Nothing lasts forever and everything must come to an end but never in my wildest imagination did I expect it to happen the way it did. It hasn’t happened yet but yes, Hideo Kojima is leaving Konami.
For the uninitiated, on March 19th a Gamespot article was published stating that Hideo Kojima would be leaving after MGSV was finished. The reason was due to a power struggle between Kojima’s own studio Kojima Productions(KojiPro) and the parent company Konami. This apparently forced Konami to take drastic measures such as restricting the studio access to company mail, internet and phone calls. Kojima who was formerly on the board as vice president has been removed and is now a contract employee. Kojima is not the only one as it seems senior staff members of Kojima Productions were also reduced to contractors. Kojima will have very limited opportunites to promote the game as well.
What added weight to this article was that days before this article was published, a Metal Gear twitter account and Metal Gear Facebook account was created and would be handling all Metal Gear related news now. The Kojima Productions website now redirects to a Metal Gear website on Konami and to top it all off, the tagline “A Hideo Kojima game” was removed from all covers of the game. It seems as though there was a specific effort to remove everything Kojima related. But did Kojima know beforehand that this was going to happen?
On March 4th, IGN had an exclusive reveal for the release date for MGSV. In an interview that followed, Kojima stated that it would be his final Metal Gear game.
I always say ‘this will be my last Metal Gear’,but the games in the series that I’ve personally designed and produced — Metal Gear on MSX, MG2, MGS1, 2, 3, 4, Peace Walker, and now MGSV — are what constitute a single ‘Metal Gear Saga.’ With MGSV, I’m finally closing the loop on that saga. In that sense, this will be the final ‘Metal Gear Solid’. Even if the ‘Metal Gear’ franchise continues, this is the last ‘Metal Gear.’
That last line in the quote seems to add credence that Kojima knew beforehand that he was going to be removed and didn’t know if Metal Gear would continue on without him. A few days after the Gamespot article was published, Konami put up a listing for the creation of a new “Metal Gear’ signalling their intent of carrying on the franchise without Kojima, something which he alluded to in the interview.
It’s still quite astounding that all these has happened but what could have caused Konami to embark on an what seems like an anti-Kojima campaign? I’ll try to wrap my head around that in next part.