm, with Sam overpowering Armstrong. He then tried to use a horizontal slice on the senator, but Armstrong managed to block the blow with both forearms. Chuckling, Armstrong proceeded to ask Sam if that was the best he has to offer, though Sam knocks him back. Armstrong recovered, then proceeded to grapple Sam, swing him around, and hurl him into a passing Hammerhead. Sam managed to narrowly avoid passing the rotors and bound off the side of the chopper back at Armstrong. Armstrong, seeing Sam coming in fast, proceeded to harden himself for the blow, but Sam managed to use his quick-draw to overpower Armstrong's defenses with two slices. After an intense battle, Sam seemingly was victorious over Armstrong. Armstrong then requested him to join forces so they could end war as a business. Sam considered the idea, but decided to just "take his hand." Sam managed to slice off Armstrong's right hand, the same way he would eventually slice off Raiden's arm, but Armstrong used his nanomachines to turn his wound into a blade and then proceeded to significantly injure Sam's right arm. After attaching his severed right arm onto his body with the help of the nanomachines, Armstrong proceeded to successfully recruit Sam, who is now reluctant of the decision.
Direct involvement in Desperado activities
Inspection of the Mexican research lab
Two years after the attempted investigation, he also personally inspected a Desperado research lab in Mexico alongside Sundowner, regarding the transportation of children's brains in cyborg head casings before delivering them to World Marshal for the Sears Program, replicating former President George Sears' training of child soldiers in Liberia. He also plotted for Operation Tecumseh, which involved starting a war with Pakistan under false pretenses while President Hamilton is visiting the country with Pakistani President Farooq Salam for peace talks.
Armstrong secretly headed for Pakistan in order to assassinate President Hamilton and frame Desperado. But the plan changed when Raiden defeated both Sundowner and Sam in Colorado. Contrarily, Armstrong confronted Raiden at the air base with Metal Gear EXCELSUS. He also revealed that, since the fall of SOP and the Patriots, America was hit with a recession, hence he needed to orchestrate a false flag operation to support the war economy to put America back to work again. In addition, although his initial plan was to assassinate the president, he decided instead to have the American base personnel appear to be killed by Pakistani extremists, feeling that would have accomplished things all the same. However, he fought Raiden because he is the only one who would expose the truth of what happened. After it was destroyed, he proceeded to fight Raiden and even bring him to his mercy. During the battle, he explained his motives of wanting to remake America, feeling it had become rotten to the core, and re-establish America as a world where people fight for their own reasons, rather than that of the government. Raiden then deduced that he was not merely a "greedy politician" as he initially thought, but completely insane due to his reference to culling the weak and having the strong be free. Although Raiden attempted to defeat Armstrong, he ultimately proved to be too powerful, with Armstrong revealing his nanomachines to be the cause of his nigh-invulnerability.
Armstrong then proceeded to savagely beat Raiden to a pulp with his enhanced strength, with his blows being powerful enough to heavily damage and even destroy EXCELSUS's ruined frame. However, Blade Wolf saved him by bringing to him Samuel Rodrigues' sword. After words are exchanged between Blade Wolf and Armstrong, Armstrong kicked Blade Wolf away, although not before Blade Wolf threw the sword to Raiden. Raiden then proceeded to fight a grueling battle against Armstrong, which eventually culminated in Armstrong slamming Raiden down onto the ground hard enough to knock Raiden's sword away, and then grab Raiden by the neck and lift him up. Raiden then broke free via a roundhouse kick and retrieved the Murasama. Armstrong then tried to land a right punch on Raiden, only for Raiden to successfully parry the blow away, also injuring his right hand in the process. Undeterred, Armstrong then tries to use a left jab on Raiden, only for Raiden to do the same to his left hand. Left with injured arms, Armstrong then attempted to charge Raiden, only for Raiden to slice his chest and then stab him in the abdomen. The stabbing temporarily deterred him, but Armstrong then let out a feral roar and grappled with Raiden. Raiden eventually overpowered the grapple and headbutted him in the head, stunning Armstrong and causing Raiden to remove the sword from Armstrong's abdomen, and then proceeded to cut up his nanite core before impaling his chest with his arm. Upon being defeated, Armstrong talks to Raiden for a bit, and declares Raiden his successor. Raiden then finishes the former senator off by ripping out his nanomachine-laced pale heart and crushing it with his hand. As he died, Armstrong nonetheless accepted his defeat and declared Raiden his successor, stating that they are kindred spirits in the sense that Raiden fights for what he believes in, no matter what.
- "Maybe not... You've guaranteed the status quo will go on, for a while longer at least... War... Will continue as an institution. As an industry. Men will fight for reasons they don't understand, causes they don't believe in... But at least I'll leave a worthy successor... You, Jack. You carve your own path, use whatever methods you see fit... You don't let legal bullshit get in the way. And if it costs a few lives? So be it..."
- ―Armstrong's speech before being killed by Raiden.
Despite his death, and thus World Marshal's funding being crippled, World Marshal itself nonetheless continued to thrive, and his plan of re-orchestrating the war economy nonetheless succeeded.
Personality and traits
Armstrong was shown to be extremely nationalistic and patriotic, expressing the desire to "reclaim the American Dream" by instigating another American Revolution after the Guns of the Patriots Incident and the Patriots' actions weakened America. His intense patriotism was fully demonstrated during his fight with Raiden, declaring that if Raiden was not for the United States and his goals, he was effectively against it. Despite his patriotism, Armstrong held great resentment towards the "current" America; criticizing the war economy, the mass media, as well as the notion of "American pride."
His plans involved governing the current USA and then reforming it so that people could fight for their own decisions, in accordance with more individualistic ideals. Using the people's desire for war as his justification, Armstrong planned to initiate the revival of the "War on Terror" in hopes of using war as a business to get elected as the next U.S. President, thereby granting him enough power so that he would be able to end war as a business in its entirety. He was also shown to be extremely cynical in regards to his views of people and especially his electorate, stating that people wouldn't care if a bad act happened or if there was information control as long as there's money involved or if it's at least given a good spin, such as effective scapegoating. He believed this could be achieved if he could turn everyone into a cyborg (much to Raiden's chagrin).
Armstrong believed in the notion that "might makes right." In this regard, he viewed those who were "strong" as the ones deserving of dictating the laws of society, and that the "weak" should be purged so as to create a perfect world. It is because of this mentality that he's able to hold great respect for Raiden despite his desire to kill him, as he viewed Raiden's life experiences (being brought up as a child soldier and eventually becoming a fugitive who refuses to conform to society's standards) as evidence that his philosophy was correct. At the end of their final battle, he likened himself to Raiden, claiming that they both live their lives in accordance with their own free will; even going so far as to claim that they were "kindred spirits" as well as declaring Raiden as a worthy successor of his philosophy.
He was very arrogant and he held a sarcastic attitude. During battle, he excessively used nanomachines implemented in his body. The nanomachine base he used hardened upon experiencing physical trauma, in which it gave him blackened skin in areas where the nanomachines were in use. He was also in supreme physical condition, which he attributes to playing football during his tenure at the University of Texas. His body was riddled with scars (a side-effect of his infusion with nanomachines), bearing a similar appearance to the scars seen on Colonel Volgin's face and arms. His eyes resembled optical implants, although unlike cyborgs, his pupils only glowed a faint red and didn't emit a horizontal shine, as it's heavily implied to be a side-effect of his infused nanomachines. His arrogance will occasionally lead him to do brash and reckless things, which is especially evident just before the final battle, where he kicked Blade Wolf away shortly after it supplied Raiden with Sam's Murasama blade, despite such an action only resulting in Raiden becoming even more infuriated with Armstrong.
Armstrong was a cigar smoker, smoking twice while on top of EXCELSUS, and was shown to be extremely coarse in his language, both traits being especially evident before, and during, the initial fight between Raiden and Armstrong on top of EXCELSUS. Being a Presidential candidate, he wasn't adept at writing his own speeches, hiring others to do it for him. Armstrong was shown to be rather welcoming and somewhat gullible, quickly changing his mind and accepting Raiden when the two seemingly came to an understanding during their battle. This moment of understanding between the two proved to be false as Raiden was merely setting him up, quickly acting in defiance while throwing him on the ground afterwards. In part, due to his background from the state of Texas, Armstrong sometimes utilized lingo from the area, such as referring to his opponents as "son." Armstrong hated cherry blossoms, expressing this distaste to Monsoon. He claimed that they made him sick, and that they were too short-lived to bear any true significance.
Armstrong seemed to be on good terms with the three main leading captains of Desperado. His ideals were valued by Mistral and she greatly revered him to the point that she developed romantic feelings for him. While his dealings with Sundowner implied that they simply spoke for the sake of business (as Sundowner acted as the de facto leader of Desperado), Armstrong was shown to be rather well-acquainted with Monsoon, as implied by the casual nature of their conversation prior to Sam's arrival in Denver. However, Armstrong seemed to harbor a bit of a dislike for - or, at the very least, was annoyed with - Sam even after his recruitment into Desperado, as after hearing an audio recording of Sam's final words to Blade Wolf before his duel with Raiden, Armstrong remarked "Even dead, he's a pain in my ass." This was possibly due to Sam's initial raid at World Marshal headquarters, in which the two had fought as part of Sam's "interview".
Similar to Sam, he held some enjoyment in conflict and battle, as demonstrated when fighting Raiden, where, after he emerged from the EXCELSUS rubble, he yelled, "This is the greatest fight of my life!". He also demonstrated a similar style of black humor to Sam, as evidenced when he extended his hand to Sam to help him up when successfully recruiting him, knowing full well the hand used was the wrong one to use since it was extended to Sam's injured hand, with Sam also seeing the humor in the action.
Powers and abilities
- "I'm not one of those beltway pansies. I could break the president in two... with my bare hands."
- ―Armstrong during his battle with Raiden
Even before his nanotech infusion, Steven Armstrong was considered to be quite strong - something he acquired from his days as a college football player and as a sailor in the United States Navy. He was also very skilled in hand-to-hand combat, though it would seem that he preferred a much more brawl-like style of fighting; his fighting style was more along the lines of both wrestling and incorporating different football based moves (e.g. holding out his arms in a defensive position and then charging at Raiden as if to knock him over).
After his nanotech infusion, Armstrong's already impressive physical abilities were amplified to powerful superhuman levels. This allowed him to almost effortlessly overpower other individuals who are already very strong to begin with (Sam and Raiden). It's also shown that during his final battle with Raiden, Armstrong's strength was enough to allow him to lift the large debris of EXCELSUS, and throw it at Raiden as a makeshift projectile weapon.
In addition, one of Armstrong's most prominent attributes was that his entire body was composed of nanomachines. These nanomachines would harden different parts of his skin in response to physical trauma, with the side-effect of turning the affected areas black, with some splotches of red on the outer edges. His skin, as a result of the hardening, would become highly resistant to physical damage, and combined with his increased healing speeds, rendered Armstrong virtually indestructible to nearly any form of blunt force. Even Raiden, a powerfully enhanced cyborg, was unable to do any serious or permanent damage to Armstrong's body because of the nanomachines hardening when Raiden attempted to strike him. In addition, said nanomachines could also reattach lost limbs, as evidenced by Armstrong reattaching his forearm shortly after it was sliced off by Sam. Armstrong's resilience was so great that a shot from a LAG-2 or FIM-92 Stinger would barely cause any harm to him, and even when Raiden ripped out his nanomachine-infused heart he was still able to talk for a few more moments before perishing. Although the nanomachines were intended to harden when faced with blunt force trauma, they possessed functions similar to self-repair units. They also could be activated at will, as evidenced by Armstrong frequently hardening without even taking a hit or dishing out attacks in certain areas.
Armstrong could also generate fire similar to Raiden's ability to generate lightning, using it to enhance his physical attacks, surrounding himself in an aura of fire and charging his foes, and creating powerful explosions of fire by punching the ground.
Doktor, when speculating on the evolution of transhumanism, explained that nanomachines were still largely unexplored as far as augmenting human potential. Armstrong's powering-up seemed to magnetically pull in metal dust from the surrounds such as the ruins of the EXCELSUS and several vehicles magnetically levitated and destroyed by him before he fought Sam. After he's bulked up on metal, the nanomachines moved it around, both on reflex and on his own conscious effort. Likewise, Armstrong's ability to heal himself pulled in glowing particulate streams, probably metal, to patch and repair damage done to his body. The latter ability could also be used to free himself if trapped underneath rubble, as evidenced by his fight with Raiden. He also demonstrated the ability to emit a red aura similar to Raiden's Jack the Ripper state during his fight with Sam.
Unfortunately for Armstrong, while his nanotech infusion left him a very powerful individual, he still possessed a few weaknesses that limited his power. For one, while they're very powerful indeed, Armstrong's nanomachines seemed to be incapable of reacting to sudden or rapid forms of damage. During his battle with Raiden, after his HF Blade was destroyed, Raiden briefly overpowered Armstrong with his fists, and because the attack was so abrupt, Armstrong's nanomachines were unable to react in time and harden in order to keep Armstrong from taking any damage. This showed that his nanomachines seemed to work best when an attack is slower or when Armstrong was prepared for and aware of the attack. Similarly, despite Armstrong bracing himself and hardening for Sam's final blow during their fight at World Marshal, he was still stunned by his rapid slice attack, indicating that even hardening his body had its limits. Likewise, Raiden's enormous cyborg strength combined with Sam's HF Blade were enough to injure Armstrong. His unhardened body was more vulnerable to damage, as seen when Sam cuts off Armstrong's hand by slicing ahead of the hardening. However, the weakness could also be turned to Armstrong's advantage, as seen when his nanomachines formed a makeshift blade after the forearm was severed, which he used to severely injure Sam. It can be assumed that Armstrong would be significantly more vulnerable to injury if he hadn't undergone his lengthy bulkup process.
Behind the scenes
Steven Armstrong (スティーヴン・アームストロング Sutīvun Āmusutorongu?) is the main antagonist of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. He is voiced in the English version by Scottish actor Alastair Duncan, while his motion capture actor is Masahiro Nagai, who also performed the motion capture for Sundowner and Boris Vyacheslavovich Popov. While his first name is spelled as "Steven" in both the final version and the early promotional poster (partially obscured the "Monger" graffiti), the description for the official trailer posted by Konami on YouTube, spelled it as "Stephen."
Armstrong was first heard in an audio recording on the website waronourshores.com, which portrayed a "leaked" conversation with one of his staff writers. The clip served as part of a viral marketing campaign for Metal Gear Rising, later appearing on the game's teaser site. Its description stated that listening to it will have the viewer learn the "horrifying truth" of what Armstrong's plans for America are.
Armstrong made his first physical appearance in a 2020 presidential poster promoting Metal Gear Rising, which was issued to various schools, although his face is mostly obscured by graffiti. The poster's date as well as his leaked conversation being on the Make It Right Viral Marketing Site implied that the events of Metal Gear Rising would take place around 2020. The pre-E3 show later claimed that the game would actually take place in 2023. However, producer Yuji Korekado said in an E3 preview that the game takes place about ten years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and the TGS 2012 pamphlet later confirmed that it would take place in 2018.
A list of trophies/achievements for Metal Gear Rising, which was leaked prior to the game's release, revealed that Armstrong would act as the final boss. Despite being the main antagonist, he does not appear among the other main characters on the official Metal Gear Rising website. Defeating him on Hard or Revengeance difficulty without taking damage will unlock the trophy/achievement "The Politics of Silencing Foes."
Armstrong's boss theme while he is piloting Metal Gear EXCELSUS is "Collective Consciousness." The lyrics contain a message to the unenlightened masses to give up their free will forever and let the country control their souls. The boss theme during the third and final battle is "It Has to be This Way." The lyrics are almost an apology for fighting, acknowledging the sameness between two fighters and accepting that their conflict is inevitable.
Armstrong refers to Raiden as "Saucy Jack" before their final battle. This is a reference to the second letter the serial killer Jack the Ripper (Raiden's namesake) sent to the British police stationed at the Scotland Yard during the time of investigation for the murders.
Armstrong is also one of only two talking bosses who do not contact Raiden via Codec upon being defeated, the only other character being Sam. This was most likely because Armstrong was not a cyborg (his nanomachine base notwithstanding). He does, however, contact Sam via Codec prior to their battle in the Jetstream DLC.
When elaborating on his motives in the cutscene between the first and second phase of the battle, Armstrong says "I Have a Dream," which is a reference to the speech Martin Luther King, Jr. gave during the Civil Rights era.
In a Codec conversation with Kevin Washington, Raiden jokes that Armstrong would not have a problem dodging shoes from angry protesters. This is a reference to an incident involving real life U.S. President George W. Bush in 2008. Similarly, when elaborating on his motives of ending war and having each individual fight for their own beliefs, one of the things he stated was that the reasons for war will not be for oil, referencing a common critique of the second war in Iraq, which claimed that the war was conceptualized due to oil companies' greed for the oil underneath Iraq.
In developer notes for his concept art, included in the Collector's Edition of the Piggyback Guide, character designer Yonghee Cho mentioned that his body was filled with nanomachines to an even higher capacity than Vamp's, and thus granted him far more power than anyone could imagine. They also deliberately made him a nanomachine laced human being in order to show that even humans could prove stronger than cyborgs, should the former possess such enhancements to the human body. He also mentioned that his initial designs emphasized intelligence and made him look sharper, but it was changed because some members felt that the face was not impressive enough. Cho ultimately agreed that the final design corresponded well with his [Armstrong's] vocal style and personal philosophy, although he personally felt that his initial design was still better. Cho, in his commentary, also elaborated on how Armstrong's nanomachines worked.
Armstrong also acted as the final boss of the Jetstream DLC, which elaborated on how Sam got recruited into World Marshal/Desperado. The second phase of the battle used "Collective Consciousness." Defeating him on Hard or Revengeance difficulty without taking damage will unlock the trophy/achievement "You're Hired".
- ^ Seen on his Codec profile in the Jetstream DLC.
- ^ 
- ^ http://waronourshores.com/
Steven Armstrong: I owe you for that speech you wrote. It did wonders for my approval ratings! Now you understand what matters? Filters, information control, none of that matters anymore. People these days don’t care about what’s right or wrong. It’s all about the spin, how well you can shift blame to the other guy. People these days only see what they want to see. ...Don’t tell me you’re still on about that grand jury nonsense. They've got nothing that connects me with Desperado. Besides, the average joe doesn’t give a shit, either way. People these days think money is the solution to all their problems. We need to bring back the greatness of good ol' America! Reclaim the American Dream! To do that, we need to make sacrifices. That's what those pansies in the so-called Tea Party don't seem to realize. This is a revolution, my friend. We are the true Sons of Liberty! Anyway, I gotta run. We’ll talk soon.
- ^ Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Kojima Productions/Platinum Games (2013).
Steven Armstrong: [...]Where every man is free to think - to act - for himself! (Overpowers Raiden's grip and forces him to kneel) Fuck all these limp-dick lawyers and chickenshit bureaucrats. (punches Raiden three times, causing Raiden to stagger, before grabbing Raiden by the head) Fuck this 24/7 Internet spew of trivia and celebrity bullshit. (slams Raiden onto the ground and pins him down, before bringing him back up and turning him around as he prepares a haymaker punch) Fuck American pride. Fuck the media! (punches Raiden in the face with a haymaker) FUCK ALL OF IT! (kicks Raiden away)
- ^ "Make It Right" - Senator Armstrong Leaked Audio
- ^ Ravi Singh of the Metal Gear fansite Snake Soup mentioned in a topic that the promotional poster was posted at his school.
- ^ http://exophase.com/game/metal-gear-rising-revengeance-xbox/achievements/
- ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duLds-TZMGw
|Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance characters|
| Raiden — Blade Wolf — Boris — Kevin — Courtney|
N'mani — N'mani's advisor — Gemini — Doktor — George — Sunny
Samuel Rodrigues — Sundowner — Mistral — Monsoon — Dolzaev
Steven Armstrong — Desperado scientist — Khamsin — J. William
Abraham — Adam — Andrew — Barack — Benjamin
Chester — David (World Marshal) — Donald — Dwight — Frank
Franklin — George (World Marshal) — Gerald — Harry — Herbert
James — John (World Marshal) — Lyndon — Martin — Millard
Richard — Ronald — Rutherford — Stephen — Theodore
Thomas — Ulysses — Warren — William — Zachary