Konami/Kojima Rift Intensifies: What Future Holds For Kojima & Konami After MGS V: The Phantom Pain Launch?
Hideo Kojima about to leave Konami is going to be the talk of the week, and perhaps of the month. He’s not going anywhere, anyway, as we approach the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and is no one’s interest to give information that could harm the game at this point of the season. After September 1, somehow, we will know the truth that we can try and anticipate in the next few lines. We have two parts at the opposite sides of the “ring”: Konami and Kojima Productions.
At one side, Konami wants to obtain one or two things at this moment: a complete restructure of its assets, in order to have smoother and less expensive development processes, and the control over the IPs that are being created under its label. It has begun clear that Kojima Productions is becoming an obstacle in this strategy, as Hideo Kojima wants the exclusive moral property of the Metal Gear franchise and everything has to pass through is (too much?) careful supervision.
The publisher has enjoyed the results arriving from the Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance experiment, in terms of both quality and sold unity, even though it thinks the process that brought the game on the stores shelves has been too long and unreasonably expensive.
Konami has therefore found one guilty for what happened over there: Hideo Kojima himself. So the Japanese publishing giant is getting increasingly eager to have a direct link with the Metal Gear brand, without any need to pass through another label (Kojima Productions), another supervising entity (Kojima) and even another external software house (in Revengeance’s case, Platinum Games): the only way to do that is getting rid of Kojima Productions, while a reasonable option is to convey all of its workforce in a new Konami structure that would incorporate the best talents serving Konami.
We would not exclude even other studios to be part of this process, like Vatra Games (Silent Hill: Downpour), that could give its contribute in developing Silent Hills, or MercurySteam (Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, a series that not coincidentally went to an end a few years ago), and dissolve into one internal Konami unity.
On the other side, we have Kojima Productions and Hideo Kojima, both willing to work on something new since early 2000’s. This is the main reason that gives our forecast some kind of reliability, because it wouldn’t too difficult for both the developer and the creator of the series to leave in the hands of another internal Konami team. Would they accept Konami’s proposition, we would have an entire new universe to explore: Metal Gear franchise beyond the stealth mechanics and the storytelling at all costs.
For example, there could be much earlier a follow-up to Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, more connected to the main story of the series as it would be developed “internally”, without any need to go and pay Platinum Games. Or, just another example, we could have a true Metal Gear Solid 6 located among Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4, taking apart the Cold War storyline that Hideo Kojima seems to love too much – Raiden would be the protagonist, of course. Those are just a few ideas that could come up in case Konami takes control of the IP and, again of course, we don’t know what the quality could end up being like.
And what about Hideo Kojima? That would be the end of his cooperation with Konami, as Kojima, even though he has always been available to offer his supervision to other brands, wouldn’t accept to work on a new Metal Gear with the direction of another guy. He has just showed availability to leave the series in the hands of another, and that’s pretty different. So this could be it: the moment when Hideo Kojima finally manages to measure up with a new challenge. That could be a new IP or, more “simply”, the reboot of one of his first adventures like Snatcher.
At this point it is still too early to discuss that, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him work in partnership with Electronic Arts, Activision or Ubisoft leading his own team and keeping the control over his property – something like what Bungie made for Destiny.
Could all of this really happen? We have to wait and see! So far, what do you think about Kojima leaving Konami? Let us know your opinion in the comments section.