Reported in a story made by Video Game Chronicles, one of the major producers in Kojima Productions has apparently departed the company. According to the outlet, Ken Imaizumi, who has worked with Hideo Kojima directly for the better part of 20 years, is no longer with the company, and left sometime after Death Stranding was released. According to a source that spoke to Video Games Chronicle, it was due to a “disagreement” that Imaizumi had with other directors within the company, and it is not clear if this had anything to do with Kojima himself. The story was also posted on the video game forum website Reset Era.
— VGC (@VGC_News) November 27, 2019
It’s important to note that neither Imaizumi nor Kojima have commented on this situation as of yet, so the story should be considered nothing more than speculation for now. It’s possible that Imaizumi left on good terms and wanted to do something different. However, another piece of evidence that could validate the story is the fact that Imaizumi was not present during Kojima’s world tour to promote Death Stranding. This was strange as he is almost always with Kojima during these types of events, but again, is this still considered speculation.
Imaizumi first started working with Konami in the early 1990’s before getting his break to work on the original PlayStation hit Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. He was then placed with Kojima who he would work with all the way from 2002 to 2019. Imaizumi was involved with nearly every single Metal Gear title, and joined Kojima when he publicly split from Konami in 2015 to form Kojima Productions.
The result was Death Stranding, arguably the most ambitious project the video game community has ever seen. The game was, and still is, considered many things, but there is no doubt that it was a huge success for the company. The game had the biggest launch of a new IP this generation in it’s native Japan, and it will also be released for PC in the Summer of 2020. On top of that, Death Stranding is also leading The Game Awards in nominations. Big things are definitely in store for Kojima and company, and if the rumor ends up being true, we hope that Imaizumi enjoyed his time with the studio.