It is now official. Kojima has left the building. The building at Konami to be exact. On October 9th, 2015, Hideo Kojima officially left the offices of an employer he has been with since 1986. This has been one of the most open, but yet oddly closed off departures of a big name from a gaming studio in recent memory. Kojima was the mind behind Konami’s biggest franchise, Metal Gear, and arguably one of the most talented video game designers in the industry. So, why would Konami let a man like this go? The specifics are kept very quiet, but one major speculation is simply about money.
Konami has switched to a company focused on mobile gaming, and gambling pachinko machines. A strategy, at least for the time being, that has paid off. Konami has made a significant jump in profits on the heels of this move. Big budget gaming titles like Metal Gear are viewed by the company as a huge risk. Konami’s mobile, gambling, and sports recreation centers have provided a bigger profit margin in comparison. This may have lead to a major difference in opinions by Konami, and their star game designer.
Konami has been in financial trouble for a bit, and it is estimated that Kojima’s latest entry in the Metal Gear Solid franchise may have cost upwards to 80 million dollars. A cost, since looking at the profits Konami’s other ventures have brought, may have been a bit too high. Metal Gear Solid V has been seen by some as an unfinished product. That the ambition of Hideo Kojima was grander that was the final product ended up being. Which may have been a sticking point both for the company, and Kojima. A decision that may have lead Kojima to leave the company.
The switch of Konami’s focus has brought forth a lot of ire from the gaming community, and industry as a whole. Especially when work conditions at the Konami studios was investigate, and it exposed a very hostile culture. You can read of that HERE. Konami has done little to make the gaming community happy, and many see Kojima’s departure as the final step for Konami to leave the Triple-A video game scene behind. Konami has in-turn denied these rumors, and stated they are still very much in that business along with their other ventures. You can read that HERE.
So, what does the future hold for Hideo Kojima? Nothing is known as of yet. The non-disclosure contract that Kojima has with Konami ends in December. We may see the start of his plans at that time.