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A series of changes at Konami this week have seen Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima's name removed from advertisements for company's upcoming Metal Gear Solid 5 and his namesake studio, Kojima Productions, rebranded and subsumed into Konami proper.
This could have significant ramifications for the development community, especially folks working on Konami titles.
Earlier this month, Konami announced plans to restructure its organization and establish "a headquarters-controlled system, in order to establish a steadfast operating base capable of responding to the rapid market changes that surround our digital entertainment business."
Last night, reddit users began compiling a thread of evidence that Kojima and Konami are on the outs, including the fact that the L.A. branch of Kojima Productions has been rebranded Konami Los Angeles, the main Kojima Productions website currently redirects to Konami's Metal Gear portal, and the Kojima Productions Twitter account has transitioned to a more general Metal Gear account.
Kojima himself has so far remained silent on the matter, though Gamespot reports that, according to an anonymous source claiming to work at Konami, senior Kojima Productions staff are being barred from public communication due to a fallout between them and Konami proper.
The source claims some senior Kojima Productions staff are now Konami contractors, not full-time employees, and they are expected to depart once Metal Gear Solid V is completed.
For its part, Konami has issued a formal statement to Gamasutra and other outlets that "Konami Digital Entertainment, including Mr. Kojima, will continue to develop and support Metal Gear products. Please look forward to future announcements."
As always, if you or someone you know was affected by these events you can email Gamasutra to tell your story confidentially.
Update: Shortly after this story was published, Konami Digital Entertainment released a public notice reiterating its intent to release Metal Gear Solid V on schedule. In addition, the company announced plans to begin working on a new Metal Gear game and added that "we will be conducting auditions for main staff to lead the development."
"I want to reassure fans that I am 100 percent involved and will continue working on Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain," stated Kojima in a similar notice published to its main site. "I’m determined to make it the greatest game I’ve directed to date."