In a surprising turn of events, a number of reports circulated today suggest that Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima and his entire team are to part ways with Konami.
The speculation began this morning after a press release issued for Konami’s executive appointments, effective April 1, 2015, no longer listed Kojima in an executive role with the company.
By lunchtime, eagle-eyed fans noticed that all Kojima Productions branding was being removed from artwork relating to Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and the upcoming The Phantom Pain. Furthermore, the official Twitter account for MGSV was rerouted from Kojima Productions to an official Konami page:
This afternoon, Konami issued an official response to the rumours, confirming that Mr Kojima still remains with the company in some capacity – but still leaving many questions unanswered. Its statement read: “Konami Digital Entertainment, including Mr. Kojima, will continue to develop and support Metal Gear products. Please look forward to future announcements.”
Since the release of that statement, GameSpot has been reporting that an “inside source” has told it that a power struggle between Konami’s top brass and Kojima Productions has led to “drastic changes” at the studio, with Kojima’s Metal Gear team now being designated as contractors rather than full-time employees. It is expected that the entire team will leave the company when their contracts expire at the end of the year.
Several weeks ago, Hideo Kojima claimed that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain would be the last title in the franchise he would work on, though his comments were taken with a pinch of salt at the time due to his previous track record of teasing fans of the series. As it turns out, there may have been more to his comments than we initially thought.
Kojima has yet to officially comment on today’s reports. The status of his other upcoming title, Silent Hills, is yet to be clarified.