Metal Gear Solid 4 character countdown: Johnny Sasaki
June 6, 2008
We have just a few more weeks left before we finally get our hands on Konami Digital Entertainment’s Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and the home stretch of the waiting period is killing us. To keep you preoccupied, we decided to feature some of the key characters of the game on a weekly basis to freshen our memories on their roles in the series. This week, your requests have been heard: it’s the amazing Johnny Sasaki!
Welcome to the penultimate edition of the Metal Gear Solid 4 character countdown! We’re roughly a week away from the launch of what’s shaping up to be a Game of the Year contender and the excitement level is officially at fever pitch. Before we wrap this article series up, we’ll be giving you a break from all the serious stuff.
You probably guessed by now that we were saving Solid Snake in his faded glory for last, but have you contemplated who heralds his arrival? Oh come on, you’ve been calling him out for weeks! Due to insistent public demand, let’s all give it up for the incredible Johnny Sasaki!
Character History: What makes Johnny different from all the other characters featured in the past is the fact that he’s not a major one. He has never impacted the storyline in a big way, and his appearances never last for very long. So, why does he deserve his own feature? Because to many people who have played the series, he is simply unforgettable.
Johnny Sasaki was introduced in the first Metal Gear Solid as a soldier in Shadow Moses who was tricked by Meryl and robbed of his uniform. If you can recall a butt-naked fellow who’s out cold inside the base, then you’ve already seen him in his birthday suit.
That wasn’t the best part of the Sasaki chronicles in MGS1, though. The highlight was having him as a prison guard in between torture sessions with revolver Ocelot where he appears as a clothed guard suffering from colds and diarrhea.
Tricking him into letting you escape was one of the nicest challenges that Kojima brought up. From time to time, he’ll leave you alone to rush to the toilet where he does his thing while you listen and plan your prison break via ketchup.
While his name wasn’t mentioned in-game, it appeared in MGS1‘s ending credits. The origin of Johnny’s character was even explained in the Metal Gear Integral expansion release.
It turns out that Johnny Sasaki was patterned after laid-back MGS1 character model designer Hideki Sasaki. Both apparently were mild-mannered men whose other things in common remain unspecified to this day.
In Metal Gear Solid 2, encounters with Johnny weren’t as up-close as before. There were still two incidents where people can experience his trademark diarrhea attacks, but you’ll have to whip out your directional microphones to listen in.
If you missed those two encounters, it’s perfectly understandable because they were hidden pretty nicely. Don’t worry – you don’t have to play through the game again. Just watch these clips and be blown away:
First encounter in MGS2
Second Encounter in MGS2
That second one where you have to provide cover fire for Emma Emmerich was particularly hard to spot if you’re just playing to finish the game and not hunting for Easter eggs. Still, it’s easily one of the most informative and interesting conversations in the series and no fan should miss it. You’ll notice that this Sasaki is the same one from the Shadow Moses crisis, but he seems to be nicer to people now.
It’s really cool that Konami has allowed Johnny to live on because his head was closer to the chopping block than most people realized before MGS2 was released. It was reported that in earlier versions of the game, he was supposed to be a spy for The Patriots scheduled to die after contact with Raiden. Fortunately, Richard Ames took the bullet for him and we’ll be seeing him real soon.
In MGS3, we were treated not only to a meeting with Solid Snake’s predecessor, but also to Johnny’s own. It was here that we learned more about the Sasaki lineage as Naked Snake came into contact with Johnny’s grandfather who was serving under Col. Volgin. The Sasakis were apparently from the US originally, but grandpa Johnny decided to go Red for some reason. The unique digestive disorder that afflicts the Sasaki family really goes way back. The older Sasaki lets us hear some old school poopin’ in the clip below:
Johnny’s insane survival instincts that saw him through Shadow Moses and Big Shell seem to have paid off as he’s now getting what looks to be his biggest role yet. He’ll be back in MGS4 in a big way as he joins Meryl’s Rat Patrol Team 01 in an unprecedented jump to the side of the good guys. He’s been featured in several trailers already and we know it’s him because of the trademark voice and habits.
Yup, he’s still got an uncontrollable tummy, but more than that he’s the only member of his squad who doesn’t have nanomachines in his body. This makes him immune to Liquid Ocelot’s hijacking of SOP systems in soldiers, setting him up for what could be a defining moment in his career.
The Johnny Sasaki we’ve seen in MGS4 taking some CQC from Old Snake seems to be the same one from previous games. He spoke of being a 10-year veteran which Snake could barely believe. He’ll be getting a new nickname, by the way, and it’ll be Akiba. That’s shorthand for Akihabara, the popular Japanese district where high-tech gadgets are peddled at the best prices. He was given this moniker because of his fascination with gizmos.
That’s about all the time we have for Johnny. Stand by for more Metal Gear madness that we’ll be bringing you soon.