Kojima Expected to Leave Konami After MGS5, Inside Source Confirms
Key devs could leave before 2016; Senior staff become contractors; Communications block in effect.
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A fallout between Kojima Productions and its publisher, Konami, has led to senior staff at the studio given restricted access to corporate internet, emails, and phone calls, GameSpot understands.
Along with the restricted communications, key developers at the studio, such as Hideo Kojima, will now have limited opportunities to lend their appearance to promotions of the studio’s upcoming game, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain.
Power struggles between Kojima Productions and Konami have convinced the publisher to make drastic changes, including amending the employee status of its Metal Gear team. Some senior staff at the studio, including Kojima, now essentially work as contractors, not permanent employees.
The extraordinary measures were revealed by a source within Konami, speaking to GameSpot on the condition of anonymity. The person explained that, once the Phantom Pain project is finished, in all likelihood the management at the studio will disband.
"After we finish MGSV, Mr. Kojima and upper management will leave Konami. They said their contract ends in December," the source claimed.
The person added: "At a team meeting, Mr Kojima explained that team have to be one and make a good game for fans."
Kojima, now 51, joined Konami in 1986. His departure from the company will bring an end to nearly three decades of service.
In other developments, Konami has begun erasing the Kojima Productions logo from all official Metal Gear art, and it has demoted Kojima off its executive team. Meanwhile, Kojima Productions’ branding has also been removed from Twitter, the official Metal Gear website, and even the LA office listing.
Representatives for Konami would not discuss specifics of the matter when contacted by GameSpot. The corporation has offered a statement, however.
It reads: "Konami Digital Entertainment, including Mr. Kojima, will continue to develop and support Metal Gear products. Please look forward to future announcements."
The corporation's central public relations team, based in Tokyo, is unavailable at the time of going to press, due to it being past midnight local time.
Metal Gear Solid 5, Kojima’s latest iteration in the famed series, ships in September on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC.
An expanded statement from Konami follows: "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."
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