As it was rumored earlier in the year, the much-documented saga between Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima and Konami has come to an end, a source close to the game designer says. The New Yorker reports that according to an anonymous lead of theirs, the 52-year-old industry icon departed the studio as recently as Friday, October 9th in a secret ceremony held by his former employers, which one guest described as “a rather cheerful but also emotional goodbye.”
The New Yorker’s source further claims that at least a hundred of Kojima’s colleagues attended the event to pay their respects and neither Konami president Hideki Hayakawa nor CEO Sadaaki Kaneyoshi were present to see him off at the event. Kojima has yet to comment on the situation since it first surfaced this past March.
This latest development follows months of speculation regarding Kojima’s rocky relationship with the company and its back-and-forth with fans and press alike concerning reports of his firing. The bulk of Kojima and Konami’s troubles allegedly include the controversies surrounding the 5-year development of this year’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and its alleged $80 million budget according to a report by Nikkei. The average AAA video game generally costs somewhere between $15 and $60 million. The company has since moved away from AAA gaming to mobile gaming, save for their ongoing Pro Evolution Soccer series.
Kojima first joined Konami back in 1986 and would go on to develop 1987’s Metal Gear for the MSX2. Its sequel, Snake’s Revenge, released for the NES in 1990. The stealth-action series has sold over 41 million copies worldwide and gone on to spawn numerous sub-series, including the acclaimed Metal Gear Solid anthology and 2013’s hack-and-slash Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance in cooperation with Platinum Studios.
Though his 29-year partnership may be effectively terminated, a “non-compete” clause in Kojima’s contract reportedly prevents him from joining another game studio until sometime this December. After that, Kojima’s fate will be in his own hands and we’ll have to see just what games it brings.