Hideo Kojima has a definite knack for creating memorable, three-dimensional characters that go against our first impressions of them. Originally introduced near the beginning of 2010's Peace Walker, Paz Ortega Andrade sought the help of Big Boss and Kaz Miller after she was forcefully detained by the CIA, telling them that she had accidentally recorded some sensitive information while bird watching with her friend. This article will talk a bit about her character, and features massive spoilers for Peace Walker. There will also be major spoilers for the recently released Ground Zeroes later in this article, though we'll warn you before those begin.
Paz, whose name is Spanish for peace, stated early on that she would do anything to protect her namesake. At only 16-years-old, Paz began studying Costa Rica's Peace Constitution. Her pacifist nature later prevented her from shooting a CIA operative named Hot Coldman, even though he was the one responsible for capturing her and had masterminded the Peace Walker Incident. She quickly joined Militaires Sans Frontières (MSF) after Big Boss stopped Hot Coldman's dangerous plan to put Nuclear Deterrence Theory to the test. She worked mostly in the mess hall and was quick to make friends with the crew at Mother Base.
Like many of the characters featured in Metal Gear Solid, Paz wasn't who she initially appeared to be. It wasn't long after the completion of Metal Gear ZEKE (MSF's bipedal, nuclear-capable tank), that she revealed herself to be Pacifica Ocean, an agent sent by a shadowy figure known as Cipher. She had lied throughout the entire game in order to infiltrate Mother Base, and told Big Boss that he had very little choice but to follow her plan. Upon his refusal, Pacifica aimed ZEKE's nuclear missile at the United States without any sign of hesitation. The resulting battle landed Pacifica into the ocean, where she disappeared for the next year.
Pacifica's audio diary, which can be listened to after Big Boss' final encounter with her, covered the time she spent with MSF during the game's last chapter. The early entries were clearly written by the same cold, calculating operative that hijacked ZEKE with little regard for anything other than her mission. However, her later recordings began to show a change in her character. Spending time with MSF had slowly altered her perception of the world. She began to include unnecessary details, such as the finer points of Mother Base's soccer game, or the the time she spent fishing with Chico and the mercenaries. She then began to express genuine interest in the upcoming “Peace Day” that Kaz Miller had organized, in which he and Paz would sing a song he had written, titled “Love Deterrent.”
Her last few entries had her begging for more time at Mother Base, going as far as to lie to Cipher about her progress. She would ultimately have to miss Peace Day, with Cipher aware that ZEKE had been completed. Like her Paz persona, Pacifica found herself unable to shoot the enemy when Chico discovered she was making alterations to the Metal Gear. This begs the question as to whether her confrontation with Big Boss had been an act, much like her time spent masquerading as Paz, with her trying to deny her growing allegiance with MSF. These diary entries would be instrumental in getting Big Boss, as well as the player, to care about her safety during Ground Zeroes.
Warning: Ground Zeroes spoilers start here.
By the time Big Boss made his way to Paz's holding cell in Camp Omega, she had been reduced to a shell of the person she once was. Big Boss took her to the evacuation helicopter, only to learn that a bomb had been planted in her abdomen. It was quickly removed, but a second bomb, which was implied to have been inserted inside her vagina, led to her undoing.
In one final act, Pacifica opened the helicopter's door, jumping into the ocean in an attempt to save Big Boss and the others. This selflessness completed the transformation first showcased in her diary, with Pacifica genuinely caring about the well-being of others, much as her Paz persona would have. Paz Ortega Andrade proved to be a much more complicated character than players could have imagined during her first appearance. Kojima resisted the urge to make her a one-dimensional plot twist villain, instead opting to give her the emotional range and conflicting motivations we would expect from a real person. We look forward to seeing how Paz's death will affect Big Boss during the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which is expected to launch for the PS4 and Xbox One.