No Place for Hideo: Kojima officially done with Konami

UPDATE: Kojima Productions have launched a new website, along with details concerning their next plans. It looks like a game will be developed for the PS4 as a timed release, with a PC release down the road. Further details are still unknown. Below is an English translation on the slick new Kojima Productions website (thanks to Reddit):

GAME DESIGNER HIDEO KOJIMA OPENS NEW STUDIO: KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS

Tokyo, Japan, Dec 16, 2015- KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS announced today that it has officially opened its doors.

Lead by award-winning game designer, HIDEO KOJIMA, the studio will begin focusing its efforts in developing products that will push the boundaries in innovation and ignite consumer interest worldwide.

Stay tuned for future announcements.

Production Name Kojima Productions
Representative Game Designer HIDEO KOJIMA
Date of establishment Dec 16, 2015
Web Site www.kojimaproductions.jp
For Media Inquiries Please Contact: Kojima Productions PR@kojimaproductions.jp

Website text:

We are Homo Ludens(Those who play).

From the moment we enter this world, we instinctively invent ways to have “fun”, and share our inventions with those around us. We are not asked to do this, nor do we need reasons to create. It is simply who we are.

We find one another and compete with one another. We laugh together and cry together all while playing together. Our experiences bind us and liberate us. To share our most valuable experiences, we create stories, invent tools, and evolve the art of play. Play has been our ally since the dawn of civilization.

“Playing” is not simply a pastime, it is the primordial basis of imagination and creation. Truth be told, Homo Ludens(Those who Play) are simultaneously Homo Faber(Those who Create).

Even if the earth were stripped of life and reduced to a barren wasteland, our imagination and desire to create would survive beyond survival, it would provide hope that flowers may one day bloom again. Through the invention of play, our new evolution awaits.

KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS
We are Homo Ludens. We are those who play.
小島 秀夫
Hideo Kojima

Original story below:

Konami has certainly had an interesting year in 2015. After saying they’re done with AAA titles, save for possible DLC for MGSV and the Pro Evolutions Soccer games, the big upset for the Japanese studio was the confusing departure of Hideo Kojima. Kojima, famous for his Metal Gear Solid franchise, as well as his wacky antics, was removed from MGSV only weeks before it’s release, and his name is likely only still in the game for marketing reasons.

Konami has long maintained that no, Kojima was still part of the company, but that he was simply taking a small break while they figure things out. Like so many children learn, that’s a total lie, and today Kojima officially announced to Japanese news site Nikkie.com that he was leaving Konami for good. 

This move isn’t totally surprising. Konami and Kojima have been at odds for some time. Even before being removed from MGSV, there was the cancellation of Kojima’s joint project with director Guillermo Del Toro and Walking Dead star Norman Reedus. The project would have been a reboot of the beloved, but admittedly floundering, Silent Hill franchise; it even managed to release a tech demo called P.T that has since been pulled from PSN. The demo was extremely well received, managing to land on several best-of lists despite only being a few minutes long, and it’s cancellation caused nothing short of an outrage towards Konami.

Could this be the last Metal Gear game?

Then, there’s the elephant in the room, or flying flaming whale as it may be. MGSV was easily one of the most anticipated titles of 2015, and rightly so. It’s been seven years since MGS4 was released in 2008 and 2014’s Ground Zeroes created a lot of hype for the new project. What we got was great, better than great for many people, but there’s definitely something off about it. There seems to be a lack of that unique Kojima touch that made the previous games extra special. It’s not the open world, or Keifer Sutherland, or anything in particular, but it’s like listening to a cover song of a classic, there’s something lost from the original.

There’s been speculation about MGSV and Kojima since Ground Zeroes was released, and we may never know the full extent of the truth. Without spoiling anything, MGSV‘s biggest issue is that it’s missing an ending. There’s a final boss, sure, but that’s only the first half of the game. Chapter 2 trails off like a grandfather telling a boring story, and there doesn’t seem to be an actual finale. The speculation is that the third chapter is locked behind a meta-game based around the disarmament of nuclear weapons. Every once in a while the official MGSV twitter will release the numbers of active nukes, and fans believe that when the numbers finally reach zero the third part of the game will be released. This is all speculation, and it’s also possible the ending was left blank intentionally for future sequels or DLC.

That isn’t what we’re here to talk about though, we’re here to look at the man behind the Metal Gear. Kojima is officially free of Konami, or the other way around as the case may be, and is now a free agent. According to the aforementioned article, Kojima has already set up a new studio with staff reportedly coming in from Konami. The new studio has yet to be named, and Kojima is the only confirmed employee. As of this writing, there’s also no publisher, although Kojima is reportedly in talks with Sony, not surprising given MGS’ history on Sony platforms.

Can Konami ever rebuild their PR?
Can Konami ever rebuild their PR?

There’s still a lot of questions left unanswered right now, not just pertaining to Kojima’s future employment. What if his team doesn’t sign to a publisher like Sony, but instead goes the Tim Shafer route and turns to alternative funding like Kickstarter. What kind of games will he work on? Something as creatively challenging as the MGS series? Maybe something along the lines of his earlier works like Snatcher or Policenauts? Perhaps he’ll embrace his comedic side and create something completely different from his previous works.

What of the company he left behind though? Konami’s PR was already in shambles after the cancellation of Silent Hills and ceasing production of AAA titles. The final nail in the proverbial coffin might have been the call out from Geoff Keighley at the 2015 VGA’s, which ended with a crowd of people openly booing the publisher. There’s a hashtag on Twitter that speaks about the general consensus towards Konami that’s a bit too vicious to repeat here. Never mind the future of the MGS franchise itself, a series that can pretty much guarantee profit. Will Konami try to make an MGS game without Kojima, or is MGSV truly the last outing for the franchise?

Time will hopefully answer all of these questions. The only thing for certain now is that the future for Konami is grim, and if they want to rebuild their public image they will have their work cut out for them. For Kojima, however, it’s nothing but possibility.

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