Hideo Kojima, maker of the Metal Gear game series, and Konami, the company that is synonymous with Kojima’s name and one that he’s devoted nearly three decades of his career time to, have parted ways earlier this month. The New Yorker recently reported that Kojima has left the Tokyo offices of Konami on Friday, October 9, 2015. A farewell party was held for the highly regarded game designer with more than a hundred guests in attendance at the Kojima Productions company. Absent from the party were two prominent Konami figureheads – Konami President, Hideki Hayakawa and Konami CEO, Sadaaki Kaneyoshi. It’s speculated that his resignation, which has been floating around the rumor mills as early as March, is a result of personal, artistic differences with regards to the direction Konami has decided for its own future – namely the move away from console games and toward mobile gaming.
Hayakawa, who became President of Konami in April, acknowledges in an interview with Nikki back in May that “mobile is where the future of gaming lies”. It’s much more lucrative to make games for mobile devices, where the production cost is much lower while the return profit is much higher. Konami has witnessed this kind of success with mobile gaming first-hand with its very own Dragon Collection, its first mobile hit that helped boost the company’s profits by almost eighty percent between 2011 and 2012. This is not to say that console games are not profitable – it’s just riskier and development time is much longer in comparison. Hideo Kojima’s last Metal Gear Solid project with Konami, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, costs Konami more than $80 million to develop. But it went on to make more than twice that amount ($179 million) in just one day – its launch day, September 1, 2015. This is more than the two highest-grossing films of the year combined so far (Avengers: Age of Ultron and Jurassic World).
It’s believed that Hideo Kojima may continue to make video games for consoles with other game companies after his departure from Konami. However, Kojima is still bound by his non-compete clause, at least for a couple more months until December, before he can work with a new studio.