For all of the excitement and anticipation surrounding Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, one thing that has been looming over the upcoming sequel is the fact that it will bring an end to Hideo Kojima’s tenure as the series’ director. It’s a departure that will no doubt spur strong emotions within the fanbase, though the reported fallout and ensuing debacle between the developer and publisher Konami has threatened to soil the potential for Kojima to leave on the best of terms.
It came as no surprise, then, when the Japanese giant officially stripped the director’s name from The Phantom Pain‘s official box art, though one eagle-eyed fan has seemingly unearthed signs that Hideo Kojima’s departure was hiding in plain sight. Spotted within the Déjà Vu side mission in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, the task involved players scouring the Cuban base to erase logos of the titles bearing the Kojima Productions label. As such, the likes of turn-based card game Metal Gear Acid 2 can’t be erased due to the fact that Kojima had no part in the PSP spinoff.
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YouTube user timesplitter 88 also notes that the mission itself contains a voice message – seemingly from Kojima himself – that thanks fans for all of the support hitherto. It’s a strange piece of foreshadowing that not only breaks the fourth wall, but it’s exactly the kind of easter egg that the developer would bury deep within his project.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain launches for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 1, before making the jump to PC two weeks later on September 15.