The rumblings in the gaming world keeps on going, as speculation is currently rising that Hideo Kojima is apparently on his way out of Konami.
The rumors appear to have been started by this tweet from the official Kojima Productions Twitter account:
— Kojima Pro Live (@Kojima_Pro_Live) March 19, 2015
The rumors are then quickly fueled by the revelation that Hideo Kojima has been stripped of his executive position at Konami which appears to be taking effect on April 1st (which you can find here)
Reddit and NeoGAF users were also quick to point out that the tagline “A Hideo Kojima Game” has been removed from all sites and material pertaining to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Furthermore, the Kojima Productions logo has also been removed from these sites. It is also worth noting that the Kojima Productions Los Angeles Studio is now apparently called Konami Los Angeles Studio. Another thing of note would be that the Kojima Productions site now redirects to a general Metal Gear Solid portal instead.
In light of these rumors, Konami has replied to Eurogamer, saying that “As we have already announced, we are shifting our production structure to a headquarters-controlled system, in order to establish a steadfast operating base capable of responding to the rapid market changes that surround our digital entertainment business.”
Konami’s PR department has also shared this particular response:
In a statement provided to VideoGamer.com, a Konami representative said: “Konami Digital Entertainment, including Mr. Kojima, will continue to develop and support Metal Gear products. Please look forward to future announcements.”
Whether these are just the effects of the branding changes still remains to be seen, although gamers are already saying that Konami has just shot themselves in the foot by removing the Hideo Kojima name from everything MGS considering it’s his name that’s bringing the revenue to Konami. These developments would also potentially jeopardize the planned Silent Hills game as well.
UPDATE 1 (2:00 AM MLA time) : Gamespot has revealed some really intriguing information regarding the whole situation:
A fallout between Kojima Productions and its owning publisher, Konami, has led to senior staff at the studio being restricted access to corporate internet, emails, and phone, GameSpot understands.
Along with the restricted communications, key developers at the studio, such as Hideo Kojima, will now have limited opportunities to lend their appearance to promotions of the studio’s upcoming game, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Power struggles between Kojima Productions and Konami have led the publisher to make drastic changes, including the employee status of its Metal Gear team. Some senior staff at the studio, including Kojima, now essentially work as contractors, not permanent employees.
The extraordinary measures were revealed by a source within the studio, speaking to GameSpot on the condition of anonymity. The person explained that, once the Phantom Pain project is finished, in all likelihood the management at the studio will disband.
“After we finish MGSV, Mr. Kojima and upper management will leave Konami. They said their contract ends in December,” the source claimed.
The person added: “At a team meeting, Mr Kojima explained that team have to be one and make a good game for fans.”
UPDATE 2: Looks like Konami isn’t wasting time in “reassuring” fans that the Metal Gear series will continue. They have just released a statement explicitly saying that along with an announcement that they are looking to hire new staff for the said project. It also somewhat confirms that The Phantom Pain is indeed Kojima’s final Metal Gear game. One can view the latest PR announcement via this link.
UPDATE 3: We’re taking out the [RUMOR] part of the headline as a number of different sources have confirmed Kojima’s contract expiring at the end of the year. It would also seem that Kojima is not the only big name that would be leaving Konami: Tokimeki Memorial and Love Plus producer Akari Uchida and Love Plus character designer Mino Taro have announced on their respective Twitter accounts that they’ve quit Konami as well.
We will continue updating this post as other developments arise.