He is voiced by Christopher Randolph.
Hal's father and mother were big fans of science fiction movies, and named his son after the character HAL 9000 featured in 2001: A Space Odyssey. His father forced him into a giant robot called "Metal Gear Sahelanthropus" which caused his mother to send him away, which resulting in his father trapping her in an AI pod which resulting in her suffocating to death. He was later reunited with his son and he remarried a British woman named Julie Danziger. Danziger had a child of her own named Emma, and Emma adopted her new stepfather's surname of Emmerich. Hal and Emma became very close, and Emma developed an infatuation. When Hal was a teenager, he was seduced by his stepmother, and they had a brief affair. In 1997, after Hal's father learned of this, he decided to commit suicide by drowning himself in the family pool, dragging Emma in with him. Emma expected her brother to save her, but he didn't know it was happening as he was with his stepmother at the time. Surviving the incident, Emma always claimed to hate her brother.
Afterwards, Hal, experiencing tremendous guilt for "betraying" Emma and nearly getting her killed, as well as his role in his father's suicide, ran away from home and didn't see any of his family members until several years later, although he did maintain contact with Julie Danziger via letters, where he ended up learning about Emma's intense aquaphobia as a result of the "accident". He dropped out of school but through Internet-based self-study, he secured acceptance to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he earned his PhD at a young age. He also earned additional Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from Princeton University. Scouted by the FBI as a student, he joined their ERF (Engineering Research Facility). After being caught monitoring and hacking their central database, he was forced out of the FBI. In large part, because of his being a fan of anime, he was a regular attendee at the annual Otaku anime convention.
Eventually, Otacon was hired by the defense contractor ArmsTech. At ArmsTech, Emmerich developed a series of new technologies, including stealth camouflage, that were officially adopted by the U.S. Army. Following this, he became the lead engineer for the Metal Gear REX project. He jumped at the chance to make an actual mech-type robot, which appear frequently in the anime he enjoyed. He was led to believe that it was a mobile defense system, but in reality it was a nuclear doomsday weapon.
Shadow Moses Incident
In February 2005, Otacon was held hostage by the Sons of Big Boss on Shadow Moses Island, where he was forced to continue his work on REX under heavy guard. During this time, Otacon developed a strong attraction to FOXHOUND member Sniper Wolf, possibly under the effects of Stockholm Syndrome, and was occasionally allowed by her to feed the wolfdogs on the base.
While confined to his lab, the security detail outside was later eliminated by the Cyborg Ninja, Gray Fox, who then threatened Otacon and demanded to know the whereabouts of his "friend" Solid Snake. In fear of the Ninja, Otacon lost bladder control and urinated on himself and the floor. When Snake interrupted the confrontation shortly thereafter, Otacon hid in a nearby locker while Snake and Fox fought in the lab, spraining his ankle in the process. When Snake finally forced Fox to flee, Otacon reluctantly revealed himself and was shocked to learn the true nature of his creation from Snake, after being interrogated on the subject (as Snake was unaware of Otacon's ignorance of its purpose). Devastated, Otacon realized that he had written yet another chapter in his family's dark history with nuclear weaponry. He decided to take responsibility for his actions, and decided to atone for his mistakes by aiding Snake in his mission, utilizing his stealth camouflage to sneak around the base.
Otacon later aided Snake when he was imprisoned in the medical facility by supplying him with ketchup, as a means to fake injury and trick the guard into investigating (not having the necessary clearance level to open the cell himself). He also supplied Snake with Wolf's handkerchief. The same time, he also discovered that the DARPA Chief had been killed, giving him horror and rage. He later returned to his lab in order to retrieve a stealth camouflage prototype to give to Snake, only to discover that all remaining four had been stolen.
Otacon then went to the communication towers, by hiding in the back of an enemy truck, and met Snake inside Tower B, momentarily startling him and almost causing him to shoot the stealth camouflaged scientist. Otacon was surprised to learn from Snake that the tower's elevator had become inoperable, having just used it himself, and attempted to repair it, due to the lower circular staircase being inaccessible. Around the time Snake shot down a Hind D gunship on the roof, the elevator inexplicably began to function again by itself, with Otacon becoming suspicious of the weight limit alarm being set off after boarding it. When Snake later used it, Otacon soon realized that soldiers must be waiting inside to ambush him, using the stolen stealth camouflage from his lab, and frantically warned him via Codec. Snake was then successful in defeating his would-be attackers.
Distraught that Snake would have to kill Sniper Wolf following a snowfield duel, Otacon eventually came to terms with her, himself, and his position in life. Afterwards, he vowed to continue helping Snake with his mission, although he didn't answer radio calls for a short time during his grieving of Wolf's death. Otacon later overheard the Sons of Big Boss talking about completing the preparations for Metal Gear REX's launch, and told Snake this when Snake entered the REX hangar. He then got the idea of hacking into Baker's private files, to locate information on the weapon's PAL system. During his search, he also relayed any information he found to Snake, including the purpose of REX and its development. Otacon also helped Snake in escaping the gas-filled hangar control room by hacking into the door's main computer, after the latter unwittingly aided terrorist leader Liquid Snake in activating REX. With Otacon's advice, Snake was able to destroy REX and thus defeat the terrorist uprising.
After it was discovered that the Pentagon had sent a nuclear air strike to Shadow Moses, destroying all evidence of what had happened, Otacon decided to remain in the base to aid Snake in his escape. He intended to disable the security locks for the loading tunnel that led outside, nearly sacrificing himself in the process. However, the bombing orders were cancelled shortly before the bombers arrived.
Afterwards, Otacon moved to England for a time, ostensibly because relatives were living there. Following Revolver Ocelot's leaking of REX's schematics on the black market, Otacon and Nastasha Romanenko decide to set up an anti-Metal Gear NGO, Philanthropy. Snake and Otacon soon began a partnership and close friendship that would continue through the next decade, as they would continue to destroy Metal Gear REX derivatives that were being developed by almost every country in the world. During their operations, they also broke into a facility and stole Liquid Snake's corpse, deducing that his corpse might prove useful. During one of their investigations, this time in regards to a U.S. Navy derivative of Metal Gear, Otacon stumbled upon evidence of the Patriots' involvement in the project, although he couldn't find out any more about the organization due to heavy security. He then decided that they should learn more about them in a future operation.
The Manhattan Incident
In 2007, Otacon acted as Snake's radio support during his infiltration of the dummy oil tanker USS Discovery. Philanthropy intended to expose the existence of the U.S. Marines' Metal Gear RAY, which was being transported along the Hudson River, based on intel leaked to Otacon by a trusted source. Snake was to transfer photographs of RAY directly to Otacon, via the Codec, but after discovering that their transmissions were being monitored, he requested that Snake use a terminal on board the tanker instead. To do this, he hacked into an Army IC router in Ohio, disguising the data transfer within the Marine Commandant's speech feed, using BATON and TADIL-J format.
Otacon had intended to extract Snake at the Verazanno Bridge, but the mission ended in disaster when the tanker was sunk by Revolver Ocelot. Otacon managed to sail over to the still sinking vessel in a small boat and rescue Snake. Faking Snake's death by using the body of Liquid Snake, the two went underground after Snake was framed for causing the incident, and they continued their anti-Metal Gear work outside of the public's watchful eye.
In April 2009, Otacon and Snake came out of hiding after learning that a new Metal Gear was being developed at the Big Shell; an offshore cleanup facility set up in the wake of the tanker's supposed oil spill, and recently taken over by terrorists; without his knowledge, it was Liquid who sent information in order to lure Snake to the Big Shell to "free" him. Hal also discovered that his stepsister Emma was involved in developing the new Metal Gear. They infiltrated the facility in order to rescue Emma and stop the Patriots' Arsenal Gear project from continuing, which the terrorists intended to hijack. Snake disguised himself as Navy SEAL Iroquois Pliskin, while Otacon pretended to be Big Shell's security systems architect, entering the facility with Peter Stillman and SEAL Team 10, in order to bypass the plant's security measures for them. Otacon later assisted Snake, when he was knocked unconscious from an explosion in one of the plants struts. He later was introduced to Raiden via Codec by Snake (the latter still assuming the identity of Pliskin), but they were forced to cut it short when they were spotted by various Gurlukovich Mercenaries.
After meeting Raiden, Otacon and Snake were able to rescue Emma from the bowels of the Big Shell and reunite the two step-siblings. They learned that Emma was actually a Patriot engineer, who had been hired to build the Arsenal's AI system, GW. Otacon eventually reconciled with his estranged sister, and she helped them to upload a worm cluster into GW, which they assumed would destroy it. However, Emma died shortly afterwards after succumbing to a knife wound inflicted by terrorist member Vamp. Despite falling into deep despair over the loss of his sister, Snake encouraged Otacon to move on and rescue all the hostages held in the Big Shell. He then stayed in contact to support Raiden until he defeated terrorist leader Solidus Snake. When Raiden discovered that his C.O., the Colonel, was acting strangely, Otacon decided to analyze his previous transmissions between the two. He found that the Colonel's signal originated from within GW itself.
When Snake met back with Otacon, he was given the disk to go over that contained the data of the Wisemen's Committee's names and whereabouts. Otacon found out from the disc that not only was one of the names one of Philanthropy's biggest contributors, but apparently all twelve of them had been dead for more than 100 years. This turned out to be a false lead and, as Snake bluntly put it, "a load of crap."
After the Big Shell Incident, Solid Snake and Otacon disappeared and lived a quiet life. In 2011, Raiden was able to rescue Sunny from the Patriots' clutches and Otacon adopted her.
Liquid Ocelot's Insurrection
In 2014, Roy Campbell (thanks to the booming war economy) contracted Old Snake to help eliminate Liquid Ocelot, the CEO of the mother company Outer Heaven. Snake and Otacon reluctantly accepted, and Otacon assisted Snake from their aircraft using Metal Gear Mk. II. Their first mission in the Middle East was a failure after Liquid Ocelot activated his first test attempt at disabling the SOPsystem in his PMC troops.
When Snake then infiltrated South America and managed to rescue Naomi Hunter, Otacon piloted the helicopter which was able to get her, Snake and Raiden out. He also bore a grudge against Vamp, in large part due to his murder of Emma. Afterwards, aboard the Nomad, Otacon and Naomi became romantically involved, and he started to not wear his glasses because Naomi commented that he looked "handsome" without them. He also cited his experience of making Metal Gear REX to explain to Naomi why they weren't stopping the Cyborg Ninja project.
However, Otacon was crushed when Naomi rejoined Liquid Ocelot and Vamp again. At Shadow Moses, after Raiden defeated Vamp, Naomi confronted Snake, Raiden, and Otacon (via the Metal Gear Mk. III). It was then she revealed that she had terminal cancer, suppressed only by the life-supporting nanomachines in her. She then injected herself with the nanomachine-suppressing syringe to disable them, effectively committing suicide. Devastated, Otacon could not help but recall how many women in his life whom he had loved had died.
Otacon later assisted Snake when they boarded Outer Haven and helped him to disable GW, which had been restored by Liquid Ocelot. After Liquid himself was defeated for good, Otacon was seen as a guest at the relatively small wedding of Meryl Silverburgh and Johnny Sasaki. Here, after Sunny made her first outside friend, he finally gave consent for her to live on the outside. It appeared as though Otacon was aware of Snake's plan to kill himself, as he started to cry and explain that Snake wouldn't be back for a long time when Sunny asked where Snake was.
When Snake did not commit suicide, Otacon and him had a short conversation about what they would do now. Otacon said he would gladly stay with Snake and chronicle the remainder of Snake's life as Snake waited to see what the era would bring.
After the Insurrection, Otacon officially adopted Sunny as her legal guardian and adoptive father. It was thanks to Otacon's connections that Sunny was able to work in Solis. He also started to take more care about his appearance, becoming more attractive. According to a Codec call with Sunny, he spent most of his time being a ladies' man, though he still had the bad habit of keeping women at arm's length (probably due to the fact that every woman he fell in love with has died to unfortunate circumstances).
- Metal Gear REX
- Stealth camouflage
- Solid Eye
- Metal Gear Mk. II and Metal Gear Mk. III
- Virtual Range
Personality and traits
Otacon was a gifted scientist, possessing a high intellect in computer programming and mechanical engineering. A big fan of Japanese animation shows, especially those of the sci-fi and mecha genres, his hobby also gave him an optimistic inspiration and drive to help create new beneficial technologies and innovations for society with his genius, which was also reinforced with a sense of responsibility and level-headed perspective, especially during his experience of the Shadow Moses Incident. He also did not wish to create weapons of war, in particular weapons of mass destruction. Raiden briefly referenced this when telling the German cyberneticist Wilhelm Voigt (nicknamed Doktor) that he and Emmerich are unlikely to get along should they ever meet, due to the latter not particularly minding weapons development.
He was also a self-confessed hacker, which proved invaluable during Philanthropy's intelligence gathering activities. At some point prior to the Big Shell Incident, Otacon had illegally manipulated his and Emma's account on the internet, which his sister later discovered and told him off for during an argument.
Because of Sniper Wolf's death, he also has a hard time coping with women he knew personally being killed, including Emma Emmerich (his stepsister) and Naomi Hunter.
Otacon and Snake appear to have their own handshake, as shown by the duo after Otacons' stepsister, Emma, died of her wounds.
Otacon claimed to have a fear of heights, informing Solid Snake of this in 2005 after watching him rappel down a communications tower. However, he later became a proficient helicopter pilot, having flown helicopters in 2009 (in the Harrier fight and in rescuing hostages) and 2014 (Naomi's escape from South America, Snake's insertion into/recovery from Shadow Moses, and during the attack on Outer Haven). He previously underwent VR training on the Kamov KA-62 civilian model, explaining his ability to pilot the KA-60.
While highly intelligent, his wisdom and thoughtfulness left something to be desired; Otacon's poor attempts to interpret literature and Chinese proverbs for Solid Snake in 2007 prompted Mei Ling to interrupt one of their Codec conversations.
Both Hal and his sister Emma had difficulty controlling their fear, having wet themselves when confronted by possible danger. Snake poked fun at this during a Codec conversion inside a locker during the Tanker Incident, in which Otacon mentioned "I was the one inside the locker that time. We're equal now, huh?" to which Snake responded "Not unless I wet my pants", to which Otacon replies "That's a low blow." Otacon had the habit of adjusting his glasses on occasion by pushing them up his nose. Even after he stopped wearing them for a brief period in 2014, he still touched the top of his nose during Codec conversations with Snake.
According to a Codec call between Raiden and Sunny, when Otacon turned 30, he adopted a more extroverted personality. He started to become more attractive and became a hit with the ladies. However, because of the trauma caused by Sniper Wolf and Naomi Hunter's deaths, he still kept them at arms length.
Otacon told Snake in a Codec conversation that he believed aliens had been visiting Earth for thousands of years.
Emmerich's nickname/codename, Otacon, was derived from "Otaku", a term of Japanese origin that referred to someone who is obsessed with their hobby but in America means being a fan of anime. Otaku are stereotyped as loners; so on a deeper level, Otacon chose his name because he was always alone. This was referenced after being told that Snake worked alone and Otacon replied "Are you an otaku too?"
His first name, Hal, was taken directly from the antagonist, HAL 9000, from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. His father named him after the character due to being a fan of the film, although Emmerich himself was not too proud of his name, as he "wasn't a computer."
Amanda Valenciano Libre | Big Boss | Blade Wolf | Boris Vyacheslavovich Popov | Cécile Cosima Caminades | Chico | Chris Jenner | Courtney Collins | Code Talker | DD | Diane | Ed | Ellen Madnar | Eva | FOXHOUND | George | George Kasler | Gray Fox | Gustava Heffner | Hal Emmerich | Johan Jacobsen | Jonathan | Jennifer | Kazuhira Miller | Kevin Washington | Kyle Schneider | Little John | Maverick Security Consulting, Inc. | Meryl Silverburgh | Naomi Hunter | N'Mani | Nastasha Romanenko | Olga Gurlukovich | Peter Stillman | Philanthropy | Quiet | Para-Medic | Raiden | Reiko Hinomoto | Roy Campbell | Solid Snake | Sunny Emmerich | The Boss | Venom Snake | Wilhelm Voigt