Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 were pulled from PlayStation and Xbox digital stores by Konami. The official reason seems to be licensing issues. “We are currently working on renewing the licenses for select historical archive footage used in-game,” reports the Konami spokesperson.
Anyone who played the Metal Gear Solid series probably knows exactly what the footage in question is. It is probably not some specific clip. But MGS uses A LOT of real-life footage. Especially during great speeches. This often includes images of missiles or rockets being moved around. Tanks, blueprints, marching soldiers, a great deal of historical footage orbiting military topics can be found in any of the games.
The footage does fulfill an important purpose from a design perspective. And that is grounding you in the experience. Metal Gear Solid is often about cybernetic ninjas, and vampires powered by nanomachines. But Hideo Kojima wants his fictional United States and USSR to be grounded. After all, when the game is not too busy showing off the curves of some heroine, it carries a profound and strong anti-war message.
And the real-life clips are there as a grim reminder. The cyber-ninjas and vampires do not exist. But the ultimate villain and the most haunting weapon from Metal Gear Solid does exist. The nuclear bomb is as real, and as deadly, as it gets. And that footage of missiles being moved around is there to remind you of that.
Are Metal Gear Solid 2 And 3 Ever Coming Back?
This is the burning question right now. On one hand, Konami said they aim to work out the issue. And to reinstate the games in the digital storefronts. This does seem simple enough. I mean historic footage is usually licensed out without much pushback. At least compared to the music industry, and lately the football industry.
But what if someone extraordinary greedy was to turn up amid all this? MGS 2 and 3 are not exactly bestsellers since they have been out for 18 years now. And I just cannot imagine Konami caring a great deal about the series, since they allowed Survive to happen.
They might even pull a Rockstar, and release 60$ remasters as the only way to buy the product. But let’s just be optimistic for once, and hope that the games do come back soon. Or if everything else fails, Konami could always substitute the footage quite easily in the digital releases.