Liberty: Hideo Kojima Has Left Konami (Updated)

Update: Konami are denying that Kojima has left the company, saying that he is instead “on vacation.” More details below.

Original story:

Metal Gear Solid maestro Hideo Kojima has left Konami. We’ve been reporting on rumours about Kojima’s departure from the publishers since March, but now it’s reported by The New Yorker that October 9th was his last day at the company.

The New Yorker write that, “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.'” Kojima Productions being an in-house studio means that Kojima has also parted company with the development studio he helped build and the team with which he recently released Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

There’s not yet any official statement from either Konami or Kojima, but the departure likely has little to do with the success of the Metal Gear Solid series – which continues to be huge – and more to do with the company re-focusing on mobile games.

It’s anyone’s guess what this means for Metal Gear, Hideo Kojima or the other staff at Kojima Productions. The New Yorker story mentions that Kojima has a non-compete clause in his contract which won’t expire till December. I imagine he’s already fielding calls from every first-party manufacturer and every major publisher, and it’ll be interesting to see whether he’ll join a Japanese or western company, or whether he’ll resign himself to making smaller games and attempt to remain independent as Keiji Inafune has.

I am a little sad given how much I and we enjoyed The Phantom Pain, but I’m also excited to see what Kojima will make now he’s free to start from scratch.

Update: Right, so Kotaku have picked up on a story on Japanese website Tokyo Sports which includes a comment from a spokesperson for Konami. They say that, “Currently, Kojima is a listed as a company employee [at Konami].” and that “Currently, Kojima and the development team are finished developing Metal Gear Solid V and are taking a long time off from work.”

It’s possible of course that Konami would be reluctant to admit at this stage that Kojima has left the company, and “vacation” could simply be gardening leave ahead of the expiration of his contract. I guess nothing is official until it’s official and we shouldn’t expect clarity any time soon.

Update: Simon Parkin, author of the original New Yorker story, has posted this photo to Twitter of what’s apparently Kojima’s leaving do:


45 Comments

  1. aleander says:

    So Kotaku says that Tokyo Sports says that Konami says that he’s just pinin’ for the*COUGH*he’s on vacation. Also this:

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

    • mukuste says:

      What does that even mean…

      • ScubaMonster says:

        Kojima must be a part of some black ops cell within Konami so they had no knowledge of this secret event. The truth is out there.

      • HERP DERP NANOMACHINES says:

        Konami has been taken over by reptilians that don’t understand human customs.

      • TheAngriestHobo says:

        Kojima actually died in 1987, but Konami has replaced him with a hologram until Mechakojima is ready to be released in 2019.

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          Thirith says:

          Obviously someone claimed to have been possessed by the dead Kojima, but it’ll eventually turn out he just hypnotised himself so he could convincingly claim he was possessed by the dead Kojima. This isn’t rocket science, folks.

  2. Churba says:

    I like to imagine that at the end of the party, instead of taking a car, or hopping on the train, he just fultoned himself home.

  3. wyrm4701 says:

    I suspect Konami execs are making all their decisions from within a pillowfort constructed from massive bags of cocaine. Employees have likely become used to a weird, frenzied giggling echoing through the halls. They say if you can penetrate the bourbon haze surrounding Fort Konami, you can hear a manic chorus hissing “EVERYTHING IS FINE EHEHEHEH OUR SUCCESS IS PROOF OF OUR DIVINITY YESSSS”

    • vahnn says:

      The makings of a wonder horror movie, that.

    • Fomorian1988 says:

      …Are you sure that’s Konami and not Night Vale Community Radio?

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      Oakreef says:

      They’ve cut off one the most risky parts of their business to focus on stuff that makes a better return, why wouldn’t things be fine?

  4. Da5e says:

    Oh sweet Satan please don’t let this ruinous oaf join Platinum…

    • KreissV says:

      Platinum makes some fantastic action games. But a fun arcade title a good game does not make.

      Please don’t join Platinum,
      Kojima.

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        Harlander says:

        A fun arcade title a good game does not make

        I’m pretty sure it actually does…

      • Da5e says:

        But a fun arcade title a good game does not make

        Yes it does, far more than endless cutscenes full of absolute incoherent belm.

  5. KreissV says:

    This saddens me to no end.Kojima basically built all my memories of early childhood gaming and then grew up with me as the games got darker and darker. The way he is being treated kills me and I won’t lie when I say I shed a tear watching the Phantom Pain trailer that included all his previous MGS titles.

    Hideo Kojima is our Neil Armstrong in the world of gaming, and people have seen fit to treat him like dirt.

    I hope whomever hires him, does so for his talent and not his name.

    • Synesthesia says:

      My thoughts exactly. Metal Gear made me. I hope he finds a place to make the games he wants, and maybe bring the people he works with best with him.

      Fuck Konami.

  6. Spacewalk says:

    The only way to go is into mobile.

    • Jekhar says:

      Nah, mobile is so yesterday. I heard the Pachinko and Slot Machine divisions are hot right now.

  7. lowprices says:

    Konami are sounding an awful lot like a parent trying to get out of explaining to their child that the family dog has just died.

    “Timmy? We can’t see Mr. Kojima anymore because he has gone to live on a farm, to keep a lonely old man company.”

  8. quietone says:

    Confusion is crystal clear.

  9. Bull0 says:

    We have always been at war with Eastasia.

  10. Zankman says:

    Good riddance. Keep this otaku bastard out of gaming, please.

  11. Evil Pancakes says:

    Does anybody even believe anything Konami says anymore?
    For one thing, why would Kojima stay at a company that isn’t interested in making real actual proper games anymore? Can you imagine Kojima working on a mobile game? I certainly can’t. Even if Kojima really is on vacation, I expect him to quit soon as he used his left over vacation days.

    • malkav11 says:

      Kojima has made handheld games before (the Boktai series), so if Konami were interested in making actual proper games for mobile, I could see him doing that. I suspect they’re more interested in the shallow addiction sort of mobile game, though, because those rake in way more cash.

      • HERP DERP NANOMACHINES says:

        “shallow addiction sort” Skinner boxes are indeed shallow and addictive, I wouldn’t really call them video games though. More like video prisons, or maybe dungeons?

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      Harlander says:

      Did Portable Ops count as a mobile game?

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        Oakreef says:

        Kojima wasn’t really involved in Portable Ops. He was in charge of Peace Walker though. Also Boktai.

  12. guygodbois00 says:

    “Kojima’s farewell party” Sombre atmosphere party does not make. But why the drama? Are people scared Kojima might come to their company to “work”?

  13. ribby says:

    How has the mobile game market NOT become oversaturated by now?

  14. thelastdonut says:

    So….that photo update….
    Anyone else think that will point out who took the picture? Even if there was a number of people in the possible area, it greatly lessens the chance of staying anonymous if Konami investigates who leaked the “secret”. Perhaps they could be safe if that one pic was shared among a bunch of people, but then what would be the point of Konami doubling back

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    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    I’d be surprised if Kojima joined another gaming company. From the way he was talking in a lot of interviews during the lead up to Phantom Pain’s release it sounds like he’s done with games for now. My guess is he will either try to direct a movie (probably with the help of Del Toro) or write a novel.

  16. WALLS says:

    i wonder if whilst playing mgsv when you acquire hideo for your base, if you push it into the red, would he leave

  17. Shuck says:

    “Currently, Kojima and the development team are finished developing Metal Gear Solid V and are taking a long time off from work.” A very, very long time off from work, I’m guessing. Having worked at game companies and seen how entirely dishonest they can be in their public – and internal – announcements, I don’t believe Konami for an instant. That’s exactly what they’d say even if he had left, if they somehow felt they could gain some temporary advantage from not admitting that.

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    zigguratvertigo says:

    “…of which Konami claims no knowledge.” Write for The Guardian! English 101 not required!

    • MrUnimport says:

      Goodness me, of what will they think next.

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        zigguratvertigo says:

        Grammatical differences between which and what. Unimport is probably about right.