Konami Shuts Down Los Angeles Studio Behind Metal Gear Online
The location responsible for the multiplayer in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has closed down.
Konami confirmed the studio’s closure to Polygon on Tuesday. The company cited restructuring of resources as the official reason for eliminating the development team.
The Los Angeles-based studio developed Metal Gear Online, a free multiplayer update for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain that released for home consoles on Oct. 6. It was also opened to help Kojima Productions in Japan develop the main game and Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes that released in March 2014.
Formerly Kojima Productions Los Angeles, the studio opened as an American branch of Kojima Productions in September 2013. The publisher rebranded the location to Konami Los Angeles Studio in March after a deteriorating relationship between itself, Hideo Kojima and his studio.
More than 20 jobs were lost by the closure, according to Eurogamer. At one time the studio employed between 50 to 60 people. Many of the staff reportedly left the studio in the months leading up to the shutdown by Konami. Development of Metal Gear Online was transferred to the Japanese team before The Phantom Pain’s launch, with the L.A. branch moved to a support role.
Even with the closure, Metal Gear Online is still on schedule to release on PC in January 2016. Konami said the closure won’t affect the launch of the game on Steam, with its development moved to a more “centralized unit.” The company said it will continue to support all Metal Gear Solid releases.
The closure continues the story of the severely strained relationship between Hideo Kojima and Konami. Konami removed his name and his studio’s from The Phantom Pain box art and promotional material in March. Kojima Productions closed down in July 2015 after 10 years, in part because of conflicts taking place inside Konami.
Konami also canceled Silent Hills in April, a planned reboot of its long-standing horror franchise that Kojima and Guillermo del Toro were creating together.
Kojima, 52, left Konami on Oct. 9 after almost 30 years with the company. Konami denies that Kojima no longer works there, instead claiming the Metal Gear creator is on an extended vacation.
In addition to Konami’s handling of Hideo Kojima and his studio, recent details about the company’s corporate culture shed some light on the situation. The stories reveal a poor working environment for Konami’s staff, including excessive surveillance and monitoring of its employees, moving long-time developers from game development to janitorial roles and public shaming of those who fail to watch weekly meetings.
Metal Gear Solid V shipped 5 million units worldwide across retail and digital since its release on Sept. 1 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The total number doesn’t include figures from October.
Metal Gear Online in The Phantom Pain is the third installment of the multiplayer component for the franchise.
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[…] on Silent Hills, to outright disbanding Kojima Productions, the relationship severely deteriorated. Konami also shut down the American branch of Kojima Productions in November, which it had previously rebranded to Konami […]