Hideo Kojima and Upper Management to Leave Konami after New Metal Gear Ships

hideo kojima 03-19-15-1

[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.

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Owner and Publisher at Niche Gamer and Nicchiban. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. Pronouns: Patriarch, Guido, Olive, Catholic

  1. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    March 19, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Still can’t believe this is possibly happening. It kind of makes sense, considering Konami’s decisions recently, and how Kojima is basically trapped by his own success with MGS. Shine on, you brilliant person.

  2. BattlerArisato
    March 19, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    What is going to happen to Silent Hills after this?

  3. Truomae
    March 19, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Well we can finally write of Konami for good if this is true at least.

  4. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    March 19, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    This is supposedly a production between Del Toro and Konami, not Kojima. We’ll see what happens once/if Kojima and the remaining talent is gone, though..

  5. landlock
    March 19, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    This must have been bubbling for a long time.

  6. bf313
    March 19, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Don’t really care about mainline MGS but i’m hoping this doesn’t prevent a Metal Gear Rising 2 from being made.

  7. Dewey Defeats Truman
    Dewey Defeats Truman
    March 19, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    If Kojima is really gone then I can’t imagine Konami will survive for much longer.

  8. eltonBorges
    March 19, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Frankly, I do believe it would be the best case scenario for Kojima and his colleges. He is an interesting developer. I’m not a Kojima fan, but I do believe he would be interested in working on things beside MGS, like his older titles, or something completely new. He is a very experienced developer and a huge name in the industry, so, even if he leaves, he will find his space in no time.

  9. 33
    March 19, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Not sure why you didn’t put that it was a rumour in the title.

  10. Michael Richardson
    Michael Richardson
    March 19, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Hope this won’t screw up Silent Hills. At least after this Kojima can feel free to pursue projects other than Metal Gear.

  11. Dimi Gronnings
    Dimi Gronnings
    March 19, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Because we only have so many characters available to us for a title. Thank Twitter.

  12. TheCynicalReaper
    March 19, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    I’ll believe it when I see it. Kojima is Vice President and has tons of influence in Konami, but he’s outrageously a Prima Donna and shoves all blame for anything going wrong onto other people, be it either the fans or his own team.

    Maybe if he leaves we won’t have to endure another Metal Gear title where his Hollywood worship splits the MGS series any further.

    And yes, I’m still bitter about MGS2, MGS4 and David Hayter being chucked-away in favor of the shiny Hollywood actor (who seems like a nice guy and good actor) Kojima’s producer buddy suggested.

  13. TheCynicalReaper
    March 19, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Good article, though.

  14. TheCynicalReaper
    March 19, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    It would be interesting to see if Kojima’s fanastic graphics engine will be used for it if he leaves.

    Do we know who holds the rights to the fox engine? Is it Kojima or Konami? Or do they both have a share in it?

  15. Anonymous
    March 19, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    So, is Konami committing suicide?
    Because they seem to be scaring away a lot of their talented people for no good reason.

    I guess it’ll be interesting to see what happens with those talented individuals leaving, the IP’s Konami will have without their creators, and Konami itself.

    It’s always interesting when something like this happens, it can lead to good franchises that die, great dream teams dissolving, or it can lead to good talent finding a better home or reforming under a new team with more freedom to act.

    I hope this works for the better because the Japanese industry isn’t exactly at its best right now.

  16. Karo
    March 19, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    I agree with everything but MGS2. Raiden was a fantastic character and the story was much better with him as the center. I know people are still salty over the bait and switch, but in the long run it was a smart choice. Especially considering the theme of the game itself.

  17. TheCynicalReaper
    March 19, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    “Because they seem to be scaring away a lot of their talented people for no good reason.”
    A lot of companies are doing that, it seems. See, the Japanese mobile market is far outmatching the console market. Has been for years now. I’ve heard projections that the disparity between both sides of the industry’s success is fast becoming a chasm.

    This leads to a bunch of uppity suits having cut-backs and lots of executive meddling in development. It’s why there’s been such a heavy emphasis on “online” titles and DLC in general because the suits want to get the same sweet micro-transaction money that mobile games do.

  18. TheCynicalReaper
    March 19, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    It’s also why there’s so many Hunter-type games than ever before (ie Soul
    Sacrifice, Freedom Wars, God Eater, Toukiden, etc.). It’s not just because
    Monster Hunter is popular, but because MH carries the addictive streak
    that mobile games have and you can keep revising the same game for new
    money before actually developing a new title.
    __Even when they do
    develop a new title, the best part is that Hunter games also reuse TONS
    of assets, just that they’re made shinier. This makes developing Hunter
    games both more cost-effective than most genres AND more profitable (DLC
    transactions and all).

    Why do you think Tales of Xillia 2 was made? Not only was the original game a huge success, but the sequel lifted almost every asset and setting from the previous game, making it WAY cheaper to develop than making a completely new title right out of the gate.

  19. TheCynicalReaper
    March 19, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Not to mention the micro-transaction mula and costs saved on asset reuse for fight games, which also undergo a couple, if not several, reiterations before a fully new title is released, and even then…

    Sorry. haha Got carried away.
    Basically what I’m saying is: mobile market’s success is scaring gaming’s corporate suits into killing the industry

  20. Lucas Osse
    Lucas Osse
    March 19, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Can I get some proof of Kojima being an asshole? I’m just genuinely interested.

  21. Lucas Osse
    Lucas Osse
    March 19, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    It might be Kojima himself wanting to leave.

  22. TheCynicalReaper
    March 19, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    That’s the only thing that bugs me, well that and certain other choices.
    But yes, if I hadn’t been tricked and basically screwed with like that, I would like MGS2 much more now.

    MGS2 on its own isn’t half bad. It really isn’t; it’s just how it was presented to me that still pisses me off

  23. TheCynicalReaper
    March 19, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Well first there’s how he treated his own staff regarding Metal Gear Rising’s development.
    Go to 5:22

    Kojima set a team aside on their own to make Metal Gear Solid: Rising. The team developed the action part alright but was having difficulty in how to create an experience that properly balanced real stealth and slicing action.

    They still had issues as the crunch dragged on, and so the director came to Kojima trying to discuss it with him and not get the whole game canceled.

    Kojima, instead of helping, blamed the director for the fault and took the game to Platinum, where they made an ACTION GAME. See, the team’s issue was stealth & action balance. If they’d known Kojima was going to say “Whatever, just make it action” they wouldn’t have had such an issue overall

  24. TheCynicalReaper
    March 19, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Kojima is also known for treating his team like idiots. In MGS4’s Making Of, he talks about how he, at several points, just had to do the dev work himself because he was the only one who could get it right (basically what he admits to with a smile).

    And as for Revengeance: His scenario writer had worked hard on making a proper installment to MGS within the previous established time-frame (if you recall the game was set between MGS2 and MGS4). Suddenly when Platinum was brought in, the writer had to scrap everything and make a new story post-MGS4. Kojima basically made everyone accommodate for Platinum’s tastes rather than work together cohesively for a MGS title

  25. TheCynicalReaper
    March 19, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Then of course we have the David Hayter debacle, which struck Western fans so hard that there’s still a huge portion of the fanbase dedicated to the idea that it’s all just a ruse

  26. TheCynicalReaper
    March 19, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    That’s also possible

  27. Siveon
    March 19, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Sorry, but this is really bugging me. Why are you writing sentences
    like this, skipping lines for no apparent reason?

  28. Lucas Osse
    Lucas Osse
    March 19, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    The Hayter thing I don’t care about, personally I like Kiefer a lot more, but I did hear it might have been done because Kojima just didn’t like him.

  29. Lucas Osse
    Lucas Osse
    March 19, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Man, 2 is my least favorite, not really because of the Raiden thing, I just don’t like the game.

  30. Everyday Legend
    Everyday Legend
    March 19, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    People will follow him on name alone.

  31. Everyday Legend
    Everyday Legend
    March 19, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    I’m just sad that we never got a Zone Of The Enders 3 from him.

  32. TheCynicalReaper
    March 19, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Well like I said, there are certain other choices that piss me off/bug me too. Plenty of them.
    But I’d be able to better assess it if I hadn’t been slapped across the face when it first came out.

  33. Patrick Bateman
    Patrick Bateman
    March 19, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I can’t believe this. This has GOT to be a ruse. R-right?
    I mean, Metal Gear is the only relevant franchise Konami has aside from those Dance Dance Revolution games that are only popular in Japanese arcade halls….
    What will happen to Silent Hills? Will we ever see ZoE3?
    I feel kind of sad….

  34. 33
    March 19, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    Sites like TechRaptor managed it. Just saying. ‘Rumour’ is a pretty important word to have.

  35. Dimi Gronnings
    Dimi Gronnings
    March 19, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Sure, because their heading was vague. We mentioned “rumor” in the second sentence, and filed it under the “rumor” tag. It’s not the end of the world. If people don’t like the article, they’re more than capable of clicking the X in the tab/window.

  36. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    March 19, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    While they reported on the original rumor, the Gamespot source is more credible, so I didn’t feel it was necessary to put rumor in the title itself. If we reported on just the website changes, then I would’ve chalked it up to a rumor.

    We didn’t report on it until the Gamespot source came out, as we didn’t feel the website changes alone were worth reporting on. Apologies if that caused any confusion.

  37. Anonymous
    March 19, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    I don’t see anything inherently wrong with reusing assets.
    But that’s not the only way to cut down costs and if that’s the cause for some stagnation in the japanese industry, they should really take a look at other ways to reduce costs that offer them more options.

  38. Anonymous
    March 19, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Yeah but why would he want to leave ?
    If Konami was giving him the resources and freedom he wanted he wouldn’t see a point in leaving.
    If he is tired of them there ought to be a reason.

  39. Ms_Fortune
    March 19, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Kojima’s been wanting to leave Metal Gear since 2, I hope he does leave and writes and makes what he wants to.

  40. Neojames82
    March 19, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    Well you can kiss Konami’s future goodbye.

  41. TsukuyomiMagi99
    March 19, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Kinda reminds me of when Kamiya bounced from Capcom.

  42. TsukuyomiMagi99
    March 19, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    Is this the reason that Square-Enix said that Final Fantasy XV might be their last ace in the whole for their company and Japanese console gaming in general?

  43. TsukuyomiMagi99
    March 19, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    Regardless of whatever flaws Kojima has, him and his team have created one the greatest and most memorable gaming franchises of all time. The MGS series will always hold a place in my heart.

  44. Zombie_Barioth
    March 19, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    That’s what I’m thinking too. I have a feeling someone from Konami tried to talk to him about working on the next Metal Gear Solid after they finish MGSV and he finally had enough.

    So, similar to Sakurai leaving Nintendo. Kinda funny how they both seem to leaving under the same circumstances, being friends and all. I wonder if he might also return to work on future projects or just walk away like Sakurai is thinking about doing with Smash Bros. This is just plain weird.

  45. Lucas Osse
    Lucas Osse
    March 19, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    If they’re friends, one might even have encouraged the other to leave.

  46. sanic
    March 20, 2015 at 12:21 am

    Guess I better write up that silent hill treatment I was thinking of.

  47. 33
    March 20, 2015 at 8:47 am

    I understand. It was my mistake. I thought the Gamespot article had come out sooner. Plus with what’s happened now (the later article about Konami trying to hire new people for MGS) it’s pretty much confirmed. Apologies – I had my timeline confused and I sounded rather rude.

  48. 33
    March 20, 2015 at 8:49 am

    I can see the need to make the article title more specific. I also had my timeline mixed up about when more information had come out in regards to this. I apologise – I sounded very rude and was wrong.

  49. British_Otaku
    March 20, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Guessing that Konami hold the rights to it, publishers tend to hang onto most things developed under their name, especially when it is an extensive franchise with a team which has worked with them for decades.

    If Kojima took it with him, Pro Evo 2016 would be in big trouble. >_>

  50. Phasmatis75
    March 20, 2015 at 10:38 am

    I’d bet on other companies already courting him with offers and promises they won’t keep.

  51. Phasmatis75
    March 20, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Personally I didn’t mind. I loved MGS 1 I’d played it probably 3-5 times through and thought it was cool we were moving onto a new character in MGS2.

  52. Zombie_Barioth
    March 20, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    True, come to think of it, I recall hearing one of them being encouraged to do so over lunch or something. Might have been Sakurai though.

  53. TheCynicalReaper
    March 21, 2015 at 6:24 am

    Very good point

  54. TheCynicalReaper
    March 21, 2015 at 6:36 am

    Pretty much.

    But those exact words are mostly hysteria on their part since
    1. FF15 has spent WAY too much time in development to turn out as the masterpiece they demand it to be
    2. GTAV and DBZ: Xenoverse proved that, with proper development and *marketing*, a AAA game can rake in a horizon of cash even in an industry slowly being swallowed whole by the anaconda of mobile gaming
    3. Niche game publishers just don’t get hit as hard as monoliths like SE because their titles are not only cheaper to make but they’re also niche, and thus have always been for a certain audience

    tl;dr Square Enix is just freaking out, like most AAA devs who don’t know what they should be doing

  55. TheCynicalReaper
    March 21, 2015 at 6:37 am

    Actually that wasn’t what it looked like when I’d typed it out. Something must have messed up when it posted.

  56. ogopogo
    March 21, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Um, sorry, but Konami’s PR has actually denied the rumor that Kojima is leaving in an interview with livedoor news on the 20th. They said that the change to the the logo and the removal of Kojima Production is due to a change to the internal production pipeline and that Kojima is still a employee at Konami. However, they’ve also mentioned that no one would know, including Kojima himself, whether he’ll leave Konami in the future so I guess it could all be PR speak right now but at least they’ve come out and denied the rumor.

    Link to the news article: http://news.livedoor.com/article/detail/9912970/

  57. Cataro
    May 11, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    I always thought Kojima is the Heart of Konami, so how is it even possible for them to survive without a heart?… Not possible so RIP Konami!
    I guess Kojima will make his own Company someday♪