Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima forced out of Konami (UPDATE!)
Update: Although Konami has not directly addressed the news of Kojima leaving, it did issue a statement confirming that the Metal Gear series will continue – and it is “conducting interviews for main staff to lead the development.” Not much doubt in that statement.
For his part, Kojima simply stated “I want to reassure fans that I am 100% involved and will continue working on METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN; I’m determined to make it the greatest game I’ve directed to date. Don’t miss it!”
Original Story 3/20/15: Here at DBP we don’t generally cover the inner workings of the gaming industry – at least not things like a developer leaving a company. It’s just not our bag. This, however, is different. This one will change the industry. FOREVER!
Ok, it probably won’t be that significant, but it is a potentially major shift in the industry, and the end of an era – as well as possibly the end of one of the most popular franchises around.
According to sources speaking to GameSpot under conditions of anonymity, Hideo Kojima and at least some of his team at Kojima Productions, including all the executives, are no longer employees of Konami.
The move follows a power struggle between Kojima and the board of Konami. It’s not clear exactly what the issue or issues are, but the result is that Kojima has been removed from the Konami board, and he and his team have been reclassified from employees to contractors. Kojima Productions and Konami are both putting the finishing touches on Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which is set for release on September 1. Following the release, Kojima and at least some of his production team are expected to split completely from Konami.
Kojima founded Kojima Productions in 2005 as a subsidiary of Konami. The studio now employs over 200 people. No word on the status of the majority of the Kojima employees, but the Kojima executive staff have similarly been downgraded to contractor.
“After we finish MGSV, Mr. Kojima and upper management will leave Konami. They said their contract ends in December,” the source told GameSpot.
Konami has confirmed that it is restructuring its organization, but it isn’t commenting on Kojima specifically. The Kojima Productions logo, however, has begun to disappear from promotional materials associated with Konami.
Along with the removal of the logo, the source also stated that Kojima employees have had their corporate email limited, phones rerouted, and even had their Internet access restricted. They will also have a diminished presence when promoting the game.
Although Kojima is the creator of the Metal Gear property and the producer on every game in the series, it is still a Konami game. With Metal Gear Solid V still months from release it is too early to even guess at what may happen to the franchise, but if there are more games in the future, they would likely be handled by a completely new team.
Another big question mark is what happens to the upcoming Silent Hills, which was only recently revealed when the demo P.T. was released in August 2014 on the PlayStation 4 as a demo. The game is – or maybe was – a PS4 exclusive, and it was set to be directed by Kojima and Guillermo del Toro, with Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead, Boondock Saints) attached to star via motion capture technology.
Given that the well known series hasn’t had a console release since 2004, and given that Sony was banking on it being a PS4 exclusive, Konami is unlikely to just let it go.
You can bet that Kojima is unlikely to just go away either. With MGSV apparently Kojima’s finale for the series, and given how engrained his name is with Metal Gear, he and his team will probably work their asses off to ensure it is a successful game. After that, don’t be surprised to see him officially form his own, independent development studio and sign a contract with a new publisher.
That is entirely speculation, of course. He could just as easily join another company, retire, or try out for the NBA and take his talents to South Beach. He’s a mercurial guy.
This is all based on unconfirmed reports at the moment, but the sources seem to confirm many of Konami’s recent moves.