On a night meant to celebrate the achievements in the gaming industry the biggest story perhaps was the notable absence of one Hideo Kojima.
Following the acceptance of the best action/adventure game award for Metal Gear Solid V:The Phantom Pain by Big Boss voice actor Kiefer Sutherland, host Geoff Keighley informed the crowd that Hideo Kojima was barred from attending the award show due to a legal notice from Konami.
“As you noticed Hideo Kojima is not here tonight,” Keighley said. “Mr. Kojima had every intention of being here, but unfortunately he was informed by a lawyer representing Konami that he would not be allowed to travel to tonight’s award ceremony to accept any awards. He’s still under employment and contract and it’s disappointing. It’s inconceivable to me that an artist like Hideo would not be allowed to come here and celebrate with his peers and his fellow teammates.”
The announcement illicited immediate boos from the crowd.
This news came as a shock to many in attendance and even Keighley himself. Kojima was listed on the advisory board for The Game Awards and Keighley even tweeted him hours before showtime.
@HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN Are you ready for the show?
— Geoff Keighley (@geoffkeighley) December 3, 2015
Kojima and Konami have had a very public falling out this year and latest rumors indicated that Kojima was still under Konami’s employment with a non compete clause through December. Keighley’s announcement all but seemed to clarify those rumors.
Before parting the stage Keighley gave one last message for his friend met with a round of applause from the audience.
“We wanted to let you know Hideo we’re thinking of you”