Konami removes Kojima name from Metal Gear games, Kojima rumored to leave (update)

Konami has removed mention of Hideo Kojima and Kojima Productions branding from its Metal Gear Solid website, and renamed Kojima Productions Los Angeles to Konami Los Angeles Studio. The removal of Kojima’s name and an announcement of new executive positions at the company have led to speculation about Kojima’s employment at Konami.

Kojima’s exact level of involvement is still unknown. In a statement issued to VideoGamer.com, a spokesperson said, “Konami Digital Entertainment, including Mr. Kojima, will continue to develop and support Metal Gear products. Please look forward to future announcements.”

When reached by Polygon, a spokesperson gave the same statement, adding “As we have already announced, we are shifting our production structure to a headquarters-controlled system, in order to establish a steadfast operating base capable of responding to the rapid market changes that surround our digital entertainment business.”

The Kojima Productions website now redirects to Konami’s Metal Gear portal site. On Konami’s website, logos for Kojima Productions, and tags for “a Hideo Kojima game” have been removed from promotional materials for Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes and Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection.

@Kojima_Pro_Live, previously the official Twitter account for the Metal Gear series, tweeted earlier today that the account has moved. @Metalgear_en is now considered the official account.

MGS fans! We’re officially moving accounts to: @metalgear_en Follow us now and don’t miss out on all the latest news! http://t.co/IrqnUOKYds

— Kojima Pro Live (@Kojima_Pro_Live) March 19, 2015

On March 3, Konami announced restructuring and personnel changes within the company.

“We are shifting our production structure to a headquarters-controlled system, in order to establish a steadfast operating base capable of responding to the rapid market changes that surround our digital entertainment business,” the announcement read. Restructuring went into effect on March 16.

Kojima is still included on Konami’s corporate profile as the executive content officer, though he was not included in a list of executive officers released on March 4. Those changes go into effect April 1.

On his official Twitter account, Kojima has continued to tweet about Metal Gear Solid. On March 16 — the day organizational restructuring went into effect — he tweeted “a break” with a picture of the game, as well as “heading off.”

Heading off. pic.twitter.com/JWyh4DbeIY

— HIDEO_KOJIMA (@HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN) March 16, 2015

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is expected to launch Sept. 1. In an IGN Italy video posted earlier this month, Kojima said that with Metal Gear Solid 5, he’s “finally closing the loop on that saga,” in reference to his work on the Metal Gear series.

“In that sense, this will be the final Metal Gear Solid,” he said. “Even if the Metal Gear franchise continues, to me, this is the last Metal Gear.”

Kojima is currently involved in the upcoming Silent Hills game, the next entry in Konami’s Silent Hill franchise. The game was revealed last year with the P.T. demo.

UpdateGameSpot is reporting that Kojima will leave Konami following the release of Metal Gear Solid 5. The publication cites an inside source who said that communications, such as corporate internet and emails, between senior staff at Kojima Productions and publisher Konami have been restricted.

Following a power struggle between Kojima Productions and Konami, the publisher has apparently made drastic changes to its staff. According to the source, Kojima and several other staff members are working on contract, and that contract ends in December. Afterwards, studio management is expected to disband.

Polygon Video archive: Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain gameplay video and review from E3 (2014)