As the creator of the Metal Gear series, Hideo Kojima has been working on the games for over two decades. The legendary game-maker even has acted as the director, designer, producer and co-writer of the upcoming MGS title, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. That's why it was such a surprise yesterday when it appeared that Kojima had left his position as Executive Content Officer at Metal Gear's publisher Konami.
The rumors began when Konami published a new list of executives on its website and failed to include Kojima on it. Then Kojima's name began disappearing from other places too; the phrase "A Hideo Kojima game" was removed from the splash pages of The Phantom Pain, Metal Gear Legacy Collection and MGS V: Ground Zeroes, the Kojima Pro Live Twitter became 'Metal Gear Official' and Kojima's Los Angeles studio went from 'Kojima Productions' to 'Konami Los Angeles Studio'.
Following suggestions that Kojima was fired after a "power struggle" with the publisher, fans have been concerned that The Phantom Pain could be the last ever Metal Gear game. This was always unlikely given how important the Metal Gear series is to Konami's profits, but now, the publisher has officially confirmed that the Metal Gear series will live on.
In a statement, Konami wrote:
"The latest entry in the series, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, will be released with Hideo Kojima as originally announced on September 1, 2015 in North America, Central and South America and Europe as well as on September 2 in Japan and elsewhere in Asia.
After the release of MGSV: TPP, Konami plans to also continue releasing titles in the Metal Gear series. We would like to offer our deep gratitude for your continued support of the Metal Gear series."
Konami may have been preparing for this day for a while as Kojima has said that he plans to quit the series several times since 2000. Most recently he said that with The Phantom Pain he will be "closing the loop" on the series. In fact, Konami was so ready for this that it has already posted a job listing, looking for people to help them start work on the next Metal Gear game.
In the job listing, Konami specifically asks for people who have experience in "high-end game production," have a "rich imagination," a "strong passion" for game making and are able to "generate innovative ideas." This seems to suggest that the company is looking to shake up the Metal Gear series and start over, instead of just doing what Kojima would have done. This may also mean that this next Metal Gear game is completely separate from Metal Gear Rising 2 (a sequel to Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance which starred Raiden) which was teased by Sony at the 2015 Taipei Game Show.
As for what Kojima does once his work on The Phantom Pain is done and dusted, he will likely still remain in games. In 2009 the game developer told Kotaku that "If you write that 'Kojima-san doesn't have to make Metal Gear any more' every day on Kotaku, and write to the CEO of Konami and tell him that, then it might be easier for me to make non-Metal Gear games" so it's unlikely that gamers have seen the last of him just yet.
Do you think that the Metal Gear series will still be great without Kojima? Where would you like the Metal Gear series to go next?