Hideo Kojima struggled to get live-action clips in Metal Gear Solid, not for technical reasons but because of a lack of contacts.
In a series of tweets on his Japanese account, he shared some background information on the game celebrating the 35th anniversary of the series (thanks SiliconEra).
Kojima wanted to push the realism of his fictional story using real war footage and, of course, the PlayStation console was able to play compressed film so this wasn't a technical limitation.
Rather, at the time he didn't know much about the industry or licensing so didn't know who to request permission from.
He even went to Japanese media outlet NHK for advice, although this "didn't go well".
誰に相談していいか分からず、当時のNHKにも相談に行ったが、うまくいかず。素材購入、編集、権利クリアまで数年かかった。今なら業界との接点も権利窓口にも精通しているので。 https://t.co/ru0tbHLKZr— 小島秀夫 (@Kojima_Hideo) September 3, 2022
In the end, it took several years to purchase, edit, and clear the rights for the footage, something he notes would now take a lot less time owing to his position in, and knowledge of, the games industry.
It's an interesting point to make considering last year Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 were both removed from digital sale owing to licensing issues with the use of historical footage.
A statement from Konami at the time read: "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 8th November 2021."
Since then, following the 35th anniversary of the series, the official Metal Gear account tweeted: "We ask for your patience as preparations are underway to make the temporarily removed titles available again."
So it looks like those titles - and their live footage - will return soon, although there's no release date just yet.