What next for Metal Gear Solid? Future of sneaking series in doubt after Konami fallout

Wow. Did anyone see this coming? After over 25 years of making MGS titles, Hideo Kojima’s long-running promise/naughty fib that each entry in the legendary stealth saga would be his last may finally have some sad, shocking truth to it. Following widespread reports of a severe rift between publisher Konami and the iconic game director’s studio Kojima Productions, it looks like Hideo will leave his parent company once MGS V: The Phantom Pain is out the door. Say it ain’t so, Snake.

In what appears to be the culmination of a rather nasty chain of events, an insider Konami source claims Kojima is essentially finishing his work on the upcoming open-world sneaker as a freelance contractor. In a Gamespot article, said source suggests the game director and several other high-ranking Kojima Productions staff have been put on a communications lockdown.

“After we finish MGS V, Mr Kojima and upper management will leave Konami,” the insider states. The fallout is allegedly so serious that these studio members have had their access to email and outside calls restricted, while Hideo’s media appearances will be reduced.
“The kojima productions logos were removed from the official phantom pain website”
Erasing Evidence
It all seems to have gotten a tad personal and petty. Shortly after these revelations broke, Konami removed all Kojima Productions branding and logos from not only The Phantom Pain’s official site, but that of MGS: Ground Zeroes and even the three-year-old MGS HD Collection. (Although at the time of press the latter had been changed once more to include Koj’s name above the title.)

Even worse, the dev’s signage has been removed from the Silent Hills/PT homepage. Is the horror reboot which both Kojima and film director Guillermo del Toro are attached to in jeopardy? After all, last year’s demo wasn’t only dripping with his trademark fourth wall-breaking touches, but his name value alone has drummed up a level of interest for the psychological scare-’em-up not seen since the PS2 days.

At least statements from Konami confirm MGS V isn’t in danger. The game will still hit shelves on 1 September, while Kojima will continue to work on Venom Snake’s adventure until completion. “I want to reassure fans that I am 100 percent involved and will continue working on Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. I’m determined to make it the greatest game I’ve directed to date,” said Kojima.

Sadly, life for MGS post-Big Boss’ latest stealth jaunt looks uncertain. Konami claims it will recruit new staff to “continue to develop and distribute top-quality content in the Metal Gear series” after TPP, but can Snake really survive without Kojima’s brand of indulgent, esoteric genius? Would a committee of Konami coders greenlight another hour-long sniping duel or moment of pad-swapping boss brilliance? Whatever way you cut this, it seems Snake and Koj are going to part on terribly sad terms.

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