Just like the long winter months' unflinching frost and just like another banal "will he leave, won't he leave?!" transfer saga in English soccer, it seemed as if there would be no end to the utterly bizarre tussle between Konami and their MVP video game auteur Hideo Kojima that has been bubbling over this entire year.
But like all things it finally came to an end this week as Kojima has finally escaped Konami's clutches and formed his very own independent studio. And has even managed to snare himself the task of creating an all new IP exclusively for Sony and the PlayStation 4.
Here's the man himself and Sony's Andrew House waxing lyrical about the historic partnership:
Welcome back, Kojima-san!
Lords of Shadow
If you've been following video game news over the past year, you would've learned that Konami are currently going through a... phase of realignment. That's a diplomatic way of putting it.
And with this shifting of ideals - moving from console and PC games to mobile games and... pachinko machines - came the dissolving of the legendary designer's team and most lucrative IP and the beginning of one of the industry's most insane sagas.
As early as March this year, it was clear to see something fishy was afoot when Konami removed Kojima from their list of corporate officers:
Then completely removed his name from the game's marketing...
Oh, and then rebranded the studio that helped Kojima Productions create 'Metal Gear Online' from Kojima Productions LA to Konami Los Angeles Studio.
Then Konami would go on to cancel the long awaited Silent Hills collaboration between Kojima, Guillermo del Toro, The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus and legendary horror manga artist Junji Ito. A move which nearly broke poor del Toro and one that he has been pretty outspoken about:
The thing with Kojima and Silent Hills is that I thought we would do a really remarkable game and really go for the jugular (...) makes no fucking sense at all that that game is not happening.
Even Reedus was pretty bummed out about the cancellation:
And they removed the games honestly unnerving demo PT (Playable Teaser) from PlayStation Store, rendering consoles with it downloaded as magical as mythical beasts.
The Phantom Pain
After Metal Gear Solid V released to unanimous praise and was all that everyone spoke about for a good while, it would've been easy to think that all of the hubbub between Konami and Kojima would've blown over, but Konami's weird response to a tweet once again tore open the wound.
Games journalist Simon Parkin tweeted an image of what he was adamant about being Kojima's farewell party at Konami HQ:
But as mentioned by Parkin in his tweet and backed up by a report from Tokyo Sports, Konami denied any knowledge of the event. Though a Tokyo spokesperson for the publisher was quoted as saying Kojima was still an employee and he and his staff were taking a well earned break after a grueling development process.
More recently, even more controversy was stirred up when Kojima wasn't present to collect awards from the PlayStation Awards in Tokyo and The Game Awards for the majestic MGS V.
At the annual PlayStation Awards, the head of Konami's PR division was elected to pick up MGS V's User’s Choice Award and the Platinum Prize.
And nu-Snake, Kiefer Sutherland was on hand to pick up one the game's awards at The Game Awards. Check out the clip below for his brief speech and the boos of the crowd after learning that Konami's lawyers amazingly banned Kojima from attending the ceremony and picking up awards for his own creation:
Sons of Liberty
But out of the fires of confusion and disbelief comes a new dawn for the eccentric designer. Kojima Productions is back with a snazzy new logo and a massive task to create a whole new franchise exclusive to PlayStation 4.
Here's what the legend himself had to say about it:
"I will be taking on a new challenge by establishing my own independent studio, and I am thrilled to be able to embark on this journey with PlayStation, who I have continued to work with all these past years.
I cannot wait to deliver, with PlayStation, a game that will become a compelling franchise."
And I can't wait to play it! To reiterate the sentiment, welcome back, Kojima-san. Video games would've been a much blander place without you.
(Sources: Eurogamer, Kotaku, Polygon, Tokyo Sport)