Rumors are swirling about the interwebs that Hideo Kojima, the mastermind behind the Metal Gear Solid series, will be departing with his longtime publisher Konami acrimoniously.
The news follows a number of telling moves on the Japanese publisher’s part. For starters, Kojima, according to Konami’s corporate page, is no longer listed as an executive. Secondly, the company previously said on March 3 that it was going through an “organizational restructuring” in which they were “shifting our production structure to a headquarters- controlled system.”
More disturbingly, the company also began removing the “Presented by Kojima Productions” and “A Hideo Kojima Game” taglines from the official websites of Metal Gear Solid V, Ground Zeroes and Legacy Collection. The Kojima Productions Twitter account and website also redirect fans to more general sounding Metal Gear pages.
A source within Konami confirmed to Gamespot that these moves were indeed part of a larger scheme to remove Kojima and other senior management at his studio. Apparently, differences of opinion between Kojima Productions and Konami have made the publisher restrict Kojima and his team’s access to email, phone calls and internet within the company, as well as appearances to promote the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain.
Konami themselves released a statement on the matter that assured everyone that The Phantom Pain was still on track to be released on September 2, with Hideo Kojima at the helm.
However, the statement then went on to add:
Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. will continue to develop and distribute top-quality content in the METAL GEAR series following“MGSV: TPP.” We greatly anticipate and deeply appreciate your ongoing support for METAL GEAR.
As the next step in the series, KONAMI has already resolved to develop a new “METAL GEAR” title.
We will be conducting auditions for main staff to lead the development.
Translated from corporate PR speak to English, this means: “Once The Phantom Pain is out, Hideo Kojima and his team will no longer be involved in Metal Gear and we’ll be taking the reins from here.”
Kojima himself said in a new statement that “”I want to reassure fans that I am 100 percent 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!”
He had previously said on Twitter that “with Metal Gear Solid 5, I’m finally closing the loop on that saga. Even if the Metal Gear saga continues, to me this is the last Metal Gear.”
Hideo Kojima has been with Konami since 1986, so his departure will be a bit of a downer for even the most mildly interested Metal Gear Solid fan.