Konami officially confirms the rumors that Konami Los Angeles Studios, formerly Kojima Productions LA, is closing, with 35 people losing their jobs as a result.
For those that have been following the harrowing, often head-scratching saga between Hideo Kojima and Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain publisher Konami, there’s yet another development in the story. Unfortunately, Konami has decided to close Konami Los Angeles Studios (formerly Kojima Productions LA), causing 35 people to lose their jobs in the midst of the holiday season.
Rumors of the closure of Konami Los Angeles Studios began appearing yesterday, as various developers sounded off on the matter on social media. The official confirmation comes directly from Konami, with promises to continue supporting the Metal Gear Online mode in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, one of the main functions of Konami Los Angeles Studios before its closure.
Konami released this statement on the matter to Polygon:
“Konami has made the decision to close its Los Angeles Studio, effective immediately, due to the product development resources being restructured into a more centralized unit. This facility contributed to the recent Metal Gear Solid games. Konami will continue its operations to support all Metal Gear Solid titles, including the recently launched Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and Metal Gear Online. Metal Gear Online is still scheduled to release for PC Steam in January 2016.”
The closure of Konami Los Angeles Studios should come as no surprise to anyone that has been following the issues between Hideo Kojima and Konami, which began earlier this year with the abrupt cancellation of Silent Hills. Everything seemed to unravel from there, with Hideo Kojima reportedly fired from Konami in the middle of developing Metal Gear Solid 5 not long after the death of Silent Hills.
However, what makes this situation so bizarre is Konami’s behavior. Shortly after Kojima’s apparent firing, the company took great pains to attempt to erase Kojima’s name from the covers of all Metal Gear Solid games, past and present. This rebranding effort included renaming Kojima Productions Los Angeles to Konami Los Angeles Studios, so it’s odd that Konami would go through the trouble of renaming the studio, only to shutter it shortly thereafter.
Furthermore, despite numerous reports that Hideo Kojima is gone from Konami, Konami insists that he is just on vacation. This latest development is just yet another strange move by Konami, though at this rate, the erratic behavior is not all that surprising.
In any case, with the rocky launch of Metal Gear Online, hopefully Konami is adequately equipped to keep the game stable without the help of Konami Los Angeles Studios. Fans are already frustrated with the company, and if Metal Gear Online is negatively impacted by this decision, they will be even more irate. At this point, it’s doubtful that Konami’s reputation can be salvaged, but it would be wise for the company to avoid burning any more bridges with their community.
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is currently available for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.