Hideo Kojima’s departure from Konami has been long-rumoured, and now, it’s confirmed (sort of). According to a report by The New Yorker, Kojima’s last day at the video game publisher was on the 9th of October 2015. However, Konami denies this; it simply said that Kojima is “on vacation.”
According to Konami, Kojima is still listed as an employee at the company, and he is simply taking a break after finished developing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. “Because the development time for console games is so long and fatigues builds up, it’s common for employees to take extended periods of time of when development is finished,” a Konami spokesperson said.
Whether or not Konami is to be believed, no specific reason was given for Kojima’s supposed departure from the company. However, Konami’s focus on mobile games could have been one of the contributing factors. In comparison to mobile games, a triple-A title such as Metal Gear Solid requires a vast amount of budget to produce, while the former doesn’t require as much. While MGS V managed to rake in US$179 million (about RM760 million) on its launch day, it costs an estimated amount of US$80 million (approximately RM340 million) to develop.
Mobile games, on the other hand, do not have the same issue. They don’t take as long to produce, and they are very profitable as well. One of Konami’s mobile games, Dragon Collection, boosted the company’s profit by almost 80% between 2011 and 2012. Needless to say, it’s hard for any company to ignore such a profitable market.
The New Yorker reported that Kojima’s farewell was “a rather cheerful but also emotional goodbye,” but when Konami was asked about the supposed farewell party, it simply said “we’re not sure what kind of thing this was.” In any case, wherever Kojima will be headed after this, we hope people like him will still be able to produce quality AAA video games for their fans despite the growing focus on mobile games.