Hideo Kojima, the creator of the Metal Gear franchise, has officially left Konami and formed his own independent studio, a rebranded Kojima Productions, with its first game being console exclusive on the PlayStation 4 in a new partnership with Sony Computer Entertainment, the two sides announced on Wednesday.
The first game in this partnership between the new Kojima Productions and Sony will only release on the PS4 and is console exclusive to the platform. The project will be an all-new franchise. It won’t be from the Metal Gear series, related to to any Konami-owned IPs or a revival of the cancelled Silent Hills.
Sony is funding the game’s development and publishing the title. Kojima Productions will remain an independent studio and not a Sony-owned developer or receive any investments from the company.
The game will also come to the PC at some point, according to a now-deleted FAQ from Sony. No details about what kind of game the project will be or a potential release window were announced. Kojma did reveal his current plan is to develop a smaller-scale project to first establish his studio, according to an IGN interview.
The new Kojima Productions is based in Japan, with the team currently looking for an office in Tokyo. Kojima also revealed a new logo for his studio. Gone is the fox, replaced with a a combination of what Kojima described as a medieval knight and an astronaut’s space suit covering a human skull.
The studio’s company statement is, “We are Homo Ludens. We are those who play.” Kojima also said the icon represents the studio’s mission of taking people into a new world of play using the latest technology and a pioneering spirit.
Yoji Shinkawa, the artist behind the character and environmental designs of the Metal Gear Solid and Zone of the Enders franchises, is a confirmed member of the new team as its senior art director. Shinkawa designed the company’s logo. More staff from the former Kojima Productions have joined Kojima at his new studio. Ken Imaizumi, the producer on games like Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008), has also rejoined the team in a senior production role, according to IGN. Many positions are open on the company’s website for programmers, artists and designers.
Kojima, 52, believes the studio’s independence and scale will allow it to be more adaptable and creative than before. “We’ll have more agility,” Kojima said. “We’ll be able to do things that are more edgy, preserving the quality we’ve had so far, while at the same time finding new challenges and exploring new areas.”
Kojima and his team haven’t decided on what game engine to use for its first project. The former Kojima Productions created the Fox Engine while at Konami, which is used in Metal Gear Solid games like Ground Zeroes (2014) and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. The team could design a brand-new engine or license one already available.
Kojima said he is also considering branching out into movies, animation and other digital content with Kojima Productions, but wants to establish his new studio as a game developer first and deliver the creative projects that people expect from him.
In a video revealing the exclusive partnership, Andrew House, president and global CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, described Kojima as “one of the most creative talents in the history of games” and welcomed him into the PlayStation family.
Kojima told IGN that working with Sony is the right partnership for his first new project. “It’s thanks to Sony that I was able to make a splash in the global market,” he said. Kojma described the strong relationship he’s had with Sony, which goes back more than 15 years to when he released Metal Gear Solid in 1998 exclusively for the original PlayStation.
Over the years Kojima feels he has developed a positive relationship with Sony that will allow him to have a healthy and creative outlet for his work.
“People at Sony have been friendly with me, I work well with them,” Kojima said. “I got several offers from many different companies, but with Sony it came to a point where I know these people, we know each other well. I feel like this is an environment where I will be able to make something and be comfortable. And I believe that is the environment I need right now.”
Kojima’s last official day with Konami was Tuesday when his contract was terminated. The famed designer worked at Konami for nearly 30 years, spending the majority of his career there. He had originally left the company in October, with Konami claiming he was just on vacation even though there was a farewell party for him. Kojima Productions was officially founded in 2005, formerly under the umbrella of Konami, which the company dissolved near the end of The Phantom Pain’s development.
A long-standing public dispute between Konami and Kojima continued to escalate throughout most of this year, which ultimately caused his departure from the company. From Konami removing Kojima from the The Phantom Pain’s branding and marketing, changing many of his staff’s status from employees to contractors, suddenly cancelling the anticipated collaboration with Guillermo del Toro 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 Los Angeles. Konami even prevented Kojima from appearing at The Game Awards on Dec. 3 for Metal Gear Solid V.
In a message signaling he hasn’t lost his passion after the issues over the last year, Kojima gave a personal message on his Twitter. “I’m committed to be involved in creative activities for as long as I live,” he said.
“I’ll keep creating games until the day I die,” Kojima told IGN. “Rest assured I’m making more games, something more fun, something you haven’t seen, and it would be great if I could count on the fans to support me in this.”
Kojima, known for his iconic Metal Gear franchise and others like Zone of the Enders, has long been associated with the PlayStation brand. While Metal Gear Solid games have appeared on Microsoft and Nintendo consoles, most of Kojima’s projects released first on Sony platforms.
Metal Gear Solid was a PlayStation-exclusive when it released in 1998 and is considered to be one of the best games ever made for the console. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was a key temporarily exclusive PlayStation 2 title that helped establish the system when the game released in November 2001. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is another classic PS2 exclusive, first released in November 2004. Metal Gear Solid 4 only released on Sony’s next console in June 2008. There were also a handful of Metal Gear games released for the PlayStation Portable.
Kojima’s most recent game, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, is a multi-platform release launched on Sept. 1.
Watch the announcement video featuring Hideo Kojima and Andrew House: