[Editor’s note: update on the situation here.]
Even more talent may be leaving Konami, according to a report from Gamespot.
For now, consider this a rumor, but a source from within Kojima Productions has apparently confirmed that Konami and Kojima Productions have had a fallout, which has led to Kojima and other senior staff at the studio being forbidden access to corporate internet, emails, and even phones.
In addition to this, key developers at Kojima Productions, such as Hideo Kojima, are now restricted from making public appearances to promote the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Power struggles are said to be taking place between the two companies, leading Konami to enact strict, sweeping changes, including changing the employee status of their Metal Gear team: apparently, some senior staff, including Kojima himself, are now effectively contractors instead of permanent employees (with a concomitant loss of permanent employment privileges as well).
According to the unidentified source, once The Phantom Pain is finished, upper management at Kojima Productions will likely part ways with Konami. “After we finish MGSV, Mr. Kojima and upper management will leave Konami. They said their contract ends in December,” the source told Gamespot. “At a team meeting, Mr Kojima explained that the team have to be one and make a good game for fans.”
Publishers Konami have been stripping and removing all traces of Kojima Productions, including Metal Gear artwork, from their website. They’ve also removed Kojima from their executive team, and have erased Kojima Productions branding from the game’s Twitter account, the official Metal Gear website, and even the LA office listing.
Konami have refused to respond to these matters directly, but have issued the following statement:
“Konami Digital Entertainment, including Mr. Kojima, will continue to develop and support Metal Gear products. Please look forward to future announcements. […] As we have already announced, we are shifting our production structure to a headquarters-controlled system, in order to establish a steadfast operating base capable of responding to the rapid market changes that surround our digital entertainment business. Konami Digital Entertainment (including Mr. Kojima), will continue to develop and support Metal Gear products. Please look forward to future announcements.”
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is due to release this September, so it won’t be too long before we find out whether the rumors are true, if not before then.