There have been many reports coming out of Japan the last few days, all related to one man – Hideo Kojima. The Metal Gear creator’s status at Konami is in flux. No one seems to be able to get any answers. A canned PR response has been issued, telling everyone, “Konami Digital Entertainment, including Mr. Kojima, will continue to develop and support Metal Gear products. Please look forward to future announcements.” The actions of the past few days say more than that simple text.
Kojima won’t be a Konami executive after April 1, 2015. (Ignore the fact that the day it’s happening is April Fools’.) The Kojima Productions logo has been removed from the Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Page website. Hell, the Kojima Productions website is gone. The official statement might not say much, but everything else Konami has done is crystal clear. A bond has been broken. Konami and Kojima cast their BFF pendants into the sea. It’s tragic, probably.
Except it really isn’t. At least, not for Hideo Kojima. Konami? Well, that company will be stuck relying on music games that won’t be ported to the US, soccer games, and maybe the occasional Castlevania or Silent Hill. Kojima will have a world of opportunities ahead of him, and a chance to grow beyond Konami and Metal Gear .
Think about it. Kojima has been making Metal Gear games since 1987. Imagine creating a game, then having to primarily work on only that for almost 30 years. It seems as though it would be quite confining. As though you’re locked in a cage you created. You may want to break out and try something new, but people expect closure. I’m sure Kojima loves his work, but he’s said numerous times that certain Metal Gear games are 100%, absolutely, definitely going to be the last ones.
Given how much money Metal Gear brings in for Konami, this will be devastating for them, but it’s giving Kojima wings. He’s going to get the opportunity to go off and do whatever he wants. Everyone thinks of Snake when they think about this man, but he’s so much more than that. Remember Snatcher and Policenauts ? They were amazing interactive, science fiction adventures. He was part of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – the original good one. Even though the Boktai series’ reliance on the sun was questionable, he was behind this memorable, portable series.
Kojima has proven himself capable of great things. Even if the narrative style of Metal Gear isn’t to your liking, you have to admire the effort that went into it and the popularity it has achieved. Think about what someone like this could do if he was on his own or with another company, able to pursue new ideas. He’s only 51, after all. He could do so many amazing things.
It’s exciting to see what could come next. Really, Hideo Kojima is in a prime position to become the next Keiji Inafune. We’ve all seen what happened with Inafune now that he’s free of Capcom. He’s taking chances and doing things he might enjoy. Are they all successes? Maybe not. But he’s exploring options he didn’t have before, and one can only hope Kojima gets that same opportunity.