Metal Gear Online Studio Konami LA Shut Down [UPDATE]

Over 20 jobs lost in the process, according to reports.

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UPDATE: Konami has provided an official statement to GameSpot confirming the closure of its Los Angeles studio. The statement reads as follows:

"KONAMI has made the decision to close its Los Angeles Studio, effective immediately, due to the product development resources being restructured into a more centralized unit. This facility contributed to the recent METAL GEAR SOLID games. KONAMI will continue its operations to support all METAL GEAR SOLID titles, including the recently launched METAL GEAR SOLID V: The Phantom Pain and METAL GEAR ONLINE. METAL GEAR ONLINE is still scheduled to release for PC Steam in January 2016."

The original story follows below.

Konami Los Angeles Studio, the team behind the latest incarnation of Metal Gear Online, has reportedly been shut down. Rumours of the studio's closure initially appeared on Twitter by way of 3D Realms co-founder George Broussard,

"Konami has shut down the Kojima Productions LA studio, taking with it approx 35 jobs, just before Xmas," he said.

Eurogamer reports it has verified this information, citing sources close to the matter. It has also stated "over 20 jobs" were lost in the process. GameSpot has contacted Konami for a comment, as well as clarification on how many jobs were lost.

The LA studio was opened in 2013 as a new division of Kojima Productions. It was tasked specifically with developing the online component of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. It is unclear to what extent it was involved in maintaining the Metal Gear Online, and whether operation of the mode will be impacted by the loss of staff.

In March 2015, it was reported a power struggle between Konami and Kojima Productions, the Kojima-led studio responsible for the core entries in the series, resulted in senior staff having limited access to emails, phone calls, and corporate Internet.

Following this, Konami began removing series creator Hideo Kojima's name from all Metal Gear Solid products. As part of the purge, the LA studio was renamed Konami Los Angeles.

Kojima reportedly left Konami on October 9 after almost three decades at the company. GameSpot reported earlier this year that Kojima was likely to leave the company following the completion of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which was released on September 1.

In July, the Japanese voice actor for Metal Gear Solid's Snake stated that Kojima Productions no longer existed as a development studio. This came following the cancellation of Silent Hills, a collaboration between Kojima and film director Guillermo del Toro.

It is believed Kojima has a non-compete clause that expires in December (as previously reported). The specifics of this aren't clause aren't clear, but at the very least it means he will not be able to sign on with another company until after this period.

Konami has denied reports Kojima has left, claiming he is on vacation.

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