Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain[b] is an action-adventure stealth game developed by Kojima Productions and published by Konami. It was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on September 1, 2015. It is the ninth installment in the series that was directed, written and designed by Hideo Kojima following Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, a stand-alone prologue released the previous year, as well as his final work at Konami.
Set in 1984, nine years after the events of Ground Zeroes and a decade before the events of the original Metal Gear, the story follows mercenary leader Punished “Venom” Snake as he ventures into Soviet-occupied Afghanistan and the Angola–Zaire border region to exact revenge on the people who destroyed his forces and came close to killing him during the climax of Ground Zeroes. It carries over the tagline of Tactical Espionage Operations first used in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.
The Phantom Pain was critically acclaimed upon release, with its gameplay drawing praise for featuring a variety of mechanics and interconnected systems which allow a high degree of player freedom in approaching objectives. While the story was acknowledged for its emotional power and exploration of mature themes, it drew criticism from some critics for its lack of focus, with further scrutiny over its second half and ending that left several plot points unresolved; this was linked to conclusive evidence of removed content, which led some to suggest that the game was released unfinished. Despite this, The Phantom Pain received perfect review scores from several publications and was described by some critics to be one of the greatest stealth games of all time. A complete edition that bundles The Phantom Pain and Ground Zeroes together, titled Metal Gear Solid V: The Definitive Experience, was released in October 2016.