[UPDATE 11/18/21] As implied by Konami’s wording that the games would be delisted “starting from November 8th”, Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 have begun falling off of digital stores. So far the GOG.com, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita versions have been removed (except for Hong Kong region). I have no way to check from an NVIDIA Shield device but wasn’t able to find them listed on the regular Play Store anymore.
The Xbox 360 version was still available, and even on sale briefly, but was delisted just hours after I made this update. That now leaves the Nintendo 3DS as the only widely available version of the game, but I wouldn’t wait too much longer if you’re interested.
It seems doubtful in some cases but here’s hopin’ for a brief delisting and a happy return to form for all versions of the games. 🤞 Our original post from November 8th continues below.
Konami announced on Sunday, November 7th that all current digital versions of Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3, along with any bundles that include them, will begin being removed from stores today, November 8th. While they claim that it is only a temporary delisting while licenses around “select historical archive footage” is renewed, there are concerns already that the games may never return to some platforms.
As Sony has cut off new releases for PlayStation 3 and Vita, it seems unlikely that the games will return there. If the licenses can be renewed without altering any part of the game’s size or structure then they may simply pop back up. But if even a copyright date in the credits requires a change, that could be enough to qualify as a separate release which Sony currently doesn’t allow.
Doing a bit of digging last night I found that both games’ end credits include a special thanks to Tohokushinsha Film Corporation. While they do provide translation and dubbing services for games, they are also a 60-year-old film distributor partly owned by both Toei and the Tokyo Broadcasting Company. It seems likely that this is where the licensed “archive footage” comes from. Thankfully, Tohokushinsha is still in operation today so hopefully the renewal process is quick and the games can return as soon as possible.
You can read Konami’s full announcement below that conveniently includes all affected versions available today… well, until later today.
Thank you for playing the METAL GEAR series. We are currently working on renewing the licenses for select historical archive footage used in-game, therefore, we have made the temporary decision to begin suspending the sale of METAL GEAR SOLID 2, METAL GEAR SOLID 3 and all products that include these games from digital storefronts globally starting from November 8th, 2021.
We sincerely ask for your patience and understanding as we work towards making these products available for purchase once again. Thank you for your continued support of the METAL GEAR series.
Which products will be temporarily removed?
・PlayStation®3 METAL GEAR SOLID 2 SONS OF LIBERTY HD EDITION
・PlayStation®3 METAL GEAR SOLID 3 SNAKE EATER HD EDITION
・PlayStation®3 METAL GEAR SOLID HD EDITION
・PlayStation®Vita METAL GEAR SOLID 2 SONS OF LIBERTY HD EDITION
・PlayStation®Vita METAL GEAR SOLID 3 SNAKE EATER HD EDITION
・PlayStation®Vita METAL GEAR SOLID HD COLLECTION
・PlayStation™Now METAL GEAR SOLID HD COLLECTION
・Xbox 360 METAL GEAR SOLID HD EDITION: 2 & 3
・Nintendo 3DS METAL GEAR SOLID SNAKE EATER 3D
・GOG.com METAL GEAR SOLID 2 SUBSTANCE
・NVIDIA® SHIELD™ METAL GEAR SOLID 2 HD for SHIELD TV
・NVIDIA® SHIELD™ METAL GEAR SOLID 3 HD for SHIELD TV
*Some of the above titles are not available in some countries and regions
Thanks to everyone who pointed out the news Sunday evening. I’ve added the date to the Watch List calendar for now.