Hideo Kojima has finally severed all ties with former company, Konami. The news is being reported by multiple outlets and does not come as a complete shock. For those unfamiliar, continue on to witness one of the ugliest, public displays of corporate drama the game industry has ever witnessed.
If you’re a gamer, then the name Hideo Kojima should be very familiar. Kojima, best known for the critically acclaimed Metal Gear franchise, has been creating and directing games for the better part of 25 years, with his most recent opus, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain releasing this past september. If the name is familiar, then you may also be aware of the brutal battle he has been entangled in with longtime publisher Konami, resulting in Kojima being ousted from his prominent position in the company along with being stripped of any title and credit for the series he had created for 25 plus years. If you were watching the recent Video Game Awards, you will have noticed that Kojima was not present to accept any awards won, and a very disconcerting announcement being made that shed some light on the drama that has been brewing.
The Game Awards creator, Geoff Keighley, made the sad announcement that Kojima wanted to be present for the event, but was banned from the ceremony by former publisher Konami.
“As you noticed,” said Keighley. “Hideo Kojima is not here with us tonight and I want to tell you a little about that. 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 awards ceremony to accept any awards. [crowd boos] He’s still under an employment contract. And it’s disappointing and 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.”
This has been ongoing for the better part of the last year and a half, with multiple sources going to the media with accusations of mistreatment across the board, employees being monitored like the characters in the novel 1984. Talk of departments in the company being moved almost daily, computers profiled to only allow communication between employee and supervisor, public shaming over the intercom to name a few.
But despite this, Kojima continued work on the highly anticipated game. A game that went on to make back all of its budget along with some profit, and yet he has been shunned by a company he helped shape.
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I know we are looking forward to seeing what comes from Kojima in the future, and whatever his plan is, we will be there to welcome it!