Konami is trending on Twitter. Why? People think Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima is about to leave the company. First of all, let's remember Kojima is well-known for tricking people. Then again, there's some weird stuff going on.
Doesn't Kojima have a new game coming out?
Yup. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which he (again) claims is his last Metal Gear game, is coming out on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC in September. It's Konami's biggest game of 2015, and expected to fill in a bunch of mythology gaps for longtime Metal Gear fans.
OK, so how did this even start?
You mean, where's Ground Zero...es? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
This whole episode kicked off when reddit and NeoGAF started poking around Konami's website, and realised Kojima had been removed as a Konami executive. The company is shuffling around executive appointments on April 1, and includes removing Kojima, apparently.
That's not enough evidence to start sending!
It's not, but there's more. It might all be a coincidence, but the Internet loves coincidences.
One, the Kojima Productions website used to look like this.
Now, it points to a Metal Gear "portal" website.
Two, there's also a brand-new official Metal Gear account on Twitter. https://twitter.com/metalgear_en
Three, it appears Kojima Productions Los Angeles, the studio behind the Metal Gear Online component connected to Metal Gear Solid V, has been renamed Konami Los Angeles Studio.
Wait, is Konami erasing the Kojima brand?
You're perceptive, my friend. And here's where it gets really weird.
Ever since Kojima became a household name for video game fans, his titles have been branded "A Hideo Kojima" game. It's the kind of gravitas one comes to expect from a new Kojima game.
The next Metal Gear was, of course, going to follow this. Here's how the old website looked:
There it is: "A Hideo Kojima game." And here's how the new website looks:
That's really strange.
Holy shit, maybe they're right — is Kojima leaving Konami?
Konami isn't saying, but the company certainly isn't helping matters with vague PR statements.
I reached out to the company this morning, but haven't yet heard back. However:
"Konami Digital Entertainment, including Mr. Kojima, will continue to develop and support Metal Gear products," said the company in a statement to Eurogamer. "Please look forward to future announcements."
That's not what a company usually says when it wants to stamp out a firestorm of speculation.
What does Kojima have To say about all of this?
Nothing so far, but his last tweet is a little ominous: http://twitter.com/Kojima_Hideo/status/577389919682760704/photo/1
This is really weird, man, what's going on?!
I don't know. It's very well could be nothing, but we can run through a few scenarios.
We know how much Kojima likes to fuck with people. He's a renowned PR magician by now. When it comes to matters of the truth with Kojima, it's good to take it with a grain of salt.
It's possible Kojima plans to exit Konami and start his own studio, but continue working with the company. It's hard to imagine he'd decide to completely abandon Silent Hills or allow inevitable future Metal Gear games to be developed without having some kind of oversight.
It's also possible we're experiencing an organizational shakeup that looks terrible to outsiders, but actually has very little impact on what happens in the future. It wouldn't be the first time the Japanese arm of a video game company has done something confusing and not understood how it might be viewed from the outside world. Perhaps Konami just wants the focus on "Konami."
Then again, we'll have to wait and find out. What do you think?