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. Similarly, this also serves as a good justification for Bag of Spilling.
Compare Plunder, the historical version.
- The Metroid series has Samus trying to procure upgrades before attempting to fight the Big Bad.
- Averted with Metroid: Other M, as Samus still has all the abilities she'd gained by the end of Super Metroid, but since she's working with regular people who could be instantly vaporized if she's not careful with them, she has to have her abilities authorized for use by Adam. This became very controversial due to the fact that simple self-defensive upgrades like the Varia Suit needed to be re-authorized as well, leading to a portion of the game where you have to run through a superheated area of the station for upwards of fifteen minutes before you get the Varia Suit back - something no other game in the series has ever expected you to do.
- 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.
- Averted in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, where your main equipment is largely not found, but leased, and then sold, by Ravio.
- 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: Snake Eater, 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: Guns of the Patriots, 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 (Otacon notes the difficulty he had in supplying Snake with a non-ID'd pistol after the opening sneaking segment), 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 play the trope very straight.
- This concept is also referenced in Snake's Classic Mode path in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, under the title 'Weapons and Equipment OSP'. Here, the player is pitted against various fighters that use projectiles and explosive weaponry as part of their movesets, and projectile weapons and bomb items spawn in during these matches as well.
- Jeremy Blaustein, the translator for the original PSX release of Metal Gear Solid into English, claims he made this terminology up to mimic actual soldier jargon; they have an acronym for everything, right? The DOD loves their TLAs. (source)
- 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.
- Justified in Half-Life, as the protagonist is a civilian who's just trying to get out of a steadily worsening disaster alive. The first chance you have to get your hands on a real weapon is several minutes in, and involves a mercifully-short Escort Mission to bring an NPC to a security office so he can unlock the door for you. Somewhat less justified in the first Expansion Pack, Opposing Force, where you're playing a soldier whose unit was sent in to clean up the mess; apparently, whoever dragged your unconscious body from the wreck of the helicopter you were travelling in didn't think to grab your rifle. Averted completely in Blue Shift, the second expansion pack, where you're given a sidearm and a reasonable amount of ammunition from the start.
- Justified in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine: Captain Titus starts the game by jumping onto an ork ship and then making planetfall onto a Forge World. From then on all his new weapons and ammo are found lying around or in shrines.
- Earlier Medal of Honor games like Allied Assault had missions set behind enemy lines that forced players to pickup and use a number of German weapons, in particular the MP 40 and STG 44.
- 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 3-D had this and a reason that actually made sense. You are a captured soldier breaking out of Castle Wolfenstein; all you start with is a knife that looks like a shank and a pistol stolen from the first guard you murdered with that shank before gameplay actually started. The only other guns available to you are submachine guns stolen off elite guards and chainguns found in secret areas.
- Call of Duty: Black Ops II allows for a form of this in multiplayer thanks to its expansion of Create-a-Class. There's never been anything across the series before this game preventing you from stealing weapons from other players after they die in multiplayer, but this game makes it closer to this trope by allowing you to forego having weapons of your own and using the spare points you would have needed for them on things like more perks or equipment - it's entirely possible for someone to spawn in with nothing more than a knife and a single grenade while having six perks (where the normal maximum is three).
- In Sonic Adventure 2, each of the six player characters has a power-up tucked away in each of his standard levels (i.e. not the racing levels or Cannon's Core). Some are necessary for level completion, while others are necessary only to complete special missions. Because the number of levels is uneven, some of the characters will have a one-upgrade advantage over their rival; these extras are unnecessary, but make things easier.
- Happens once in Fallout 3 with Broken Steel DLC installed. Once you leave Franklin Metro to infiltrate Nellis Air Force Base, you'll find a Tesla Cannon waiting for you in a Brotherhood of Steel box, the research of which was just completed after you found a vital piece for it the mission before.