Due to certain expired content licenses, Konami had to withdraw Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater of digital stores as of November 8 and until further notice.
Through a short statement, the Japanese company (which is also behind the new eFootball) revealed that the situation is specifically due to “certain historical archive material” that appears at some points in the game. Likewise, the withdrawal of MGS 2 and MGS 3 it will only be temporary, as Konami is in negotiations to renew those licenses.
Although only three titles are affected, the number of versions that will be withdrawn is greater as they are reissues released in the form of remasters on various platforms: Metal Gear Solid HD Collection on PS3 and PS Vita, Metal Gear Solid 2 HD Edition on PS3, PS Vita and Xbox 360, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater on Nintendo 3DS, Metal Gear Solid 2 Substance on GOG.com and Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 HD on Nvidia Shield.
Regarding the content whose licenses are expired, it is not clear what it is. However, in PC Gamer They report that they are video segments in which John F. Kennedy or the Cuban missile crisis appears and that Konami confirmed it when asked about the subject, although without giving further details.
Regardless of whether the removal of the games is temporary (or not), the strange thing is that the problem has not been solved before. And the fact that they are trying to renew licenses may be an indication that the company has plans to Metal Gear Solid stay current.
Either way, this situation is not really new, rather it happens regularly when games use third-party material. In many cases, companies choose to withdraw titles after licenses expire, as is the case with the series Forza Horizon or Forza Motorsport.