It’s finally officially official: Hideo Kojima, the creator of Metal Gear Solid and one of the world’s most famous game developers, is no longer working for Konami. A Japanese newspaper broke the story yesterday and Kojima later confirmed the end of his contract in a tweet, but the details of the fallout remained hazy thanks to a pesky language barrier and the designer’s contractual obligations. Now, after a joint announcement from Sony and Kojima—published the minute his non-compete clause lapsed—we know the developer has been freed from the vindictive, Orwellian working conditions of Konami, which culminated in being barred from appearing on an internet awards show, and he’s taken the Kojima Productions name with him. No details were announced regarding the rest of the developers working at Kojima’s old studio, which is now presumably closed.
This new, independent Kojima Productions has already struck a deal with Sony for its first game. It should be noted, however, that Sony has deliberately called this hypothetical game a “console exclusive to PlayStation 4.” A community manager for PlayStation’s European branch later clarified this means whenever Kojima’s whiff of a creation manifests into an actual thing (2019 seems like an optimistic bet, unless it’s a much smaller game than he’s known for), it will also be released for PCs, albeit after the PlayStation launch. Whether the game is a “timed exclusive” —meaning it could eventually migrate from PlayStation to whatever consoles Microsoft and Nintendo are selling by then—was not announced.
This is the rare case of a hardware maker investing in little more than the creative potential of a bankable video game auteur and his collaborators, rather than some promising prototype from a vaunted development house. Whatever the studio creates, it’ll be Kojima’s first original game since 2003’s Boktai: The Sun Is In Your Hand—and it’ll probably start with that snazzy new Kojima Productions logo seen above, followed by a credits sequence that repeats every half hour or so.