Konami releases Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance on GOG but bizarrely stops the Japanese game being sold in Japan

 Metal gear rising revengeance.
Credit: Konami

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a straight-up belter. It had a slightly troubled development, as a longtime Kojima Productions joint that was eventually outsourced to co-developer PlatinumGames to put the action in, but what arrived in 2013 was one of the best and most OTT hack-and-slash romps ever made. Seriously: if you haven't bodyslammed a Metal Gear then ran up it and sliced the whole damn thing in half with a magic cybersword, you missed out.

Publisher Konami is currently engaged in its own Metal Gear salvage project, the first step of which was the re-release of many classic games as MGS: The Master Collection Volume 1, and the next being the upcoming MGS3 remake, MGS Delta: Snake Eater. A minor beat in this has been the release of MGR: Revengeance on the DRM-free storefront GOG: the game was made available on July 4 (it has been available on Steam since early 2014).

This announcement was particularly noted by Japanese players and with good reason. MGR: Revengeance has only ever been available on PS3 in Japan, the original target platform, though worldwide has also been released on Xbox 360 and PC. The Steam version has never been available for purchase in Japan. But the GOG version was!

For almost one hour, anyway. The GOG version of MGR: Revengeance launched on July 4 and was available for purchase in Japan, but removed shortly afterwards. Konami subsequently issued a statement to Japanese outlet Game*Spark saying: "There was a setting error on the GOG side, so the game was temporarily available for purchase in some Asian regions. We apologize for any confusion."

Which doesn't really address the reasons why, though I would guess one factor may be an old PlayStation exclusivity clause. Metal Gear was for a time the biggest PlayStation exclusive around and, even though most of those games have subsequently found their way to other platforms, some major parts of the series remain locked to PlayStation platforms. Most notably, Sony went all-in on Metal Gear with PlayStation 3 and MGS4 remains locked to that platform. So it's very possible there's some sort of historical deal whereby, in Japan, MGR: Revengeance was only made available on PS3.

But I emphasise that this is guesswork, done in the absence of an official Konami explanation. It may well be something else, such as Konami intending to include the title in The Master Collection Volume 2 and wanting that to be the first occasion where Japanese players can buy the title on PC.

Japanese players are used to this. It is unfortunately common for Japanese publishers to region-lock digital availability of their titles in this way, a practice that some believe is a hangover from the days where physical retail was a much more important element of sales, and such decisions could be seen as protecting that distribution channel.

Whether such practices make any sense in 2024 is debatable, but they continue regardless, and it's a phenomenon widespread enough to have its own terminology: Omakuni. This slang is derived from the Japanese phrase for "we're not selling it in your country" and is used widely to refer to Steam games that publishers won't allow to be sold in Japan, or sell with serious restrictions that crimp the experience (for example, no Japanese language support).

Either way: sucks to be a Japanese Metal Gear fan on this occasion. It does seem bananas that a Japanese-developed game in a classic Japanese series is available globally on PC, but Japanese players can only access it with a PlayStation 3, hardware that is now two generations old and stopped production in 2017.  I've contacted Konami for comment and will update with any response.