The writing has been on the wall that Hideo Kojima is leaving Konami as the video game publisher shifts to a mobile focus. Kojima Productions, the studio that has developed the Metal Gear franchise for years is now “disbanded” according to Akio Otsuka, the Japanese voice actor that has portrayed the titular characters Solid Snake and Big Boss.
The Solid Snake voice actor shared in a tweet translated by Gematsu,“Kojima Productions was forced to disband, but it appears that the work that the team has been putting their utmost effort into is nearly complete. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I expect it will become their greatest masterpiece. I couldn’t help it. I just wanted to say ‘Kept you waiting, huh?’ (Laughs.) But even if this is the end, Metal Gear Solid is immortal!”
Konami has not made any official statements regarding the fate of Hideo Kojima or the team at Kojima Productions. Gamespot has cited sources saying that once MGSV: The Phantom Pain has been released, Kojima will leave Konami for good.
“After we finish MGSV, Mr. Kojima and upper management will leave Konami. They said their contract ends in December,” their source claimed. “At a team meeting, Mr. Kojima explained that team have to be one and make a good game for fans.”
Rumors of varying degrees of credibility have been swirling around the drama between Konami and Kojima since March. Towards the end of the month, the Kojima Station show went off the air indefinitely. Logos of Kojima Productions began disappearing from websites including the Silent Hills site hinting to the disbanding of Kojima Productions. By April, the critically acclaimed and downright terrifying P.T. (Playable Teaser) for Silent Hills was removed from Sony’s PSN with confirmation that the highly-anticipated entry into the series was indeed canceled.
Further credibility to the rumors was given in the form of Konami’s earnings report for the last financial quarter. The report showed significant gains in mobile game development as well as pseudo-gambling machines in its home country of Japan, which is one of the fastest growing industries in Japan as gambling laws are being loosened. Dedicated console video games were far down the list. This led analysts to surmise Kojima’s apparent departure was related by Konami’s shift to a mobile platform.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will release on September 1, 2015 with the PC version following closely on its heels two weeks later. Hideo Kojima and his upper management are reported to be functioning as contractors to finish up the game with Konami. Should the tweet by Otsuka Akio be confirmed true, it will be a sad day as we receive official confirmation of the disbanding of Kojima Productions, one of the most prolific and culturally important video game development teams in history.
[Image Source | GamesPress]