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Removal of Kojima’s Name from Konami is a Good Thing

You win some, you lose some.
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It’s fairly well known by now that the road to the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain hasn’t been all smooth sailing for director Hideo Kojima and publisher Konami.

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From the removal of Kojima’s name from all marketing material and the dissolution of Kojima Productions, to the avoidance of his name in interviews and the cancellation of Silent Hills, fans have become angered by what they see as unfair treatment of their beloved video game creator, and have berated Konami for their supposedly evil intentions.

But as the saying goes, there’s always two sides to a story.

As expected, the story so far has been one based on negativity and blame in the face of a billion dollar corporate outfit – that’s just how the Internet works – but maybe it’s time for us to take a different look at this whole snaky kerfuffle.

War has Changed

When the patented “A Hideo Kojima Game” stamp of approval and Kojima Productions logo started disappearing from the marketing material for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, confusion and chaos erupted over what it all meant.

Was Kojima leaving Konami? Is Kojima Productions no more? Why is Konami doing this to all of us?

Since then, we have found the answers to the first two questions: yes, Kojima will be leaving Konami after The Phantom Pain, and yes, Kojima Productions will cease to exist.

But the debate on why Konami is erasing the name of the legendary developer from his storied franchise has continued.

Before We Go Any Further

First off, let’s clarify a few things in the last sentence.

“Erasing” is a word that brings to mind the eradication of history; this is not true in the case at hand.

Konami has not erased Kojima’s name from any previous games in the Metal Gear franchise; only The Phantom Pain will be lacking of the famous name. His storied franchise will forever carry the Kojima brand, albeit only in-game in The Phantom Pain.

Kojima’s name has not been tarnished, but will be notably absent for the first time from the public face of one of his own games.

Kojima is Leaving, and He’s Taking His Name with Him

Now that we’ve got the semantics out of the way, let’s dig into some legal stuff.

Kojima is leaving Konami at the end of the year. Therefore, Kojima Productions will shut down. 

When a games studio is founded by and named after a popular developer, it only makes sense that once the developer leaves, the game studio disappears as well; why would you keep the name if you no longer work with the owner of the name?

Sure, Konami could have kept marketing The Phantom Pain with Kojima’s name intact, but when your prized jewel is ready to move on to better things, you can’t exactly keep using his name as a marketing tool when he’s already making games for other publishers.

The removal of Kojima’s name from Konami seems to be the work of Kojima himself. From the looks of it, once he leaves Konami, he’s planning to use his own name for his own purposes, and doesn’t want to be tied down by a publisher he already left. Once Kojima goes, his name goes as well. That way, Kojima can get back to using his stamp of approval somewhere else as soon as possible.

A Konami Game

At the end of the day, when the sales are counted and the finance sheets typed up, the Metal Gear series is a Konami property.

Once Kojima is gone, Konami can do whatever they want with the license. In fact, The Phantom Pain is the start of Metal Gear becoming a Konami game instead of a Hideo Kojima game.

This might seem horrible to some people – a publisher stealing the creation of a developer – but the truth is, Metal Gear has always been a Konami game; we just preferred Kojima instead.

Nothing Lasts Forever

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will be more than just the final chapter in the Metal Gear Solid series. It will be more than just the last Metal Gear game created by Hideo Kojima. It will be the end of Kojima’s highly successful tenure at Konami that has lasted three decades.

Although it can be argued that Konami should have handled the situation a little better, it is enough to know that Kojima’s best interests will be taken care of as he puts the final touches on his genre-defining game. 

Kojima might not be on the same page as Konami anymore, but his name will live beyond the September 1st release date of The Phantom Pain, and beyond the end of an incredible era.

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Bryan C. Tan
Bryan is way more than a riddle, completely shrouded in countless mysteries, and sure as hell am not inside an enigma; he IS the enigma.