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Hideo Kojima aligns with Sony for first independent game

It has been a big year for Hideo Kojima. While he’s finishing up Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, he’s been having some up and downs in 2015. I’ll get you up-to-speed on what’s been happening to Hideo Kojima. Brace yourself, you’re not ready to hear what’s been happening…

Hideo Kojima vs Konami is a thing.
At GDC 2013, Kojima revealed MGSV: The Phantom Pain, he announced that he was serious about leaving Konami, and the Metal Gear series behind. Unlike in the past, where he said the last Metal Gear title would be his final game, Kojima was very serious about it this time. Things escalated between Kojima and Konami during the development of MGSV: The Phantom Pain. This is a war that started while Hideo Kojima is about to finish Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

Details are scarce about what happened between Kojima and Konami behind the scenes. Kojima can’t publicly talk about the split under a Non-Disclosure-Agreement-style contract. There were several reports in 2015: In March, there was a report that Kojima would part ways with Konami. Shortly thereafter, Konami announced that they were auditioning new staff for the next Metal Gear title after MGSV: The Phantom Pain. At the same time, Konami removed all “A Hideo Kojima Game” references from all box art and materials related to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Even though he’s the Game Designer, Director, Producer, and writer of the game. They even removed all references and logos of Kojima Productions.

It wasn’t just box-art and related marketing materials that Kojima’s name and production company was removed from, it was all over the internet. Every game that bared the “A Hideo Kojima Game” tagline or “Kojima Productions” name and logo were removed on any Konami website.

At E32014, Kojima and Konami released a trailer edited by Hideo Kojima himself…

Intense, isn’t it? It’s actually a “goodbye” message. If that weren’t enough, Kojima & Konami sent out another “goodbye” trailer close to the game’s release…

The game was released on September 1st, 2015. In October 2015, there has been a report that says Hideo Kojima left Konami. However, a Konami spokeswoman quickly rebutted the report with “[Kojima is] taking a long time off from work.”

In August of 2015, there was yet, another report: Konami treats its employees like prisoners. You’re not allowed to:

– Come in late. Or be shamed throughout the entire corporate building.
– Be useless. Or be reassigned to mudane tasks such as being a security guard, a cleaning staff, and working on those “pachi-slot machines” in factories.
– Use corporate e-mails. Or have them be changed every other month. The only folks allowed to use Konami’s corporate e-mail addresses are those in Public Relations or other company-required communication.

Konami did other drastic measures:

– Monitored each and every Konami employee going in and out the building.
– Kojima Productions during the year, didn’t exist. It was known as “Number 8 Production Department.”
– Kojima Productions computers have no internet access, and can only send messages between computers.

Other details:

– Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain’s development budget exceeded 10 Billion yen (which translates to $80 Million USD)
– When an employee announced they were leaving their Konami job for a new one, Konami closely monitored anyone who “liked” it.

Konami is no longer in the Hardcore Games business.
Konami switched their corporate culture to developing social, and mobile games. When Konami released “Dragon Collection,” a mobile game, it turned a huge profit for Konami. They seemed to get the idea that Mobile Games are profitable, and is where the majority of gamers go to play. Too bad, they don’t realize that Mobile Gamers in general are flaky. They won’t buy Mobile Games or pay for items, characters, powers, or any other intangible microtransaction.

I can’t believe I’m looking at a company that used to or still release high-quality video games. I mean, is this the same Konami that released hit games like Gradius, Contra, Castlevania, Zone of the Enders, and Silent Hill? This company? Nah. Almost too unreal.

They will still be developing large-scale, high budgeted game titles, but their focus is now on mobile and social games.

That wasn’t the end of the negative press Konami has been getting. At The Game Awards 2015, Konami barred Hideo Kojiam from traveling to Los Angeles, and accepting The Game Awards trophy.

At The Game Awards, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain won these accolades:

– Best Action/Adventure Game of 2015
– Best Musical Score/Game Soundtrack of 2015

And was accepted instead by, Phantom Snake’s voice: Kiefer Sutherland.

If you want to see what happened afterwards:

…Hear that? Boo’ed out of the building.

On December 15th, Kojima’s contract was over. It’s expired. So, this leaves Kojima as a free agent. He’s been offered to work on a game by a few companies. However, because Hideo Kojima and Sony has a strong working releationship… Kojima decided to go with Sony for his first title as an independent developer. The very next day, Andrew House and Hideo Kojima released a joint announcement for the first Kojima Productions title. It’ll be console exclusive to PlayStation 4…

Furthermore, the relationship between SCE and Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. remains unharmed. The game has NOTHING to do with either Metal Gear, or Silent Hill(s), it’s a completely new game, completely new IP. The game will be published by SCE, and they will announce what the game is about when they’re ready. E32016 announcement impending?

If you’re interested in the Press Release by Sony, here it is:

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCE) today announced that it has signed an agreement with Kojima Productions, a newly formed studio by the acclaimed game designer Hideo Kojima, to develop its first software title as a console exclusive to the PlayStation 4 (PS4) computer entertainment system.

“PlayStation’s history is one of game innovation and great new franchises,” said Andrew House, President and Global CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “Hideo Kojima has been a huge part of that history, and we are therefore delighted that he has chosen to bring his brand new project to life in partnership with PlayStation. We look forward to working with him on an exciting new game and warmly welcome him to the PlayStation family.”

“I will be taking on a new challenge by establishing my own independent studio, and I am thrilled to be able to embark on this journey with PlayStation, who I have continued to work with all these past years,” said Hideo Kojima, Game Designer, Kojima Productions. “I cannot wait to deliver, with PlayStation, a game that will become a compelling franchise.”

SCE will continue to expand the world of PS4 to deliver entertainment experiences that are only possible on PlayStation.

Source: SCE Press Release

If you’d like to learn more about Kojima Productions, here is their website.

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