For Metal Gear Solid fans, the past few weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster. Less than a month ago, series creator Hideo Kojima made two huge announcements: Metal Gear Solid 5 has an official release date - September 1, 2015 - and it would, reportedly, be Kojima's last Metal Gear game.
Gamers regarded the latter news with a healthy degree of skepticism. Kojima has made that claim numerous times, dating all the way back to 2001, while Metal Gear Solid 2 was still in development. That's why, despite Kojima's strong words, the gaming community was shocked when Kojima and Metal Gear Solid publisher Konami officially split earlier this week. Kojima's studio, Kojima Productions, was officially renamed Konami Studios Los Angeles; the developer's name was taken off of Metal Gear promotional materials; and, most damningly, Konami announced plans to make new Metal Gear Solid games - without Kojima's involvement.
This news raised a number of questions, particularly regarding Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. If the game is due this fall, development must be fairly far along; how will Kojima's departure affect the title's progress? For the first time since the news broke, Kojima has spoken. Don't worry, fans: Kojima is still working hard on Metal Gear Solid 5, and promises that it will be his "greatest game" yet.
The statement, released via Konami's PR department, reads:
I want to reassure fans that I am 100% involved and will continue working on METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN; I’m determined to make it the greatest game I’ve directed to date. Don’t miss it!
Kojima's statement dovetails nicely with other reports, which also confirmed the designer's ongoing involvement with Metal Gear Solid 5. Reportedly, Kojima now works for Konami as an independent contractor; his deal with the studio will expire sometime before 2016.
This official and definitive statement should ease the fears of some fans, who continue to spread rumors that Kojima is no longer working on Metal Gear Solid 5. It does not, however, address other lingering questions regarding Kojima and Konami's separation.
Specifically, nobody's quite sure what this means for Silent Hills, the previously announced collaboration between Kojima and acclaimed film director Guillermo Del Toro. A creepy interactive trailer called P.T. announced the game last summer, and since then, expectations have soared understandably high. How Kojima's departure from Konami affects Silent Hills remains to be seen.
Then, of course, there's the bigger issue: after Konami, where will Kojima go? A designer of Kojima's caliber should have no problem finding a new home at an established game studio, but there's always a chance that he could follow in David Jaffe's and Peter Molyneux's footsteps and strike out on his own. Kojima has a vast and rabid fan base, after all, and no matter what he does next, it's almost assured to be a success based on his name alone.
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain releases September 1, 2015 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.