Kojima will be leaving Konami, the company which he has stayed at his entire career and It seems he isn’t ending his time at there on a happy note. But what could have caused Konami or Kojima himself to end their relationship so unceremoniously?
Based on the initial report, the main reason for the breakup seems to point to a power struggle between Konami and Kojima. What sort of power struggle could have taken place? While nothing has been said about it, I can think of a few possible scenarios. This is all just purely speculation on my part and is by no means fact.
1. Konami wants to milk the MGS franchise
Seeing how franchises such as Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed have an annual release, Konami could have wanted Kojima to do the same and produce a new Metal Gear game yearly. Kojima refused and was issued an ultimatum which resulted in the eventual breakup. This might make some sense after the way Ground Zeroes was cut off from the main game and sold as an over-priced standalone game; A decision I doubt was made by Kojima.
2. Konami’s current CEO has a personal feud with Kojima
3. Konami is simply undergoing a corporate restructuring
Konami is undergoing a corporate-wide restructuring and the changes to branding and employee status is just part of it. Note that Konami nor Kojima has said anything about leaving the company and it could be in fact just part of restructuring which was the reason provided by Konami.
4. Konami and Kojima are heading in different directions
This seems to be the most logical conclusion. Konami as a business do not only make video games, they have invested heavily into sports clubs, pachinko slot machines and more recently mobile entertainment. Konami doesn’t view making video games as part of their core business anymore and as such have decided that Kojima Productions wouldn’t fit in their new direction for the company. Incoming CEO Hideki Hayakawa proclaiming that Mobile gaming is the future seems to further support this.
Here is a very good video by Super Bunnyhop that summarises most of the events that have happened so far.
My personal theory is that it’s a combination of point 2 and point 4. I do think that Konami is heading in a completely different direction from Kojima. Kojima wants to make high quality games that takes time to develop and will cost a lot to develop whereas Konami wants to create mobile games that cater to a larger crowd. And if the restricted access to company resources and horrible working conditions are to be believed, then there is definitely something personal going on. While changes do happen, I don’t think there is enough reason to actually antagonise your employees unless there is some sort of personal feud going on.
In the final part, I will be discussing on what lies ahead for the Konami, the MGS franchise and Kojima and Co.