Hideo and seek.

According to recent rumours and speculation, Hideo Kojima might be leaving Konami after the development of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. And that means that The Phantom Pain could be Kojima’s last ever Metal Gear Solid game (even though he’s been saying that for quite some time). So what does this mean for us, the fans, and Hideo Kojima himself? Well, let’s begin our very own infiltration mission and see what we can uncover.

Before we begin, I’d like to state that I am unashamedly a massive Metal Gear Solid fan. That means I’d love to see more Metal Gear games produced in the future, however, I’m also a big fan of Hideo Kojima’s other projects, too.

Lunar Knights on the Nintendo DS, for example, was nothing short of a masterpiece in my opinion – a game which Kojima had a big hand in creating. Previous games such as Zone of the Enders and Policenauts are also held in high regard, but none of them can compare to the commercial success and pulling power of the Metal Gear Solid franchise.

Lunar Knights

The criminally overlooked Lunar Knights on the Nintendo DS.

It’s understandably, then, that from Konami’s perspective they’ll want to keep the series going strong. After all, if you’re onto a money making idea, why stop there? The series isn’t annualised, either, so it’s never suffered from death by repetition or the same copy and paste criticism that is levelled at Call of Duty. But you can’t keep making the same game forever, and very few developers, especially one as prestigious as Hideo Kojima, would want to.

Kojima is probably tired of making Metal Gear games and wants to do something new. And as a fan, I can’t say I blame him. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is shaping up to be the perfect swansong to the series, so why tarnish a legacy that has generally been so well-received? Maybe it’s the right time to move on, then, even if that would mean the end of the Metal Gear Solid franchise as we know it today.

So, what’s next for Hideo Kojima?

Platinum Games Collaboration

Kojima might decide to team up with the incredibly talented folks at Platinum Games, a developer renowned for their off-the-wall concepts and superb execution. They did a wonderful job with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, a game that seemed all but set for the scrap heap. So I’d love to see the genius of Platinum Games work on a completely new IP, guided by the talent and experience that Kojima would bring. We already know that both Atushi Inaba, Producer at Platinum Games, and Hideo Kojima are long term friends.

During the development of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Inaba said Platinum aims to make “something completely different from what Mr. Kojima wants to do.” As a creator, you want people to challenge your ideas as this will ultimately make you a better designer. Perhaps, then, after arguably ruling the roost at Konami, a position at Platinum Games would be the perfect fit for Kojima San.

Kojima and Inaba

The ultimate dream team.

Turning to Kickstarter

Where else can an independent video game developer go to raise funds without the need to turn to a publisher? After all, you can gauge fans’ reactions and specify exactly how much money you will require for your project – unless you’re Peter Molyneux, where the concept of money, budgeting and promises go completely out the window.

Many of Kojima’s colleagues in the game industry have already successfully taken to the crowdfunding website. Keji Infune is the perfect example; after leaving Capcom he took to Kickstarter to announce his own spiritual successor in the Mega Man series, Mighty Number 9, and it’s been in production ever since thanks to the efforts and backing of thousands of gamers.

Hideo Joined

Hideo has Joined.

Survival horror video game veterans Hifumi Kono, creator of the Clock Tower series and Takashi Shimizu, creator of the Ju-on and The Grudge series have also taken to Kickstarter to successfully fund their new game Nightcry, which we’ve covered here.

Could Hideo Kojima be next?

Microsoft Exclusivity

You can bet your bottom dollar that Phil Spencer and the guys over at Microsoft are paying close attention to the developments with Hideo Kojima and Konami. Why is that you ask? Because for Microsoft, it would be one hell of coup. If they could convince one the world’s most recognised and respected game developers to produce new IPs exclusively for the Xbox One, it would give them a huge edge against Sony in the race for console supremacy.

You can bet that Phil Spencer and Microsoft are paying close attention to the developments with Hideo Kojima and Konami.

Microsoft have the money and I’m pretty sure if Kojima was given free creative license and the cash to back it up, he’d be more than interested. His games have already appeared on Xbox 360 and Xbox One, so watch this space.

Live Action Video Game Film

Kojima famously stated that “70% of my body is made of movies.” We know he is a huge film buff, and is extremely interested in film making and the process involved. If you’ve ever played one of his games, his deep storytelling and cinematic cut scenes are what keeps you gripped throughout the experience. Maybe now is the right time to give us a live action film of The Snatcher, or Policenaughts, or maybe something completely new?

Hideo Kojima Movie

A Hideo Kojima movie? Maybe, just Maybe!

The majority of Hollywood’s video game adaptations have been – let’s be brutally honest – absolutely horrendous (1993’s Super Mario Bros can never be unwatched). But there are so many great gaming franchises that could easily make the transition to the silver screen. Maybe it will take an industry veteran like Kojima to finally produce a decent video game to film adaptation?

Working as a Consultant for Konami

It shouldn’t be ruled out that Kojima and Konami could continue working together after the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, despite all the furore and bad blood that’s been circulating. What’s going to happen to the recently teased Silent Hills, a game that Hideo Kojima was going to be working on, along with director Guillermo Del Toro? The P.T. demo was so sickeningly brilliant, it would be a travesty if the final game never came to fruition.

Does Kojima own the rights to his own engine?

And what about Konami’s new powerhouse graphics engine, the FOX Engine? The FOX Engine was designed by Kojima Productions primarily to be used in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain. But it’s also been implemented in PES 2014 and PES 2015. Does Kojima own the rights to his own engine? And if so, how does this affect Konami and any other titles they may have planned?

I have my doubts, but I’m sure Hideo Kojima has a lot of friends at Konami, so any decision to cut ties won’t be taken lightly.

Taking a Break

We know when you put your heart and soul into a project it can take a lot out of you. Creatively you can burn out, so it’s understandably if Hideo Kojima decides to take a well-deserved break. We all need to look after ourselves once in a while and perhaps with The Phantom Pain being his most challenging and ambitious game to date, it might just be the right time.

As a huge fan of Hideo Kojima and the Metal Gear Solid franchise, I’m optimistic and excited for the future. In hindsight, this could be an unexpected catalyst for Kojima to establish a new legacy, or push him even further to make sure The Phantom Pain is the best Metal Gear Solid game ever.

In Kojima we trust.