Konami finally makes it official, and Kojima does too!

 

kojimaproductions

Hideo Kojima is creating a new independent studio named “KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS” and has already made a deal with PlayStation for a “collaboration” on a new project.  This confirms reports from just a few hours ago, and means a new era of Kojima works are on the way.  We can assume that his old team is joining him, which means we should expect extremely high quality and solid development times; especially since Konami was pretty notorious for having an awful work environment for creators to begin with, and that is no longer a problem.

Of course, this is the best possible news in the wake of the Konami fiasco.  They are undoubtedly very jealous of this, and were acting out of spite against him until now — using all of their legal power to hold him down until the very last second.  I have to admit, I can still hardly believe how absurd they behaved, even for as cynical as I am.  Then again, I also never thought that his departure from Konami would be a bad thing, because — as we can clearly see today — he is perfectly fine without them.  In fact, he leveled up in the process, judging by that sweet beard.

Will the next title be anywhere near as fascinating as a new Metal Gear?  Not from a “meta” angle, I’m sure.  But I’m a fan of Kojima’s work in general, so I am very excited to see what he comes up with.  Personally, I hope he builds a new fictional universe that’s filled with social commentary and philosophy, and grounded in solid action/adventure genre that his team knows best, not some risky attempt to be a futurist.  Kojima might have so many pent up gimmicks in his brain that he won’t be able to resist making some PlayStation VR technology showcase requiring 3 peripherals to even experience properly.  (According to the new badass logo, he might want to pursue stuff you wear on your head.  That is supposed to be a robotic knight’s helmet right?)

Right now I’m focused on my book about Kojima and the Metal Gear series (although it also includes Snatcher, Policenauts, and spinoff games!) so if you want to truly appreciate his life and legacy until today, you have something amazing to look forward to still.  Not bad timing, I must say!  My deep interpretation of the series has only been reinforced by evidence over the years, and the book pushes everything to a new level.  I’m very excited to share it with you, as I stay tuned what comes next.

Let’s also have a moment of silence for the great, fun, and promising ruse theories, which spoke to so many people’s imaginations as well as their high regard for Kojima’s trickster legacy.  He was in a league of his own, and if there was ever a creator who could have somehow pulled a ruse on that scale it would have been him!  Since I no longer have any choice but to believe all of the negative reports and rumors in the past, I have to wonder even more what was truly behind the conflict and toxicity.  Maybe it will come out in the wash.

Video Game Awards and Kojima

Hideo Kojima was legally prevented from attending the Video Game Awards yesterday.  During the ceremony MGSV won an award for Best Action/Adventure Game, and Keifer Sutherland went up to accept it on Kojima’s behalf.  (Sutherland noted that Metal Gear Solid fans are the most devoted of any he’s ever seen, saying that of all the things he’s done in the past, the only posters he seems to sign are for Snake in MGS.)

Here‘s what Keighley said about the situation afterward:

“Mr. Kojima had every intention of being with us tonight, but unfortunately he was informed by a lawyer representing Konami just recently that he would not be allowed to travel to tonight’s award ceremony to accept any awards.  He’s still under employment contract and it’s disappointing — it’s inconceivable to me that an artist like Hideo would not be allowed to come here and celebrate with his peers and his fellow teammates.  Such an incredible game, is Metal Gear Solid 5, but that’s the situation we’re in.  Hideo is in Tokyo right now, watching the show, so I want you to know, Hideo, that we’re thinking of you, and we miss you.  We hope to see you at The Game Awards 2016.”

Clearly this is the most pathetic move yet by Konami.  It truly does seem like pure animosity toward Kojima, which begs the question of what exactly he did to piss them off so much.  The game has sold incredibly well, and obviously it won an award, so it is mind-boggling why things would continue to drag out in such an ugly fashion.

I can’t wait to find out what the hell is going on yet.

Also, Jade Raymond — who many speculate was drunk at the event — took a moment to spit on the decision to replace David Hayter in Metal Gear Solid V.  Here’s a video of that.  I don’t see this as a jab at Sutherland, just pent up disbelief that Hayter was rudely snubbed for the role.

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.

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.

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.

SuperBunnyHop follows up on Konami removing his video

George Weidman of SuperBunnyHop is a cool guy who recently made a video about Konami which was taken down due to a copyright claim by Konami.  This is a followup about that video, and it further reinforces the possibility that Konami really is stupid, and they really don’t know what they’re doing at all.

I’ll admit, my theory that the MGSV and Kojima controversy was at least somewhat staged is looking like the less plausible theory these days.  I wonder if Kojima simply predicted something like this would happen, because I still don’t think the parallels to Ground Zeroes is a coincidence.

Anyway, here’s the video, assuming you have seen the original (which has been restored due to YouTube itself rejecting the copyright infringement claim) you should watch it: