Konami has responded to claims that Hideo Kojima has officially departed the company. The publisher clarified that Kojima has not only not left the company, but that he is still an employee and has simply taken an extended vacation following the lengthy development of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Going on an extended leave was also described as “normal” for console game development projects.
This claim comes in direct opposition to reports yesterday stating Kojima had officially left Konami earlier in October, ending a 29 year relationship with the company. A ceremony at the former Kojima Productions was held for the legendary developer, where the scene was described as “cheerful but also emotional.” When asked about this gathering at the studio, a Konami spokesperson said “we’re not sure what kind of thing this was.”
For what it’s worth, Konami did not confirm or deny if Kojima negotiated a new contract at the company before his vacation or if the publisher wanted to maintain the long term relationship with the developer.
“Currently, Kojima and the development team are finished developing Metal Gear Solid V and are taking a long time off from work. Because the development time for console games is so long and fatigues builds up, it’s common for employees to take extended periods of time off when development is finished.”
The feud between these two sides continues to take bizarre turns. While Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain proved to be a bonafide hit and the best selling title in the series, 2015 was marred by a very public falling out between the two sides which seems to have started when Kojima’s name was left off a published list of executives at Konami. As the year continued on, more and more developments went public including Kojima’s name being removed from promotional materials and even his next project, Silent Hills, being canceled.
On one hand, it’s not surprising that Konami was quick to counter reports that Kojima has officially departed the company. On the other hand, it’s a little hard to believe the company won’t let this go at this point. The evidence seems to clearly point to Kojima leaving the company, especially with all the reflective pieces that came out where Kojima reflects on his time with the Metal Gear franchise. Whether Kojima is on vacation or if he’s under a non-compete agreement, it’s likely that after a certain period of time, the public will find out the truth.
What do you make of this messy situation? It certainly seems like whenever Kojima and Konami are discussed, things quickly go off the rails. Let us know your take in the comments.