This is the latest in a series of incidents highlighting the strain between Kojima and the company. Much of this seems to have stemmed from an announcement made in March in which Konami stated they would be shifting their production to a “headquarters-controlled” system. According to GameSpot, this meant that Kojima and his studio, Kojima Productions, were no longer treated as employees by Konami, but rather as contracted workers.
Around this time the Kojima led production of Silent Hills, which was cancelled despite huge hype surrounding the game and the involvement of famous horror director Guillermo Del Toro. This led to speculation that Kojima would leave the company with immediate effect but official statements by both Kojima and Konami stated that Kojima would at least stay on to complete Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain.
Despite this there certainly seems to have been no love lost between Konami and Kojima in the mean time as Kojima Productions was shut down in July.
After the release of The Phantom Pain in September, Konami seem to have further alienated Kojima by removing all mention of his name from the cover and the promotional material. This extended to the series’ website and social media pages which also neglect to mention Kojima’s contribution to the franchise.
There have also been mentions of a party in October to celebrate Kojima’s departure from the company but these rumours were swiftly denied by Konami who claimed he was simply on a long vacation.
More recently, Konami refused to allow Kojima to attend The Game Awards on the 3rd of December despite The Phantom Pain being honoured there. Reportedly Kojima wanted to attend but a Konami lawyer claimed he was not allowed to travel due to still being under contract at the company. Instead Kiefer Sutherland, the voice of Snake in the game, had to pick up the reward.
Following all of this it seems natural that Kojima would want to leave the company and pursue new projects but his departure has not been officially confirmed by either party. However, with the release of The Phantom Pain becoming a thing of the past, it would come as no surprise if this is soon confirmed to be true.
If Kojima has left Konami then the company will keep hold of the rights for the Metal Gear Solid franchise but whatever Kojima does in the future is sure to be received positively, whether he joins Sony or not.
What do you think? Has Kojima really left and if so, what projects are in store for him in the future?