A fallout between Kojima Productions and its owning publisher, Konami, could see Hideo Kojima – creator, director and writer of Metal Gear – leaving the company after the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
The fallout has accordingly led to senior staff at the studio – including Kojima – being given restricted access to corporate internet, emails and phone calls, as well as key developers having limited opportunities to lend their appearance in promotions of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
The apparent struggles between Kojima Productions and Konami have convinced the publisher to make some radical changes, including making changes to the employment status of the Metal Gear team; many of the senior staff at the studio essentially work as contractors and not permanent employees.
These measures were revealed to Gamespot from a source inside the studio today, who stated that once The Phantom Pain is released, it’s highly likely that the entire management team at the studio will disband.
“After we finish MGSV, Mr. Kojima and upper management will leave Konami. They said their contract ends in December,” the source claimed, adding, “At a team meeting, Mr Kojima explained that team have to be one and make a good game for fans.”
First off, ever since Kojima became a household name for video game fans, his name has been used as a pulling point for fans, with the words “A Hideo Kojima” game being included in the marketing for most of the games he’s been involved in, including previous marketing promotions for The Phantom Pain.
This sentence appears to have now disappeared from the entirety of the branding. You can check out the website here, which no longer contains the phrase anywhere on its website.
The Kojima website has also changed a lot, from looking as it did below to now linking to a Metal Gear portal website.
Not only that, but Metal Gear has moved from the account Kojima_Pro_Live, to the account metalgear_en.
— Kojima Pro Live (@Kojima_Pro_Live) March 19, 2015
And if you throw his bizarre last tweet into the mix, the whole thing becomes even more odd.
Heading off. pic.twitter.com/JWyh4DbeIY”
— HIDEO_KOJIMA (@HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN) March 16, 2015
Of course, all of this could just be a great deal of nothing. Kojima is somewhat of a PR wizard, and it’s often best to take what he says with a pinch of salt; however, there are many possibilities that could arise out of this.
First off, this could indeed be a big load of nothing. Kojima has said that he plans to leave the Metal Gear franchise after the release of The Phantom Pain and that it would in fact be the final Metal Gear Solid game. Of course, he sai the same thing in an interview with IGN in 2000, with GameSpot in 2002, with Eurogamer in 2005, an again with GameSpot in 2005.
In 2008, he told IGN he was done with franchise, as well as stating on the official Konami website. He also told Kotaku in 2009. In 2011, he told Official PlayStation Magazine,”In Guns of the Patriots [Snake] was supposed to die. Everyone on the staff really wanted to keep him alive, so I caved a little. I did have the feeling that I wanted to end the series…”
He also told Time in 2014 that Ground Zeroes would be the last Metal Gear title he’d work on, and finally told IGN this year that “I always say ‘this will be my last Metal Gear… but the games in the series that I’ve personally designed and produced — Metal Gear on MSX, MG2, MGS1, 2, 3, 4, Peace Walker, and now MGSV — are what constitute a single ‘Metal Gear Saga.’ With MGSV, I’m finally closing the loop on that saga.”
It may also be a possibility that Kojima plans to leave Konami and open his own studio. It highly unlikely that he plans to abandon Konami altogether, especially with Silent Hills on the horizon, or even allow future Metal Gear games to go ahead with development without having some form of say in the matter. This scenario looks even more likely with the Kojima Productions studio having vanished out of existence and its Los Angeles counterpart having been renamed “Konami Los Angeles Studios.”
The final possibility is that we’re seeing a shake-up which looks ridiculous and awful to outsiders, but isn’t actually as serious as it looks. Companies often shake thing up from the inside, and it could come into fruition that everything has jut come around at once and is in fact a complete coincidence. This seems incredibly unlikely however, especially if the information from an inside source is as accurate as it could be.
It’s one of thee things that we’ll simply have to wait and see how it pans out. Although Kojima has not issued a statement so far, a representative of Konami has said, “As we have already announced, we are shifting our production structure to a headquarters-controlled system, in order to establish a steadfast operating base capable of responding to the rapid market changes that surround our digital entertainment business. Konami Digital Entertainment (including Mr. Kojima), will continue to develop and support Metal Gear products. Please look forward to future announcements.”