After yesterday’s flurry of Kojima news, a press release from Konami has confirmed that it’s looking for ‘main staff to lead development’ on a new Metal Gear series after the release of Metal Gear Solid 5 in September.
Konami has made clear that Kojima “will remain involved throughout” the release of MGS 5 but has not confirmed that any future development will involve the man himself. This only further suggests what we have known for weeks, that this is Kojima’s last Metal Gear game and the series will continue without him.
"I always say 'this will be my last Metal Gear,'" Kojima told IGN at the start of this month, "but the games in the series that I've personally designed and produced - Metal Gear on MSX, MG2, MGS1, 2, 3, 4, Peace Walker, and now MGS5 - are what constitute a single 'Metal Gear Saga.' With MGS5, I'm finally closing the loop on that saga. In that sense, this will be the final 'Metal Gear Solid,'" Kojima continued. "Even if the 'Metal Gear' franchise continues, this is the last 'Metal Gear."
Kojima has been dropping hints about stepping away from the series for years and it’s even clearer now with recent events that this could indeed be his big move. However there has still be no official confirmation from either party. See why Editor-in-Chief Dan Dawkins reckons this is Koj’s final Metal Gear here.
Hideo Kojima's name has disappeared from Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain promotional materials and from Konami's executive roster, prompting reports that the Metal Gear creator may be leaving the company… or that it might all just be corporate restructuring.
The panic began when it was discovered that promotional images on Konami's website for Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain no longer bore Kojima's name in its traditional directorial top slot, nor the logo of his studio. Speaking of Kojima Productions, the studio's official website now redirects to a Metal Gear Solid series portal.
This all surfaced around the time that Kojima Productions' official Twitter account announced it was moving over to Metal Gear Official, the "official Twitter for the Metal Gear series", and after Kojima's name was found absent from Konami's most recent executive appointments.
That sounds bad for Kojima and company, and it wasn't helped much by Konami's brief statement on the matter, which says only that "Konami Digital Entertainment, including Mr. Kojima, will continue to develop and support Metal Gear products" and to "look forward to future announcements."
Worse yet, an anonymous source reportedly told GameSpot that "power struggles" between Kojima Productions and Konami mean much of the studio's upper management will depart after work on MGS5 is concluded. But you can't verify information from an anonymous source (that's kinda by design), so all we can go on for now is what we've actually seen.
It's tempting to conclude that Kojima's grabbing his Versace coat and heading for the door. But keep in mind that Hideo Kojima has clearly stated that Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain will be his "last Metal Gear", and that Konami may be scooting the series away from his name as it prepares to continue Metal Gear under new management.
Also note that Konami announced an organizational restructuring in early March, which shifts its "production structure to a headquarters-controlled system". Said system doesn't leave much room for big studios like Kojima Productions to keep operating with the same degree of autonomy, so I wouldn't be surprised to see it folded back into Mother Base, at least in an organizational sense.
Even if his leadership of Metal Gear is at an end, Kojima is still meant to direct Silent Hills with assistance from filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. It would be his first non-Metal Gear game in ages (aside from helping out with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow), and he's said for years that he doesn't want to be known solely as "the Metal Gear Guy".
If GameSpot's source is beared out, then that settles it - Kojima's long tenure at Konami is done, and I'm interested to see what he does next. But until then, take all the rumors and connections with some healthy skepticism.