Why Quiet Wears That Skimpy Outfit In Metal Gear Solid V

Why Quiet Wears That Skimpy Outfit In Metal Gear Solid V

In September of 2013, not long after the reveal of Metal Gear Solid V‘s scantily-clad sniper, Quiet, director Hideo Kojima took to Twitter to talk about one of his latest creations.

“I know there’s people concerning about ‘Quiet’ but don’t worry,” he wrote in a series of messages. “I created her character as an antithesis to the women characters appeared in the past fighting game who are excessively exposed. ‘Quiet’ who doesn’t have a word will be teased in the story as well. But once you recognise the secret reason for her exposure, you will feel ashamed of your words & deeds.”

For a long time people theorised about this “secret reason for exposure.” Now that the game is out, and we’ve learned the explanation behind her outfit, are we ashamed of our words and deeds? Well…


OK. So. The reason Quiet wears that bikini outfit is that she breathes through her skin, using photosynthesis to absorb air, water, and nutrients. She has to do this because her body is infested with parasites.

At the beginning of the game, the villain Skull Face sends his soldier Quiet — in standard military fatigues — to assassinate Snake. She fails. Snake’s hospital roommate, Ishmael, manages to set her on fire, and she falls screaming from the hospital window. As we find out later, Skull Face was able to save her life by infecting her body with magical parasites that both give her special abilities and turn her into a bioweapon.

Parasites — the new nanomachines! — are a key part of the plot in Metal Gear Solid V, and I won’t go too much into detail here, but to sum it up: Because of these parasites, Quiet can’t speak in English, and she can’t wear normal clothing. During one scene later in the game, soldiers have forced her to put clothes over her bikini, and you see her come close to suffocating.

It’s never quite clear why these parasites affect different characters in different ways, though. Sometimes they kill people right away; other times they heal wounds and give their hosts special abilities. It’s also never explained why The End from Metal Gear Solid 3 doesn’t have to wear a bikini for his own photosynthesis, which is very similar to Quiet’s. (The game even implies that The End had a version of the parasites in question.)

Also, it’s worth noting, if you sit with Quiet in your helicopter for a little while, Kojima makes her do things like this:

Which leads, of course, to the question: Are you ashamed of your words and deeds?


    • Exactly what I was going to say. Sounds like someone started with “she should just wear a bra” and worked backwards.

    • Yeah I think he’d be better off saying ‘ I like boobs and chicks in g-strings, as do a large amount of the people we are selling the game too, so suck on that, oh, and also some flimsy backstory reason. We are not ashamed of our words, deeds or sexy animated chicks.”

      Oh, and is that a dog wearing an eye-patch?

      • yep, dog has an eye patch, pup is missing an eye when you pick him up early on. you can later customise it by removing the patch or giving it a fake eye. I like the eyepatch though tbh

  • “She breathes through her skin, and that’s why a g-string is necessary”

    Can’t fault that logic.

    • Have you been on the internet in the last 5 years? That’s why they have to justify their decisions.

    • As far as I’m concerned they’re allowed to add tits to their heart’s content, but fair’s fair add some lovely man boobs too…or a few swinging nutsacks…

      • Haha, that’s pretty much my opinion on the whole matter as well. Skimpy females should equal equally skimpy male characters and I’ll be appeased 🙂

        • you can go topless into missions as snake, each of the base camo gear has shirtless, regular and scarf options

          • Wasn’t necessarily directed at this game. I’ve never played any MGS games and I haven’t played this one either. Was more a general comment on character design as a whole. Thanks for letting me know anyway.

  • I don’t know, excuses for why a female character is scantily clad are still just that, excuses – I mean Metal Gear kinda gets a pass because it often sexualises male characters as much as female characters, but The Quiet’s design still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

    But I find it hard to judge what is okay sexualisation and what isn’t. It’s not really my place to make that judgement call on whether a character is gross and sexist, or empowering. For example, I find Power Girl’s design to be hugely insulting, what with her boob window and all, but I am well aware that she has a huge female fanbase who find her to be an empowering character. Much the same, I find Bayonetta to be an extremely strong and empowering character, but she’s definitely been subject to some (relatively fair, I suppose) criticism herself.

    I think the main thing is to have the character be something outside of the fanservice, which both Power Girl and Bayonetta manage to be. Having not played MGSV, I can’t say the same for The Quiet, but I’m willing to give Kojima the benefit of the doubt (at least willing to believe that he’s as weird with her as he is with anything else).

  • I have many an issue with it. Primarily is the camera’s “male gaze” throughout cutscenes, which very much sits on the border between being a laughable “commentary” on it, and being just really pervy.

    Also the whole breathing through the skin thing. I mean, it does make a sort of sense that she’d need a lot of skin exposed, since the inner part of lungs are all about maximising surface area (SA of your lungs is probably somewhere around the 50 square metre range). But then her SA is a lot less than that, so we have to assume that she has better oxygen transfer across her skin than a person does in their lungs, which I’m sure should have other effects.

    Also the no eating thing is bunk. Plants still need to get minerals (and stuff) from the soil. Photosynthesis would only give her energy, and your body can’t survive on calories alone.

    Oh yeah, and why not a mesh top? I mean, it is the 80s. Shit, whatsername-the-pom wore one on some episode of The Voice AU, so they’re clearly the height of style.

  • @coco

    Agreed. So sick of society thinking everyone must justify this sort of thing. It’s allowed to exist, if it offends you then don’t play it. No one is forcing anyone else to view or play.

    So what if there’s a hyper sexualised female in a game? It’s healthy to embrass ones sexuality, as opposed to supressing it by using subjective political and moral ideals. Even if Quiet were there only to arouse (which she isn’t) then DONT LOOK! No one has the right to tell others what they shoukd or shouldn’t view/play.

    Social justice warriors and white knights are all just sexually supressed, frustrated beta males without a secure sexual identity. Stuff em. I bet 99% are 20 year old virgins.

    • Anyone who uses the term ‘beta males’ is 100% confirmed as a 20 year old virgin without a secure sexual identity.

  • “I know there’s people….” he wrote in a series of messages. “FAP FAP FAP FAP FAP…. feel ashamed of your words & deeds.”

  • She could have been fully clothed and womens rights groups would have found something to whinge about.

  • so … couldn’t she just wear natural fibers that would breathe instead of the nylon and polyester she’s in? or if you still wanted to go the skin tight route because people need to fantasize about her just make her wear a full body suit that feeds oxygen directly to her skin

    • “Because shut up”, I expect. I’m all for multi-tasking, but this is why character design and ‘alone time’ should never mix.

    • From the description, it sounds like the answer is photosynthesis, which would require sunlight hitting the skin.

      This also explains why her skin is a rich green colour.

      • make the suit also have a uv light array on the inside so it’s a constant supply. I’d assume there’s some kind of parasitic version of chlorophyll to get around the green anime tiddies

  • Does anyone else feel all this hysteria about a woman in a Metal Gear game having a little less clothing is distracting people from the real message?

    From the moment she arrives on Mother Base to the minute she leaves it, Quiet’s subject to a different set of rules compared to the countless other recruits Big Boss ballooned up into the sky. I’ve walked by my soldiers discussing with pride just how diverse the Diamond Dogs are; Boss doesn’t discriminate between gender, race or nationality when gathering the best and brightest of his enemies to join him. And yet when someone truly exceptional enters their ranks they treat her with abject contempt; the majority is frightened of a minority showing them up, and so turn to fear, anger and hate. The Medical platform, where Quiet is kept caged during her stay on Mother Base, is littered with vandalism telling her to go home and die, calling her a traitor and a killer as if nobody else there hadn’t killed someone or turned their back on their country to join the Diamond Dogs.

    This could be taken even further if I were to discuss the motives behind Quiet’s silence: if she were to speak English, Quiet would be Patient Zero of a pandemic that would wipe out all English-speaking people. While the rhetoric Quiet receives from Diamond Dogs includes threats to ‘talk or die’, her silence marks the character’s true nobility in suffering for the sake of those condemning her.

    So what we are left with is a litany of hurtful, utterly hypocritical harassment against someone a little bit different wanting only what everyone else had been given, acting differently in the name of a greater good than the masses can understand. Should be familiar enough to anyone who’s followed the growing call for diversity in our area.

    What if the story of Quiet is Kojima’s statement on the last few years of games media? Taking the vital message of the need for more inclusiveness, a message struggling to penetrate the more stubborn minds of the community, and wrapping it in, let’s face it, a more boy-friendly appearance, in an insidious effort to inspire sympathy in those who would otherwise by unswayed?

    Makes it a little disappointing that everyone’s too caught up over her outfit to notice the underlying social commentary. Maybe not ‘ashamed of words and deeds’ disappointing, but all the same.

  • As ocelot said; it’s photo synthesis. Like what “the end” from the cobras. Mind you the wnd wasn’t wearing a gstring, neither were the other skull members…
    Yeah, boobies is the main reason.

    • Ummm.

      There are Skull Members wearing slightly more, but the exact same as what Quiet wears. It’s in a story mission maybe 3/4 through Africa.

      • Were the first and second skulls half nude?
        The dude ones?
        And i should clarify,i didn’t mean ALL the skulls, i meant super human skulls like the first ones.

        • Dudes, no. Females – yes. Reasons?

          Different strand of the Parasite ,apparently. You only encounter this particular set of Skull Operatives once.

          • Sooooo it’s not a bit strange that the females are the only half naked one?
            Then clearly boobs were a reason behind it.
            I mean, why not just make them all wear g string? Or all wear clothes?
            Reason: boobs

          • Not to me. I bought the game openly knowing the culture behind most Jap oriented media (Anime serves as a case in point) so it doesn’t really bother my conscious at all.

            For me – if you add this up and compare it with all the other crazy stuff in the Metal Gear universe:
            Nanomachines, Psycho Mantis, Man on Fire, Bipedals, Skullface ffs, Huey and his Legs, Support Team being able to change the weather – And this is in 1984

            It is a pretty minor thing to consider. IMO, it’s just wild for a lot of the Western / Australasian Audience simply because it’s foreign.

          • I’mnot offended. Same as when some one recommended ghost on the shell 2.0 to me, as a person who doesn’t watch anime i was surprised but not offended. Same here really.
            I expected it and realize that theeres a in game reason, but we all know the main reason was boobies 😉

          • I figure they thought there was enough bare male ass on show in the first half hour of the game to balance things out.

            Seriously, bare male ass in an open-back hospital gown is basically a character of its own in the opening sequence.

            But nobody wants to talk about how demeaning that is to men do they? Strange that.

          • Not really demeaning, it was a actual out fit that goes with the kind of area. Any gender would wear that robe.
            As i said before: I’m not offended by any of this.

  • So she is scantily clad, and there is a story behind it. In fact, there is another character in the game canon that had the same affliction.

    Frankly that is laudable.

      • You mean the guy who’s suit was the reason he got energy from the sun, not his skin?

        • Is there a reason within canon that he had access to a technologically advanced sun suit and Quiet does not?

          • Probably the same reason the magic parasites can booby-trap her vocal cords and completely alter her lungs, skin and associated cellular structure while outwardly unchanged so as to let her remain spank-material.

            A Wizard did it.

          • Sorry, I wasn’t asking for a generic guess, I was asking about a specific situation with evidence.

    • You’re right. The explanation for it doesn’t make any sense like the way nanomachines that give you vampire powers did. Or how they explained why a nuke launcher needs to look like a dinosaur mech on two legs with real screeching sounds. Or how grafting someone’s arm on you can take over your brain and turn you into a different person.

      I hate when traditionally serious games throw in ridiculous stuff like bikini snipers.

      • Dude. Yes, all that shit is bananas ridiculous, I know that. But this, come the fuck on. They introduce a single new female character, and then reduce her to being a pair of boobs. Okay, sure, I can buy that reasoning, but why dress her in that way? If she needed sheer, light clothing to allow her to breathe, there is a myriad of other outfits they could have put her in.

        How strange that her legs are covered in torn stockings, but they leave her top-half mostly uncovered. What, she breathes better through the skin on her chest? It’s actually insulting. And don’t get me wrong – I love this series and Hideo, but really, it’s ridiculous.

          • 1. That’s a photo, not a character model running around.
            2. An unzipped jumpsuit does not match Quiet’s outfit.
            3. That’s a saucy pose from one part of the game for a non-major character.
            4. That’s one scene.

            I’m not saying this is the first time this shit’s been played, but it’s the most embarrassing excuse for it.

          • Well sure, the argument holds up if you discount every other occurrence of it happening.

            And for the record Eva in number two does specifically strip down to a bikini only in a pivotal scene. Number 3, that’s one of FOUR scenes in the game, all of which correspond to the major boss battles in the game. Hardly minor occurrences. Number 4 is an entire gameplay sequence, not just one scene, you are literally cartwheeling around fully nude for over 20 minutes.

            And if you think the fact that Snake’s butt’s in your face for most of these games can’t be a “sexualised” thing, I point you to this distressing caption I found while doing research for this argument: http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lx8ko2SANq1r96kn6o1_500.jpg

            You can’t just pick and choose which in world explanations hold up and which don’t. Like I said in another article, if you say “this counts, this doesn’t” when you’re talking about fictional world building, you sound like someone trying to make arguments using the Bible.

          • Now hold on… If they can’t ignore all the times there’s a male running around in these games with their ass hanging out then their arguments will start to look kind of ridiculous.

            I don’t defend the way Quiet is dressed and I don’t really care, because when I saw it was something in a Metal Gear game I was like ‘How is this a surprise to ANYONE?’

          • On top of that, this is a game with Bipedal Mechs, Crazy Psychotic – Man on Fire shit along with cybernetics – in the 80’s.

        • she breathes better through the skin on her chest?

          Because it’s closer to her lungs, duh!

          But yeah, sillyness to the max here on this one here from Hideo.

        • There is a Gray XOF uniform you can get for her if you don’t like her current outfit!

          Downside for it I guess is that it’s encountered at the end game.

        • Insulting? The dutch model and actress behind the character quite enjoyed playing the role, and actually finds her quite empowering. I really don’t see how you can be insulted, since you had no part in the role ? If you don’t like the character, that’s fine, but to suggest that it insults you is a bit of a stretch.

          “When Quiet was first revealed, there was some controversy on the internet because of the way she looks. Joosten said she was surprised at first by the sketches as well, but she stated once again that there is a narrative reason her character is wearing little clothing. “I cannot reveal it yet.” she added. She also explained that she is sometimes annoyed by how female game characters look in games, for example in the Dead or Alive series. But she feels it is different for Quiet, because this is a character with substance. Furthermore, she believes that Quiet is a tough character, not a helpless woman who has to be saved by men.”

          I agree with her; Quiet is a force to be reckoned with. She’s mysterious because she’s a mute, obviously incredibly swift and deadly, and the only reason Big Boss is alive is because she willed it so. “Reduced to a pair of boobs” is a gross oversimplification. You’re going purely off what’s on the surface.

          At the end of the day, if you don’t like the media, don’t consume the media. The actress who did Quiet isn’t going to waste a thought on it because it would have been a fun experience and she loves the character. Motion capture is a crazy new experience for those involved in video game development and she was coached by military experts; sounds to me like a female actress doing really well for herself and an empowering character on the other side.

  • I like how we all skim over the fact that every single plot divice in MGS games are ridiculous.

    Hey guys, just let me reattach this arm here and become that bad guy again!


    Edit: Sorry Spoilers 🙂

  • God forbid you all get the Motherbase Cutscene (raining) with her.

    Then the outcry will be just amazing ^_^

  • As soon as I see the words “beta male”, “SJW” or “white knight” mentioned in a comments section, I usually take that as my cue to leave.

    Ahm oot.

  • Oh no fanservice! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!!

    When did this world become a bunch of prudes?

    Yeah, Quiet is wearing next to nothing. Kojima gave his reason (not a great one TBH) and it’s declared “not good enough”. It’s a shame that creators/developers need to justify these things all the time now. Kojima has been adding fanservice into MGS games since MGS1 without having to pander to the censorship crowd. If the dude wants to put tits into his game, then he’s allowed to put tits into his game. Don’t like it? Design your own game instead of complaining.

    As for what she does in the helicopter… it’s stretching exercises FFS! I wish I had the space to do those on a plane trip overseas or even locally. Having to be cramped up in a vehicle like that would hurt even the most healthy of bodies… But nobody seems to see that, just what she’s wearing.

    Also, from what I’ve seen:
    Bearded shirtless Ryu from Street Fighter = Good and appropriate
    Bikini wearing Quiet from MGSV = Bad and unappropriate

    Does no one else see the hypocrisy here?

    • I’d like to hope that there are some here on Kotaku, but I’m more concerned about the:

      9/11 Conspiracies with the cut ending. I am praying to god that we get something more this Friday/Saturday.

      The game is called The Phantom Pain. This is just… a Social experiment.

  • Why do stories NEED justification and why are people misappropriating the definitions of actual media (film, tv, music, game) conventions in order to support their justification? How much would it suck if had to justify Rocket being a Racoon? Seems that’s the implication, here. Stories need to be morally justified. It is sexist but shaming people won’t do anything because it’s nothing to be ashamed about. This isn’t a war, it’s a discussion, war implies casualties but a discussion implies reconciliation. Don’t shame people for a bikini in a video game or because you’ve suddenly found out what “male gaze” means (which invalidates all other legitimate media and visual storytelling theories and techniques, of course) yet callously apply it to every instance where your brain can’t reconcile a reason (or “justification”) immediately. Why is the “male gaze” a relevant theory but not juxtaposition, confrontation, tone, performance etc. why are all of these entirely and completely invalidated as soon as someone without any media education spouts “male gaze”? We’re not teaching people to be cognitive through shame and generalising of media conventions/theories, all we’re doing is teaching them that the existence of a bikini is sexist and without it, it’s not.

    Casual sexism and the male gaze are concepts that have been around for decades, yet we’re only now learning about it? How about we actually support what people need to know to understand how it all fits together before grabbing individual theories and washing them randomly over everyone with a bikini. There are stories about porn sites (on Kotaku and Gizmodo) that contain less judgement and shaming language than this one. Quiet is completely sexualised in her appearance and visual presentation, the conventions fit, it’s there, no argument. I’m simply stating that this is not where we stop, we don’t just stop thinking when we’ve reached our point. I found Quiet to be utterly compelling.

    Being a reader, I was easily able to put together several conventions of her character that ignored her looks: she’s mute, she identifies with Snake, is aggressive to all other men, acts freely and without shame, is highly capable physically, feels suffocated when constrained, is highly intelligent and cognitive (evidenced by how often she saves people without warning) as well as supremely aware. All of this led me to believe her behaviour was a result of trauma or abuse – which is almost what she seems to expect of men and the camera confirms this.

    Now, if we simply look at her physical representation: wears no clothes for dubious reasons, has giant boobs, camera emphasises sexuality from the perspective of men despite her level of sexuality and orientation also being dubious. This says…. she’s sexy.

    None of this erases her portrayal, which can be condemned but juxtaposed with at the very least a description of the actual traits of the character that extend past physical, there’s a lot to learn about media here and part of me feels that generalising and expecting a clear justification for every individual from every perspective on every part of a narrative judged by those less-educated in the concepts falls short of the mark. People get the male gaze, people get casual sexism, instead of asking people to throw their moral judgement towards things they’ve only routinely considered seems like an end justifying the means. There’s an obvious dissonance with the way her character IS and the way she’s represented visually, why add sexuality on top of these traits? The level of discussion surrounding Quiet has been atrocious and irresponsible, there’s enough ACTUALLY here to make a case for her being subject to the male gaze but to stop there and not extend is such an easy propaganda tactic, I’m surprised people are cool with it. I’m surprised people react with anger whenever her actual character is mentioned without reference to her looks, these are clear indicators people are reacting to what they know and dismissing what they don’t want to know. The biggest problem here is that I don’t think it hurts the narrative that overt sexism is overt, it is still overt, regardless of what else exists but the complete dismissal of other legit conventions when these are just as relevant and applicable as the male gaze is nothing more than manipulative.

    • Come on man, I have enough reading at work to do.

      Someone give me the finer points here.

      But on Rocket Racoon he has no thumbs, story is broken, good movie though.

    • Rocket – science experiment, who wears body armour.
      Quiet – sentient parasites that can booby-trap brains via the speech centre of the brain, and specific languages. But they’re polite enough to warn her what will happen. Because parasites can communicate. “We still want to send her into combat… but we can’t be arsed creating armour to work around said exhibitionist parasites.”

    • I’m glad there’s someone else looking into this. There’s a lot more to Quiet than her clothes, and it’s a damn shame only a couple of people are seeing it.

    • Yes, pretty much 100% of the time any sort of sexualisation or “offensive” elements of video games settings and narratives are viewed as an isolated concept rather than a discursive construct that exists in a limitless web of meaning and connection. Western views of promiscuity vs. Japanese views, for example, is a whole discussion in itself that needs to be had before we even get to what she’s wearing.

      And I agree that there’s a lot to her character and also the way other characters respond to her that is so much more interesting than the clothes she wears. I mean, by all means talk about that stuff, but at least have a considered argument, rather than, as you said, “bikini = bad”.

  • As long as people remember that we’re dealing with personal tastes, not universal truths here, there’s no problem. Criticism is healthy as long as it doesn’t cross the line into attempted censorship. Artists are free to depict whatever they want, and we’re free to praise or criticise it as long as we don’t try to attack or shame the artist, or pressure them into changing their art.

  • Who fucking cares? Plenty of women would find her sexy, the only people that have a problem with it are the kinds that don’t have sex. It’s a fucking game, this isn’t real life and despite what some people think SOME women ENJOY acting like her. Some women enjoy sex and sexualizing themselves more than men. If this was in every game backlash would make sense, its not, in 2015 plenty of games have picked up the ball on showing women fairly and making them equalized, more could be done but that doesn’t mean a character like Quiet shouldn’t exist. The photosynthesis thing is COOL because its stupid and we can all see through it. Thanks Kojima for making a great game, I only wish he had less clothes in it.

  • So, what happens to her at night when there’s no sun? Does she suffocate?

    Why can’t they just make clothes with lights on the inside lining so that she can still photosynthesise?

      • But that’s not what the article says. The article says that she needs photosynthesis to breathe. And that she came close to suffocating when someone tried to make her wear clothes.

        • In-game they don’t call it Photosynthesis, they say that it is *similar* to Photosynthesis. There are cassette tapes that relate to this that I’d be more than willing to pull up for you, once I get home.

  • Me thinks some people just need to go out and visit a coastal town/city sometime when it’s warm outside. Quiet is over-dressed for that.

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