Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima has reportedly left Konami, although the company has insisted that his absence is merely a 'vacation' rather than a permanent move.
Hideo Kojima began his career as a director of traditional film entertainment, shifting to games having fallen in love with Shigeru Miyamoto's Super Mario Bros. franchise. In 1998 he hit his stride with the launch of Metal Gear Solid, a third-person 3D sequel to a top-down stealth shooter dubbed Metal Gear from 1987 - and he's been making sequels to explore the ever-expanding and, critics argue, often-incomprehensible story ever since.
Kojima has recently been butting heads with executives at Konami, however. His name was famously removed from the cover of the latest Metal Gear title, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
, although his moniker still appears before each mission and as a non-player character within the game itself, while a project that saw Kojima team up with film giant Guillermo del Toro on a new Silent Hill game
was abruptly cancelled.
Now, The New Yorker
reports that Kojima has left Konami for good in advance of a no-compete clause in his contract with the company expiring in December. His departure, the publication's sources claim, was marked by a hundred-strong farewell ceremony at which none of Konami's major executives were present. That latter, then, may go some way to explain Konami's insistence that Kojima is still an active employee and that his departure was simply for a vacation - and that the company has no knowledge of any farewell ceremony, despite corroborating photography popping up on social networks this week.
With Kojima remaining silent on the matter, it's unclear whether the Metal Gear franchise has finally come to an end.