On-Site Procurement

Roy Campbell: As usual, this is a one-man infiltration mission.
Solid Snake: Weapons and equipment OSP (on-site procurement)?
Roy Campbell: Yes. This is a top-secret black op. Don't expect any official support.

In several games, the player has to gain various upgrades (whether they are healing items, weapons, or other equipment) that are scattered throughout most of the game. Sometimes the item cannot actually be procured due to not being experienced yet, and requiring a backtrack to get it later.

Although several of the weapons and equipment are required for the plot to advance, there are also things such as ammo upgrades or health bar upgrades that are not actually necessary for anything other than a 100% completion.

The name for the trope comes from the Metal Gear series, where the action pertaining to getting most of these weapons and equipment upgrades was referred to as On Site Procurement. It's an easy justification for the hero getting sent out to save the world With This Herring. The official explanation is that any items given to the hero might be used to trace back to who sent them; because, of course, No Such Agency exists.
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  • The Metroid series has Samus trying to procure upgrades before attempting to fight the Big Bad.
    • Averted with Other M, as Samus has to have her abilities unlocked by Adam, which also acted as a very controversial aspect of the game to some fans, especially the Hell Run portion where the Varia Suit wasn't verified by Adam until around the time she has to fight a lava monster boss.
  • In order to advance through the dungeons in The Legend of Zelda series, and ultimately for the game, Link has to procure weapons that more often than not also act as the boss's weakness.
  • As noted above, the Metal Gear series is the trope namer, as Snake has to procure enemy weapons on the enemy base/enemy territory as part of a sneaking mission. It's best justified in Metal Gear Solid, since Snake infiltrates the base in a submersible capsule with nothing on him but a pack of cigarettes (which even that was actually due to Snake smuggling the smokes in his stomach and not due to actually gaining permission to do so), and in Metal Gear Solid 3, where it's explicitly laid out that the U.S. government can't risk Naked Snake being captured on Soviet soil with American-made equipment and weapons (though, oddly enough, he finds American weapons almost as frequently as Soviet arms). Later games phase this trope out however as by Metal Gear Solid 4, the commonplace use of ID-locked weapons as well as the introduction of Drebin's shop (a shop that lets you buy and unlock ID guns and is accessible at almost any time via pause menu no less) has rendered OSP largely impractical, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker has you start every mission with a weapon loadout of your making and lets you call for ammo supply drops at any time, and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain not only includes those features but lets you request a different weapon drop mid-mission. As both of those games have you in charge of your own private military force, it makes sense not to play the trope too straight, although Phantom Pain has "Subsistence" missions that pley the trope very straight.
  • GoldenEye (1997) and its remake has James Bond go through a similar situation for every mission he is sent on. Bond will always start every level with a pistol (plus another weapon if the mission requires it) and whatever gadgets that are suited for the mission. Bond will have to take weapons from enemies he killed or find weapons stored away somewhere in order to expand his arsenal.
  • Wolfenstein 3D had this and a reason that actually made sense. You are a captured soldier breaking out of Castle Wolfenstein and all you start with is a knife that looks like a shank. You get all your other weapons off the dead guards or in secret rooms.
    • Many FPS games back in that period had this trope. Though some started you with at least a starter pistol and in later games the starter pistols have Bottomless Magazines but usually do about as much damage as a pea shooter.
  • Max Payne, naturally enough given that he's an undercover cop and can only carry what he can conceal under that leather jacket of his. Which is about eighteen guns and several hundred rounds of ammunition in-game, admittedly, but that's Gameplay and Story Segregation for you.