With the development of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain behind him, Hideo Kojima has reportedly departed from Konami and his studio Kojima Productions.

[UPDATE: Konami denies the director’s departure from the company, saying that Kojima is on extended vacation.]

Reports have come in that Hideo Kojima has officially departed from Konami as of October 9. The director of the Metal Gear franchise and veteran Konami employee of over 20 years was provided a departure ceremony. Held at his studio, Kojima Productions, around one hundred team colleagues from past projects attended in what was described as a, “cheerful but also emotional goodbye.” Kojima has made no mention of his future plans, but is said to be held by a Konami non-compete contract into December.

So ends the saga that has been Hideo Kojima’s surprising ousting by the company he’s worked for since 1986. Rumors regarding the growing rent between Kojima and Konami began in mid-March earlier this year. Konami announced that it had restructured its video game development operations and what followed was a whitewashing of Konami removing Kojima’s name and related brands from their websites, social media, and Metal Gear promotional material. Kojima even ended that day with a Twitter post showing Big Boss positioned in front of a helicopter with the comment “Heading off.”

As of April 1, Kojima had been removed from his position as a Konami executive officer and a statement had been issued regarding Kojima’s departure from the company following the completion of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Rumors began that Kojima and his studio Kojima Productions would stay on until their contracts ended in December, but it seems that with his work on Metal Gear Solid V complete, Kojima decided to bow out and avoid further disruption within the company.

Hideo Kojima Leaves Konami

Exactly why Konami and Kojima so suddenly came to contention is the subject of much discussion. Konami’s refocus on mobile markets and away from large-scale projects like what Kojima produced is quite clearly the heart of the matter, but how that transition led to Kojima being all but stripped of his titles within one day is something else entirely. The cancellation of Silent Hills perhaps played a part in what happened as well, but all that’s certain is that Kojima is no longer a part of Konami.

Konami has not let Kojima’s departure slow it down, however. The company has already announced that they have future plans for the Metal Gear franchise that Kojima directed for almost two decades. Details have already leaked regarding a Big Boss pachinko machine, a type of gambling machine extremely popular in Japan.

As for Kojima, speculation regarding where he’ll end up at the conclusion of his non-compete contract is rampant. Many believe Kojima will move on from video games for a time or perhaps entirely. Some seem to believe he’ll start his own independent studio similar to how other popular Japanese video game personalities have, like Keiji Inafune and Koji Igarashi. Others say he could end up at PlayStation where he has close ties to many developers and executives, or even that he could join a studio in the United States where his larger-than-life games could spread their wings.

Whatever the reasons for his departure and wherever he plans to go, what’s likely most important to take away is that this isn’t the final chapter in the Hideo Kojima saga. In fact, this should be the most inspiring chapter yet, as with Metal Gear Solid V Kojima has shown that he still has a lot left to contribute to video games — and he wasn’t going to make that happen at Konami. Think about it this way: Kojima outgrew Konami, Konami didn’t outgrow Kojima.

Source: The New Yorker