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.