Konami refutes news about Hideo Kojima’s departure from the publisher, leaving us to wonder why they seem to be in endless denial over a split they agreed to.
Every time some new piece of information comes out about the split between developer Hideo Kojima and publisher Konami, I cringe. As a gamer, I’m disappointed about the cancellation of Silent Hills, and repulsed by Konami’s attempt to remove any mention of Kojima on his own creation, Metal Gear Solid, but it goes beyond that. Konami’s response to the split has been anything but graceful, with the publisher seemingly eager to kick Kojima to the curb, yet reluctant to admit that the nearly 30-year relationship has ended.
Developers and publishers split and go their separate ways all the time, like Yager recently being booted off Dead Island 2 by Deep Silver. But this Kojima/Konami split has just been so messy and unprofessional, it goes beyond being disappointing to gamers. It’s downright embarrassing at this point.
Kojima and Konami could have simply come to an agreement to part ways after the completion of Metal Gear Solid V and Silent Hills. Instead, Konami chose to pull any mention of Kojima from its website, materials, and Metal Gear Solid V itself, without making any kind of official announcement first. Shocked fans were left confused and angry, so Konami scrambled to restore Kojima’s name to Metal Gear Solid V branding. And of course, the brilliant marketing campaign behind the ill-fated Silent Hills was completely upended by Konami’s rash behavior. After it was confirmed that Kojima was leaving, gamers initially couldn’t even get a straight answer from Konami as to whether Silent Hills was cancelled or not.
Perhaps worst of all, Konami has taken multiple steps to cover up any possible explanations about what caused the split, stomping tweets and pulling explanatory videos from YouTube. The lack of official explanation has only made things more of a headache for fans, as a myriad of insiders have come out of the woodwork since. Their claims have ranged widely, with some saying Kojima was fired, and others claiming he left because of poor pay.
As a game company with shareholders to answer to, Konami probably believes it’s none of gamers’ business what went on between the two parties. But it’s not just about us gamers – industry folk got burned, too. Poor Guillermo Del Toro seems to think that he’s a curse on games now, swearing off the medium entirely after the Silent Hills fiasco.
So when the news broke last week that Kojima had finally left Konami, I felt relieved. At least the whole drama-ridden thing was done and over with. But then, Konami turned around and claimed that Kojima hadn’t left, but was simply on an extended vacation. They’ve even gone so far as to deny the photographic proof of Kojima’s goodbye party.
First Konami couldn’t wait to erase any mention of Kojima, and now they’re claiming that he’s taking a break? The messiness of this whole thing seems to be doomed to continue, and it’s just ridiculous at this point. This latest twist seems to indicate that Konami still wants to work things out with Kojima, but that seems hard to believe. We can’t even be sure there’s a project Kojima would be interested in working on, as Konami may or may not be focusing on mobile games and refraining from producing any AAA titles for a while.
Konami and Kojima either need to kiss and make up, like Peter Moore said, or Konami should let this saga come to an end once and for all. Personally, I’m torn on which path they should take – as a gamer, I’d love to see Kojima stay at the helm of the Metal Gear Solid series, and maybe even try to entice poor Del Toro back to the world of video games. But at the same time, I think we’ve all been dragged through the mire enough – just end it already.