Is Kojima leaving Konami or not? The plot thickens

So here’s the deal.  Simon Parkin from The New Yorker went to Japan and attended Kojima’s farewell party.  He interviewed some Japanese developers, Ryan Payton, and others who might have some insight.  The consensus was that Japanese console development is dead for most companies, and that Kojima is therefore the last of a dying breed.  He has a photo of Kojima at the farewell party and everything.  Here’s what the article says:

Friday, October 9th, Hideo Kojima left the Tokyo offices of Konami, the video-game company where he had worked since 1986, for the last time. The departure ceremony, according to one of the hundred or so guests who attended, and who asked that I not use his name, took place at Kojima Productions, the director’s in-house studio, and was “a rather cheerful but also emotional goodbye.”

Here’s a snippet toward the end:

It’s likely that, after Kojima’s non-compete clause expires, in December, he will find a new studio and continue making lavishly produced games.


So it’s official and finished, right?  We already knew Kojima’s contract was expiring and he was on his way out.  Kojima Productions was dismantled and disbanded.  Konami is now a living hell for everyone.  This story matches up perfectly.  And yet Konami themselves are denying it.  Kojima is “on vacation” and “currently listed as an employee” according to the report, which Kotaku translated.

Konami denied that he has left the company. “Currently, Kojima and the development team are finished developing Metal Gear Solid V and are taking a long time off from work.”

When asked about the farewell party, Konami replied, “We’re not sure what kind of thing this was.”

This pretext of a “vacation” could be a way for a long fade out, but Konami insisted, “Because the development time for console games is so long and fatigue builds up, it’s common for employees to take extended periods of time off when development is finished.”

The Japanese report specifically points to The New Yorker article as being false, and says that foreign media is wrong in their understanding.  Would Konami go as far as to lie about Kojima and his team staying employed, or did Simon Parker jump the shark when he mistook a game compltion/vacation celebration with a final goodbye?  Did Kojima manage to renegotiate his terms and save everyone after the success of MGSV?  Or was this the ruse all along?  None of these seem plausible, but the experts on Twitter all seem to be scoffing at how typical this is of Konami.

The “insider sources” who talk about Kojima’s departure are all consistent on the matter, and I would be surprised if Kojima wasn’t leaving, but he himself has yet to explain.  That’s the real missing key.

Surprise: MGSV was very profitable on Day 1

So yeah, the whole Kojima Productions dismantling probably wasn’t about money.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain made $179 million globally on its opening day, according to Adobe Digital Index’s new report on gaming trends. Compare that to the blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron, which made $84 million globally on its opening day. Yes, The Phantom Pain made almost twice as much. So, the next time someone tells you that triple-A gaming is dying, you’re allowed to laugh in their face.

This shouldn’t be news, but of course there were countless commenters who replied to the controversy surrounding Kojima by saying MGSV’s budget was astronomical, the game would struggle to ever become profitable, etc.  Do these people realize that games cost over $60 USD each?  Did they realize that next-gen consoles have no games right now?  It will be interesting to see what the reaction is to this news.

This feat is even more impressive when you consider that Metal Gear Solid V had a cheaper budget. It cost $80 million to make, while Age of Ultron had a massive $250 million budget. And games already make more than film: Gaming will be worth $91.5 billion this year, according to research group Newzoo. Accounting firm PwC says that the movie industry will be worth $88.3 billion in 2015.

“The gaming industry is a lot bigger than most marketers realize,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst and director at Adobe in the report. “These games get more social buzz on opening day than most movies do, and the revenue for one of the top games this year outdid the highest-grossing movie start [Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 with $91 million] by nearly double.”

Let’s act shocked.

The Ideology of Torture

Mr. Sylazhov returns with his latest guest article the day before the release of Metal Gear Solid V, to examine the extremely important matter of torture, in both the real world and the fictional one Kojima uses to show his views.

The methods, reasons, and history of torture are discussed, along with a personal story that drives home the reality of the barbaric practices used by military and spy agencies around the world.  This article was finished quite a while ago, but I’m publishing it on the eve of The Phantom Pain to emphasize the seriousness of its controversial subject matter.

Warning: Some graphic content follows.

The Ideology of Torture

A personal, political, and philosophical study of torture in the MGS series and the real world

I would like to dedicate the following piece to the victims of
the dictatorship in my country, and to all victims of
political repression from any side of the political spectrum.

Continue reading

Site update! Mystery thing!

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am still working on one of my two projects — the more important one — and it’s coming along very well.  Hopefully I can announce details within the month, because it’s something I believe you will all go crazy for and I don’t want MGSV to completely outshine it before I can get you guys hyped for it.

That’s right, my hiatus and my project is definitely related to Metal Gear, and I’ve been devoting all my free time to it in the hopes that you will love it.  Did you think I could abandon the series with Metal Gear Solid V on the way?  Come on.

Thank you for being patient with me, folks.  There’s a lot left to do, but I’m putting my blood, sweat, and tears into it.  I’ve probably lost 10 pounds from forgetting about meals and pushing myself to do more.  Every step closer makes me more confident that it will be exactly what fans of this site have been secretly wanting all these years.  I can’t say more than that, but I will say to stay tuned.

P.S.  Big congratulations to our affiliate The Snake Soup for making it to their 12 year anniversary!!

Del Toro and Kojima still working together

According to an IGN interview:

In an interview with IGN, del Toro said, “I love working with Kojima-san. We are still in touch. We are still friends and working into doing something together, but that’s not going to be [Silent Hills].”

Guillermo del Toro also detailed a bit about what Silent Hills — though still very early in the development process — could have been.

“We were in the planning stages, and it’s a shame it’s not going to happen,” del Toro said. “We were talking about really pushing the boundaries of the new consoles, and making the game really mess with your head. One of the great moments in Metal Gear [Solid] was Psycho Mantis. The idea that a game can actually interact with you, and stuff like that.”

It’s good to know the collaboration will keep going, especially since there is so much uncertainty about what’s next for Kojima.

Also worth noting that some fans believed Silent Hills was in full production, but del Toro says it was in planning stages, meaning that very little real work had been finished.

Konami erases Kojima’s name from MGSV box art


Well, your worst nightmares have come true, Metal Gear fans: KONAMI seems to be erasing the Kojima Productions logo and the classic “A Hideo Kojima Game” phrase from the box art of The Phantom Pain.  And as you would expect, people are very confused.

The logic of this move isn’t so crazy.  KONAMI wants gamers to stop being loyal to Kojima, and start being loyal to KONAMI.  With Kojima on his way out, but the Metal Gear series set to continue on without him, why not?  But even news sites are having a hard time comprehending what they’re doing:

But even if they have a bone to pick with Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima, removing his name from the Metal Gear Solid V box itself, is absurd and unprofessional, the petty act of a spurned lover.

MGSV Box-Art

He goes on to explain the common perception about the situation:

This follows Konami pulling Kojima’s name and that of his studio Kojima Productions from marketing materials earlier this year. At the time, Konami assured everyone that it was simply a restructure: The Japanese publisher was moving to a “headquarters-controlled” system and Kojima and his team would remain intact. That was not to be, as revelations of Kojima’s departure emerged shortly after.

Konami and Kojima may have parted ways, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is the man and the team responsible for creating one of the best-selling, most critically acclaimed series in Konami’s history as a company. Nor does it change the fact that Kojima himself is popular with gamers, and erasing him risks even more bad press and alienation than Konami has already faced.

Of course it’s a controversial move, at a time when they should be focusing on hyping up their huge blockbuster title, not generating hatred from hundreds of thousands of their most loyal customers.  He goes on to express his confusion:

But outside of a little passive-aggressiveness, I’m not sure what Konami is hoping to achieve here. Smug satisfaction?


That’s the question we need to be asking.  I could remind you of another 20 reasons why this story doesn’t add up, but let me take another stab at a good explanation instead.

  • Hideo Kojima tells the company executives he wants to quit the Metal Gear series after The Phantom Pain and move on to other projects such as Silent Hills.  MGSV is designed to be highly expandable (episodic mission structure,) and the LA team is set up to handle multiplayer support.
  • KONAMI complains, but allows him to keep working and promoting it in the hopes that he’ll buckle under pressure along the way.
  • Kojima predicted this and already made MGSV about the whole situation from the start, even as early as Ground Zeroes.  Hence his “career-ending taboo” hints early on in production.
  • Kojima makes it clear that he won’t be continuing the series, no matter what, and eventually has a fight with the top management, who start pulling out threats that Kojima has already predicted.
  • KONAMI threatens to cancel MGSV, sack Kojima Productions, kick out Kojima, and cancel Silent Hills too.
  • Kojima knows that MGSV will tell his story, and watches as they start executing their threats, as he expected.  They are burning the bridge while scrambling to hire a new team for future titles and don’t even know how to save face.

I refuse to believe that Kojima was blindsided by these events, or that he wasn’t fully prepared for them in his mind and heart.  He’s too old, has gone through too much bullshit with Konami and the Metal Gear series, and has put too many hints into MGSV already.  Remember shining the blue light on the Metal Gear logos that he considers canon?  Completely needless, mostly ignored, but suddenly highly poignant once you realize that he was trying to send a message to players through the game in a way that Konami couldn’t erase.

Perhaps MGSV truly is about revenge, but for something that he knew was going to happen in the future.

Official confirmation that Kojima Productions has been disbanded

JunkerHQ, The Snake Soup, and others have reported it.  The news comes from the Japanese voice actor of Snake, Akio Otsuka on Twitter.  The translation is a farewell to Kojima Productions and a promotion of MGSV as their greatest work yet.

Some people were hopeful that the display of the Kojima Productions logo in the recent E3 trailer was proof that the company would be allowed to exist, but obviously that’s not the case.

It’s looking very unlikely that the “trolling theory” can still hold weight now, despite the outrageous level of coincidence and parallel with the themes of MGSV and its early marketing stunts.  Truly, we have to wonder what it all means, and how much decision Kojima himself had in it.