Following months of rumours, it seems that Metal Gear Solid developer Kojima Productions has disbanded. Solid Snake/Big Boss's long-standing Japanese voice actor claimed the news yesterday in an emotional tweet.
With Konami's perpetual silence on the issue, Akio Otsuka's comments on Kojima Productions' demise are the closest we have to an official confirmation so far.
..."Kojima Productions was forced to disband, but it appears that the work that the team has been putting their utmost effort into is nearly complete. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I expect [Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain] will become their greatest masterpiece. I couldn't help it. I just wanted to say 'Kept you waiting, huh?' (Laughs.) But even if this is the end, Metal Gear Solid is immortal!"...
Hideo Kojima is the legendary mind behind Metal Gear Solid, a video game series widely regarded as the greatest ever made. Rumors of Kojima Productions' closure began earlier in the year, when Konami began scrubbing all mention of Hideo Kojima and his company from Metal Gear Solid V's marketing.
Rumors about a rift between Kojima and Konami compounded when Konami cancelled Silent Hills, a high-profile collaboration between Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro, set to feature Norman Reedus.
Konami shipped a few vague promises to maintain both the Metal Gear and Silent Hill franchises, despite stating they'd be targeting mobile games first in an earnings call.
As a huge Metal Gear fan, I join many others in frustration over Konami's reluctance to communicate. Regardless, it certainly seems like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will be an incredible way to close the series. The emphasis is on close. If Silent Hill: Book of Memories and Silent Hill: Downpour are any indication, I have no faith in Konami's ability to steward Metal Gear without the original developers.
Check out the most recent Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain gameplay below:
We've reached out to Konami to comment, but at this point I think it's a foregone conclusion. I highly doubt this is the last we'll see of Hideo Kojima and his incredible team, even if it's without Konami.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain launches on September 1st, 2015 for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3 and PC.