Rumblings are coming from the Japanese game studio Konami. They’ve been happening for a couple of days now, and people are wondering just what is going on. Well, there are indeed some changes coming from Konami, and it relates to a few projects—the most prominent one being the Metal Gear Solid series.
According to Siliconera, two members of Konami’s development team who worked on the Love Plus and Tokimeki Memorial game series tweeted they were leaving. Both Game Designer Uchida Akari and illustrator Mino Taro sent out the message on March 16 that they were leaving Konami. When questioned about his future plans after leaving Konami, Uchida said, “I still don’t know yet, but I’d like to keep up the pace and continue doing what I can do.” Uchida added. “Now that I have all the time to think about the unlimited things I can do, the thoughts of hopes and uncertainty has me jumping up and down like a child. I’d like to have an opportunity to be able to make something together with you all, so when that time comes, please lend me your strength. Let’s cause a commotion together, again!”
In response to fans questioning the future of the Love Plus and Tokimeki Memorial series, Konami issued a statement. This is what they said, according to the translation by Gematsu. “Given the resignations of Akari Uchida and Mino Taro as staff members who were formerly in charge of production on the Love Plus and Tokimeki Memorial franchises, we are aware of everyone’s concerns about the future of both franchises. Love Plus and Tokimeki Memorial are both series of games that are deeply important to us and have earned your love and adoration for many years and as such, production of them will continue unabated and it is our sincere hope that you will likewise maintain your enduring support moving forward. If there are still any remaining points that you wish to see clarified, you may reach us at our customer service line.”
Along the similar lines of development roles changing within Konami, rumors cropped up on the r/metalgearsolid subReddit thread about Hideo Kojima’s possible leaving of Konami. Further rumors were fueled by a thread on NeoGAF that noted that all the credits of his name had been scrubbed from the website and promotional art for Metal Gear Solid 5 and the Legacy Collection. Further credence was lent to these rumors due to Hideo Kojima no longer appearing in Konami’s announcement of executive appointments as of March 4, whereas he was previously Executive Content Officer on July 3. Kojima now appears on the company profile instead, still bearing the same title along with Director of Kojima productions.
All this plus the finding that the previously named Kojima Productions is now named Konami LA studios has lead fans to believe that Kojima Productions no longer exists. A tweet was released March 19 declaring to Metal Gear fans that the Kojima productions Twitter would be moving to a new account named @metalgear_en with fans pointing out the account could have been just renamed, rather than moved to a new one.
Due to all this commotion surrounding the issue, a Konami representative responded to IGN’s inquiries with this statement on March 19. “As we have already announced, we are shifting our production structure to a headquarters-controlled system, in order to establish a steadfast operating base capable of responding to the rapid market changes that surround our digital entertainment business. Konami Digital Entertainment (including Mr. Kojima), will continue to develop and support Metal Gear products. Please look forward to future announcements.”
It’s no big secret that Kojima said on March 4 that the Phantom Pain will be his last game, “closing the Metal Gear Saga” and according to Gamespot, there’s been some misgivings between Kojima Productions and Konami, leading to senior staff being restricted access to corporate internet accounts, email and phones. Due to this, key staff like Kojima will be limited in their opportunities to appear in promotional material for Metal Gear Solid 5. This development power struggle has convinced Konami to make big changes to the status of its Metal Gear team. Senior staff, including Kojima are now working for the company as contractors rather than full-time employees. The source apparently told Gamespot that there’s a good chance that the team will disband once Metal Gear Solid 5 is released. Their contract allegedly ends in December, so Kojima has begun taking off his studios logo from all Metal Gear art while he himself was removed from executive staff.
Interestingly enough, Kojima has been sending out a series of cryptic, haunting and beautiful tweets as of late. It is highly possible that this event is what those tweets were alluding to, as he subtly counts down the hours until the teams contract is up. It is worth noting though that this source at GameSpot could just be a rumor and we really don’t know what is happening. One thing is for sure though. Konami is rebranding the project. Another thing worth noting is that on the official Konami page for Metal Gear Solid, the Kojima branding is eerily missing and while trying to visit the Kojima Productions website it redirects one back to the Konami page. This cycle of events does seem to add up to the discerning eye, but for now we will have to wait with bated breath. Follow us on Twitter to stay up to date with this story as more is revealed.