Konami announces European MGS2 release date

After months of speculation about the European release of Metal Gear Solid 2, the company finally announces a concrete date. We interview Konami of Europe to find out more.

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While Metal Gear Solid 2 is hitting US stores today, the specific European release date for the game has been in doubt for quite some time. Konami of Europe has been very tight-lipped over the last few months, only offering a vague release date of sometime between November 2001 and March 2002. However, several recent release lists from Konami didn't list MGS2 in its Christmas lineup for Europe, which fuelled rumors that MGS2 would not arrive this year in that territory. Today, the company made it official, as it announced that the release date for Metal Gear Solid 2 in Europe is February 22, 2002. Kunio Neo, president of Konami of Europe said, "This isn't only a piece of software. Metal Gear Solid 2 is a masterpiece, which is going to break the boundaries of interactive entertainment. This title has the very best chances of becoming the biggest selling PS2 game worldwide."

Following the announcement, we sat down with Wolfgang Ebert, PR manager at Konami of Europe, for an exclusive interview to find out more about the February release of Metal Gear Solid 2 and more.

GameSpot: So, the rumored February release date is now official?

Wolfgang Ebert: That's absolutely correct. February 22 is Metal Gear day.

GS: Now that the company has officially confirmed the release date, can you explain why it wasn't possible to bring the game to Europe in time for Christmas?

WE: Metal Gear Solid 2 is an enormously complex title--not only because of the gameplay, but also regarding all the many twists and surprises in the story. The comparison with a movie is absolutely correct in that context. Due to the adaptations for the many European countries, the release has to be a bit later than in the US (who, to its advantage, only has to deal with one language). This isn't anything extraordinary, though, but rather normal for the movie and games industry. Besides, with Silent Hill 2 on November 23 and Pro Evolution Soccer [the PS2 sequel of ISS Pro Evolution on the PS] being released on time before Christmas as well, we'll have two extraordinary titles in stores for the Christmas season. Since we didn't even give a specific release date for MGS2 until now, you cannot even call it a delay.

GS: It would be pretty wise for Sony to use MGS2 in February as the main marketing weapon against the Xbox and possibly the GameCube. Is there any such plan to launch marketing campaigns with Sony?

WE: Definitely. We don't want to disclose any details yet, but Sony Computer Entertainment Europe definitely will support the highly anticipated PS2 title.

GS: How about the localization of the game? Are you going to translate the voices for the European versions? How about tweaking violent scenes?

WE: We can't give any comments on specific issues yet, but regarding violence, we can already say that there definitely is no other game based on espionage that works so much toward the avoidance of violence. You will almost be forced to work smoothly and silently, which is why we see Metal Gear Solid 2 in a different light than previous "conventional shooters" out there.

GS: In the context of Metal Gear Solid 2 slipping to 2002, what is Konami of Europe's approach toward European consumers? Why do Europeans always get games after the US and Japanese markets?

WE: Konami thinks very highly of European video game players. This is why we will release the first PS2 game [Silent Hill 2] on November 23 with a dedicated bonus DVD featuring a 30-minute "making of" video. It has never been easier to look behind the scenes of a video game production. It will be packaged in a highly prestigious digipack, which has only been used for DVD movies so far. We wouldn't do such groundbreaking things if we didn't care about the market. Besides, one must not forget that due to different TV standards and localization, European release dates will always be a little later than other territories, which is also common in other industries.

GS: Like you just mentioned, Silent Hill 2 is getting special treatment in Europe with the bonus DVD and the new packaging. Is there a special edition planned for the release of Metal Gear Solid 2 in Europe?

WE: The world hasn't seen our first bonus DVD and it's already asking for the next? I'll take that as a compliment [laughs]. Seriously, we just announced the release date and are working on many things right now. Details will be announced at a later point, but one thing is for sure: MGS2 is definitely one of the biggest events in the history of Konami.

GS: Can you comment on the current status of Metal Gear Solid 2 for the Xbox?

WE: We're very busy working toward the release of Metal Gear Solid 2 on the PlayStation 2 first, which will keep us busy for the next few weeks.

GS: Thanks for your time.

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