In October, Metal Gear Solid mastermind Hideo Kojima's time at Japanese game company Konami reportedly came to an end with a farewell party, though a non-compete clause meant that the famed developer hasn't been able to talk much about the situation. That clause was reported to end in December — and it looks like it's up. According to a report from Nikkei, Kojima has not only officially left Konami, but is starting his own studio outside of his longtime employer.
The news isn't exactly surprising given the clearly rocky relationship between Konami and Kojima. Leading up to the launch of Metal Gear Solid V, the company stripped Kojima's name from the game's boxart and website, and also reportedly laid off a number of senior staff from his internal studio Kojima Productions. The company also cancelled the much-anticipated collaboration between Kojima and film director Guillermo del Toro, a reboot of horror game Silent Hill.
No longer "on vacation"
Most recently, Kojima was unable to accept an award for MGSV at The Game Awards in Los Angeles. "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," host Geoff Keighley explained. "He's still under an employment contract and it's disappointing." Konami disputed reports that Kojima had left in October, saying instead that the developer was "on vacation."
The Nikkei report doesn't provide much detail about the new studio, but does say that Kojima is currently in talks with Sony Computer Entertainment to potentially launch a game on PlayStation platforms. While Kojima Productions is best known for its work on Metal Gear, the studio also branched out into interesting new directions, releasing games like the mech title Zone of the Enders and the vampire-themed portable RPG Lunar Knights.
Even if Kojima is gone and his former studio shuttered, it appears that Konami may continue the Metal Gear series without him. When the first reports that Kojima was leaving surfaced, Konami issued a statement saying that "Konami Digital Entertainment, including Mr. Kojima, will continue to develop and support Metal Gear products."