Where in the World is Hideo Kojima?
Long before Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was released and received reviews that put it on the shortest of shortlists for Game of the Year, rumours were abound about Hideo Kojima’s status with Konami. Reports said he was taken off the project. His name was taken off the cover of MGSV. However, the official stance is that everything was normal. In the two months since the game’s release,
Last week, the story got new life with a New Yorker article that said Kojima left the company near the beginning of October, even having a goodbye party on his last Friday at Konami. For their part, Konami disagrees.
According to Simon Parkin writing for The New Yorker, there was a farewell party thrown for Kojima on October 9th with about one hundred invited guests in attendance.
Kojima’s departure from Konami has been rumoured for months. A number of reasons have been cited for the break-up of the powerhouse combination of publisher and visionary developer.
Development of MGSV was rumoured to have been over-budget and released was delayed due to Kojima’s exacting standards which apparently didn’t go over well with Konami.
A Nikkei report indicated the game cost more than $80 million in development but may have recouped all of that with launch day sales of $179 million. (Contribution per unit sold varies based on platform and digital/hard copy mixes.) As for the game itself, a number of gamers and critics noted how the game fell apart slightly in Chapter 2. A behind the scenes feature showed in-progress work on the game’s Chapter 3 that was not included in the final release with the belief that it was dropped to expedite the game’s release.
It’s also been rumoured for some months that Konami is looking to get out of the AAA games business. Fans of Jim Sterling would know his running gag of pointing out that Konami is using their big franchises on pachinko machines (a combination vertical pinball and slot machine popular in Japan). An interview in May with Konami CEO Hideki Hayakawa on the heels of Kojima’s rumoured departure and the cancellation of Silent Hills gave people reason the believe that the mobile space was Konami’s focus going forward.
With Konami’s seeming lack of interest in publishing big budget games outside of Metal Gear Solid V and the annual release of Pro Evolution Soccer, it appeared that there wasn’t a place for Kojima’s style of games in Konami’s future strategy. This is believed to be the primary reason for Kojima’s departure.
Actually, alleged departure is the more officially accurate description. In a statement to Kotaku, Konami refuted the report of Kojima’s resignation. Instead, he was going on an extended vacation and the party in Parkin’s story was his going away party for said vacation.
However, all signs seem to point to this being a temporary period before Kojima’s permanent departure from the company. Parkin reported that Kojima’s no-compete clause ends in December. Kotaku’s sources tell them that Kojima’s contract with Konami ends in December. Two independent reports are pointing towards Kojima no longer being a Konami employee in December.
So where is Hideo Kojima right now besides catching up on TV, movies and reading? Well, I know where he isn’t. He isn’t at Konami HQ and it doesn’t look like he’s in any rush to go back.