After months of speculation of a falling out between Hideo Kojima and Konami, a news report today seemed to finally confirm Kojima’s departure from the studio.
In a report by The New Yorker, Kojima’s supposed last day at the studio was October 9th marking the end of his 29 year tenure with the company. A farewell party in his honor was held at Kojima Productions, the director’s in-house studio. An unnamed source present at the party of a “hundred or so guests” noted that Konami’s president, Hideki Hayakawa, or its C.E.O., Sadaaki Kaneyoshi were not in attendance. The tone of the party was said to be “cheerful but also emotional”.
Personal and artistic differences were rumored to be the cause of the rift between Kojima and Konami but the New Yorker article suggests otherwise. The emergence of mobile games and their outstanding low cost to profit ratio was cited as the main reason for Konami to not include their blockbuster developer in the company’s future. The shift towards mobile gaming left no room for the ambitious console titles Kojima is well known for. Kojima’s latest and last game with Konami, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, reportedly cost around $80 million to develop with work on the game rumored to be slower than anticipated. Despite the high costs and slow development the game also reportedly pulled in $179 million on its launch date, though those numbers have not been confirmed by Konami.
Turmoil between Kojima and Konami started circulating in the video game rumor mill as early as March this year when Konami pulled Kojima’s name and studio logo from their website as well as on the Metal Gear Solid V box art and promotional materials. Company rebranding and restructuring were the reasons given for this sudden and mysterious change. Kojima would publicly state that MGSV:TPP would be the last in the series but Konami expressed different plans to develop further games under the Metal Gear name. The drama continued when Konami pulled the plug on the highly anticipated Silent Hills game Kojima had been developing alongside film director Guillermo del Toro which featured the likeness of actor Norman Reedus.
Lastly reported was that Kojima was under a non-compete clause not allowing him to sign with other studios until its expiration in December though this has not been confirmed either.