Breakups are never easy, especially those where it’s entirely one partner’s fault. And If it takes place in the public eye, then things can get real messy. Such is the case with Konami and Hideo Kojima – once a perfect marriage with the Metal Gear Solid games as their beautiful offspring, now a total wreck with Konami preventing Kojima from seeing his beloved children (figuratively).
Yes, things have got uglier and uglier since Konami woke up one morning and decided it just didn’t feel the same way about Kojima anymore. The unpleasantness started with removing his name and image from Metal Gear Solid 5 promotional material and culminated at the recent Game Awards where the studio legally prevented Kojima from attending. It was left to Kiefer Sutherland, the voice of MSGV’s main protagonist, to accept the ‘Best Action-Adventure’ award on Kojima’s behalf, like some kind of grizzled marriage counsellor.
Kojima has, naturally, kept a dignified silence over the whole feud. Despite everything that’s gone on, the precise relationship between the two still isn’t 100% clear. It’s almost certain that he’ll never work for Konami again, yet the company insists he’s on a “long vacation,” and he’s apparently still under an employment contract with them. Basically, their Facebook relationship status would read ‘it’s complicated.’
We don’t know what 2016 will hold for the genius that is Hideo Kojima, but we do hope that he finally gets a divorce from Konami and proceeds to do these eight things. Admittedly, some are a lot more likely to happen than others.
Okay, so the chances of this happening aren’t exactly high, but sometimes the best way for two dudes to settle their difference is to slug it out in the ring. And after the head-up-ass management choices made by Sakamoto, perhaps he needs some sense slapped into him.
At 52, Kojima would be the younger fighter by 15 years, but Sakamoto’s the bigger man and looks like he has the strength to cause Kojima some problems. Nevertheless, my money’s on the Metal Gear Solid master choking out Sakamoto in the second round, whispering “the 'microtransactions in mobile gaming' bubble has burst,” as the CEO passes out.
“In interviews I like to say that just as humans are 70% made of water, I’m made of 70% movies,” Kojima once said. “I’ve loved cinema ever since I was a kid. Movies are a way for me to explore other people’s experiences.”
Yes, Kojima’s a big fan of Hollywood, and if recent rumors are to believe, Hollywood is a pretty big fan of him. There’s every chance that we may see some form of his work hit the big screen in 2016, but hopefully it’ll only be a brief side-project, leaving him to concentrate on more important stuff during the rest of the year.
So what kind of movie should Kojima throw his weight behind? Hollywood horror maestro John Carpenter revealed in a recent interview that the production company behind his eighties classic Escape from New York - Canal Plus - wanted to sue Kojima because of the similarities between the Metal Gear Solid games and Carpenter’s movie (turned out he was “too nice” to sue). Maybe The Thing director should team up with the Metal Gear Solid creator for a motion feature about a bad-ass mercenary who goes after a shape-shifting alien, and Kurt Russell needs to be in it, naturally.
Supposedly, an actual Metal Gear Solid movie is in the very early stages of production, but Konami doubtlessly holds some rights to it and won’t let Kojima near the thing.
We all appreciate everything that Kojima’s done for gaming, but what better way for him to put back into the industry than opening a series of schools across the world that teach the next generation how to be amazing game creators.
These centers of learning could cover all aspects of game design, from programming to art direction. A lot of colleges offer courses and degrees in this field, so why not have an entire school dedicated to it? Kojima could come up with the syllabuses, and thesis/dissertations could involve creating a full game that gets put on general sale.
I imagine that this kind of thing would cost a bucketload of cash, so expect tuition fees to be high. But maybe you could get in on a scholarship based on how good you are at Metal Gear Solid 5.
We all know that Kojima was euphoric with the fact that the figurine of MGSV’s Quiet was designed using a soft material that allowed elements of the toy to be “pushed and lifted, lol.” This basically meant it had squishy boobs for lonely dudes to bury their sad faces into.
Nevertheless, Kojima obviously knows his kinky dolls, and it’s been reported that he has a penchant for all things hentai. So perhaps he can combine the two and produce his own line of filthy hentai dolls, all of them featuring soft bits for those men who have lost their way in life to fondle.
The range could include ‘Quiet loses what few clothes she had on’, ‘Metal Gear (rock) Solid’ and ‘Tentacle love machine.’
While the precise nature of what caused the split between Konami and Kojima isn’t known, two factors are thought to have played a big role: money, and Konami's dickish behavior toward employees.
A report in the summer alleged that Konami was far from happy about Metal Gear Solid 5’s $80 million budget and the delays that were costing the company more cash. One of their biggest objections revolved around a mobile game called Dragon Collection. It was created using less than $1 million and made Konami loads of money, so why should the studio fork out more than 80 times Dragon Collection’s budget on MGSV when it wasn’t going to bring in 80 times the profit? Remember, the only thing that big companies care about is the bottom line, screw everything else.
The second reason given for the separation is Konami’s asshole-like treatment of its employees, something that’s pretty common practice with a lot of huge corporations (*cough* Amazon *cough*). Apparently, Konami thanked its workers for making them such a big name in the industry by giving them randomized email addresses as the only means of communicating with the outside world, time cards for when they went on breaks, and publicly ‘outing’ anyone who exceeded break times.
Konami also penalized staff for ‘liking’ former colleagues' Facebook pages, and, worst of all, removed any staff it “deemed useless” from their regular jobs. These unfortunate employees were made to work on assembly lines at the company’s pachinko factories, given security guard duties, or forced to clean the company’s fitness clubs. No wonder Kojima was pissed!
We want the truth, Hideo, and don’t tell us that we can’t handle the truth... we can!
Finding out that the ninth installment of the Silent Hill franchise was to be directed by Hideo Kojima - in collaboration with Guillermo del Torro and featuring Norman Reedus - was like discovering you’d won the lottery. The interactive teaser, P.T., was brilliant - so imagine what the full game was going to be like.
Later finding out that the game had been canceled, however, was like discovering you’d put the aforementioned winning lottery ticket in the washing machine and destroyed your one chance of becoming a millionaire.
Obviously, Konami will never let Kojima touch the license, and the company even said that Silent Hills wouldn’t be continued, but the Silent Hill franchise would carry on. My suggestion? Kojima starts a Kickstarter for a terrifying horror game called Quiet Mountains and gets Del Torro and Reedus on board.
The plot would involve a man traveling to the mysterious Canadian town of Quiet Mountain to find out what’s been haunting his dreams. Upon arrival, he finds the whole place is shrouded in a constant, thick snowfall, and he must ultimately face the manifestation of his fears - the diabolical Hexagon Head. It also features a lady in skimpy clothes with a similar name to the town who breathes by absorbing snow through her nipples.
It may bear several resemblances to Silent Hill(s), but not so many that Konami can sue, probably.
Once Kojima officially escapes from Konami, how much of a slap in the face would it be to his former employers if he joins one of its competitors in a blaze of publicity? Especially if his new company states what an honor it is to have the great man working for it.
Hopefully, it would be someone who matches Konami in terms of size and income, and joining a local rival would be even better. Step forward, Capcom. Imagine Kojima working on the next Resident Evil game!
Alternatively, he could speak to a load of investors and set up his own studio, giving him complete creative freedom to do what he wants. But whatever path he chooses, everyone hopes Kojima stays in the gaming industry. It may seem like a foregone conclusion that he will, but after what he’s experienced this year, few would blame him for taking early retirement. But should he join another company or start his own, we hope it leads to the final point...
More than anything, and no matter how he goes about it, the number one thing we want to see Hideo Kojima do next year is to create a new IP that surpasses the Metal Gear Solid series.
Of course, this wouldn’t be an easy feat, and whether he sticks to the action/adventure/stealth genre would be entirely up to the man himself. But if it went on to become a critical and commercial success then it would piss off Konami – no matter how many gambling machines and mobile games they’re making.
The gaming industry is a darker place without Kojima. He may have a sense of humour that sometimes jumps between endearingly adolescent and worryingly seedy, but when it comes to video games the man is an artist. He needs to put this feud with Konami behind him and come back with a new series that’s bigger and better than anything that’s come before, truly cementing his place in video game history.
Hideo Kojima - for the games you’ve given us, we salute you.