Metal Gear Solid Composer Says Hideo Kojima Split from Konami Over Budget Issues [UPDATE]

metal gear solid v the phantom pain 07-30-15-1

[UPDATE]

We’ve gotten some folks writing in (including our source) saying that we’ve misquoted Rika Muranaka, and Muranaka has gone on to make a follow-up clarification saying her words are her own opinion, and may or may not be indicative of the current situation at Konami.

We’ve transcribed the most pertinent quote from her (which you can listen to as well), below:

Rika Muranaka: “His business sense, you know, isn’t there. He’s a creator and he doesn’t think about the money, or budget, anything like that. So he’ll continue to make, keep making, you know, game, you know,  how he feels like making. He feels like this is complete – when it’s not complete, he keeps going, you know? And that’s just how he is. And the company can’t afford to have an employee like that. They need to be budget, they need to have a deadline, they need to have a recouping point. And Hideo doesn’t think like that.”

[Transcriber’s note: One of the interviewers began a question, but Muranaka continued.] Muranaka: He just wants to make – create. Whatever he feels like creating.

A later clarification was issued by Muranaka, in which she claimed articles (like our own) were published based solely on speculation, and not on fact, and that her words were not the reason for Kojima’s “soon departure from Konami.”

She also pointed out that “Konami, on the other hand, is a business that is focused on budget and profit. So I simply expressed that maybe that has something to do with it. But never did I say that either Kojima or Konami is at fault. The truth of the matter is that I don’t know why he’s leaving, and therefore I don’t have an answer.”

Hopefully we’ll find out the truth of the matter after Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain ships on September 1st.


[ORIGINAL STORY]

We’ve potentially learned the real cause of the ongoing fallout between Konami, Hideo Kojima, and his rumored to be now-disbanded Kojima Productions development studio.

The news comes via series composer/music coordinator Rika Muranaka (Editor’s note: She worked on Metal Gear Solid 1-3), who did an interview with Fragged Nation. In the interview, Muranaka talked about the controversy surrounding Kojima and Konami.

According to Muranaka, the main reason for the split between Konami and Kojima is Kojima’s remuneration coming in the form of a salary, as he does not receive anything from game sales or profits.

She went on to say that with Kojima taking only taking a salary and focusing on the game instead, the project was over-budget and late.

With those factors taken into account, Konami’s irritation came in with how the project was late. Kojima didn’t seem to care and he had many expenses such as upgrading the Fox Engine, where he used the argument that the engine wasn’t finished as an excuse to further delay the project.

During this time Kojima continued to get a salary and like a traditional Japanese salaryman, he did not receive a share of the profits. Konami seemed dissatisfied with the arrangement. During this time Kojima was a creator and though his games were hits, he didn’t get bonuses.

In her eyes, Hideo Kojima is a fantastic creator, perhaps one of the greatest of our time. However, he didn’t have the business sense that Konami hoped for.

An example was given where many would try to lower foliage resolution below what Kojima wanted, as much as possible, to finish up the work’s appearance properly. She also went on to say that she’d get requests to make 30 or 40 songs, and at the end the majority weren’t used.

Kojima would ask her to make one more, or another, or another. He’d pick ones that he liked, or things the fans wanted to see, or things the fans wanted to hear. And so with that precise understanding, the music was prepared by Muranaka.

When it comes to music, she has directly worked with Kojima and has insight into the internal affairs of the company.

In her opinion, the music in Metal Gear Solid V  has suffered due to them not being able to afford her. They removed her from the equation and went to where the composers were, and hired them directly.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is launching across PlayStation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on September 1st. A Windows version is coming later, on September 15th.

Editor’s Note: Claude Smith contributed to this story via translations and by providing additional sources.

Brandon Orselli

About

Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer. Also an IT guy.

  • XiaomuArisu

    MGSV music suffered because they couldnt afford her?
    Wow that lady believes in herself

  • PenguinPlayer

    “An example was given where many would try to lower foliage
    resolution below what Kojima wanted, as much as possible, to finish up
    the work’s appearance properly.”

    R.I.P. Kojima he died so we wouldn’t have to call the Skyrim fans to do plant mods.

  • landlock

    To be honest though the music in MGS 1-3 is pretty epic.

  • landlock

    A perfectionist, I could see things like this happening.

  • OreWaSpyke

    So if I’m reading this right… Middle-woman music director is buttblasted that she was cut out, thinks MGSV is going to be a shadow of it’s real potential without her musical input…

    xD

    Bitch, he has genuine 80’s music, Donna Burke etc etc. The music in this game is going to rock balls! Get fuggin hyped!

  • Heavily Augmented

    I can’t help but wonder if Kojima does make a kickstarter in the duture what the minimum funding would be since I can’t help but feel this to be a little bit worrying.

  • JackDandy

    Dude get real, any schmo can license some fucking 80’s tracks.

    A vidya OST is all about it’s composer.

  • Cred

    lot of respect and admiration to Kojima for having such strong sense of vision and ambition but it does sound like he needs to improve his time and resource management if he wants to remain in the industry

    doesn’t matter if it’s indie, AAA, crowdfunded or any means, unless he is a billionaire funding a game out of his own pocket he’ll have to deal with a limited resource and deadlines

  • OreWaSpyke

    You mean those composers mentioned in the article? All of which he’s dealt with directly without Rika.
    Who really seems to be under the illusion that her input was CRUCIAL and that the game is going to suffer without her? :^)

  • TheCynicalReaper

    So, like many speculated, Kojima was an ass and got fired for being an ass. His bosses, who are known to be asses, were not so assy this time but actually had legitimate grievances against Kojima for placing art over 1) budget costs, 2) time issues and wasting time by placing upgrading the graphics engine above finishing the game, and 3) production values outside of the visual (ie foliage comes before music). The fact that he was Vice President and doing all of this only makes his actions worse.

    This changes a lot of things but doesn’t explain Konami’s apparently extreme desire to remove all things Kojima. I guess he really must have dragged the company around then.

    I hope people don’t start fellating Kojima and excusing his actions here. He’s not remotely the greatest of our generation, not by a long shot, but he is one of the greats and definitely knew how to make interesting titles. However, his skill and accomplishments should not overshadow legitimate reasons for his expulsion. Every artist must be capable of working within their means.

  • TheCynicalReaper

    Exactly. It’s the burden of every artist to work within their means.

  • JackDandy

    Man may have crossed the budget boundaries… But I’ll be DAMNED if the MGS series wasn’t better for it.

  • I have a feeling that he’s gonna open a kickstarter next year and get on the fast to becoming the Japanese Tim Schafer: Live off his previous acclaim, constantly smell the stench of his own hype, and routinely let ambition overshadow his budget.

  • Misogynerd

    I won’t make excuses for him because throwing out 40 songs out of perfectionism is ridiculous. Still, Konami is being an ass to one of their top assets and makes them look worse than Kojima.
    Still I do have to wonder if the open world direction was mandated by Konami, because if it was… then they got themselves into hot water.

  • Amrit

    This “news piece” contains almost entire sentences ripped from my Reddit post on the matter which I made 4 days ago. Other sentences haven’t even been rewritten adequately and still sound similar to what I’ve posted:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/metalgearsolid/comments/3ensxj/well_probably_never_have_the_entire_picture_but/

    Poor excuse for gaming journalism, Niche Gamer.

  • sanic

    I can’t fault someone for dedication but he did get greedy demanding bonuses.

  • Yeah I don’t understand how we “ripped” stuff from your post. This is the first time I’m seeing it.

    We went off the original video, and Japanese sources that first brought it to our attention, FWIW. We ironically follow Japanese press more than we do western ones, sometimes.

    If we’re talking about the same thing a person said, then again I don’t understand how we ripped off your post. We just felt this was worth talking about, and presented it as her words – without direct quotes, for readability.

  • Amrit

    Nice try dude. The language is the same. Anyway, others can decide for themselves. Best get ninja editing! ;)

  • Could you point out where we “ripped” you off? They are nothing alike, but talk about the same thing.

  • CoarseHock

    I don’t see any similarities besides the fact it talks about the same topic. Especially the lack of whacky lolsorandom parts.

  • Derek

    He was Konamis greatest mind and without him now has a horrible rep for being one of the Japanese titans to abandon gamibg for mobile and pachinko while the only options left are monster hunter clones or panty quests

  • The Iron Squid

    This isn’t entirely correct, Fraggednation explains it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCWLQeMBeyk

  • Martin

    Coincidences can happen, man. Anyway, it’s not exactly a “ripoff” as you claimed.

  • Lex

    This is kind of what I’d expect, though. Auteur developers are kinda going to be like that. You need someone to rein them in from time to time. Like having an editor for writers.

  • Zombie_Barioth

    I think this explains why they wanted to release Ground Zeroes separately. They wanted some kind of return to offset their expenses.

    I don’t think Kojima is the only one at fault here though, this can’t be a new thing with him, so Konami knew how he is. I take it he didn’t really have anybody there to keep him in check.

  • JackDandy

    Ah, fuck off

  • Misogynerd

    Well that is pretty obvious, especially since the original pricetag was too big. Still that was a great success since it did hype the game a bunch. Konami could’ve mitigated the sitaution with Kojima, for example changing how he obtained his salary, but hindsight’s a bitch.

    Still again, if Konami gave the order to make MGSV an open world, it’s like giving Tim schafer a million dollars and putting Jack Black in his proximity.

  • TheCynicalReaper

    That’s what a lot of people are saying will happen and this recent news does lend credibility to that. He certainly could become the next Schafer but, in the very least, he would actually do something worth the ungodly amount of money he’d demand from fans. At least, to an extent. We might end up with some pseudo-MGS project that goes the way of Half Life, with a final installment that’s just never made.

    We’ll just have to wait and see what comes next.

  • Christoffer Vik

    Fucking budget’s

  • Clayton Daley

    This article is wrong, i am the host of the show, and this stuff was twisted. Please see the clarification video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCWLQeMBeyk&app=desktop

  • FrankWhite

    Stop telling everyone they are posting wrong articles just because Muranaka was talking s””” in her interview. Take the threat you got by konami like a man.

  • Nagato

    “His business sense, you know, isn’t there. He’s a creator and he doesn’t think about the money, or budget, anything like that.”

    He’s a creator. Not a business man.

  • Deadmoonking

    *sigh*
    I kind of wish people like this would quit fanning the flames, no matter how “close” they are to the source. They should know that anything they say will be picked up and scrutinized and then they will probably have to backpedal.

    I think only the execs at Konami and Kojima know what really went down and until one of them makes a statement, it’s all just inflammatory palaver.

    2¢.

  • Jonathan Walker

    Fuck you.

    I’m jonathan_venom_snake of Instagram, one of the admins who conducted this interview.

    This WAS NOT A FRAGGEDNATION INTERVIEW. THIS WAS A METAL GEAR CENTRAL INTERVIEW. We had Daley as a host, yes, but THIS ISN’T A FRAGGEDNATION INTERVIEW. Maybe if you would have actually looked at the interview for at least a second before reporting on it, this article would be halfway accurate.

  • Jonathan Walker

    Futhermore, you should have actually watched that section of the interview before reporting on it, rather than JUST ASSUMING what you’re writing is true.

  • Yeah, maybe that’s why Konami is dead without Kojima-senpai. Like every artist ever, he actually gives a fuck about the quality of his work. Thanks for covering this, NG.

  • TheCynicalReaper

    Good job keeping updated and honest, guys! Appreciate it. Seriously.
    I still think Muranaka’s “opinion” is more than founded in fact and likely is her way of covering herself from potential issues while speaking the truth.

  • I told you so. It’s unfortunate the commons always unreasonably support the employee more despite the issue being clear-cut.

  • zeda

    He has ‘remained’ in the industry since the 80s and has delivered every single time without fail. As such, I would like to see more devs like him. More devs who’d give their lives for their creations.