[Update] Gamespot is now claiming to have spoken to an anonymous "source within the studio" who says that Kojima is expected to leave after MGS 5, citing power struggles that had led to "senior staff at the studio being restricted access to corporate internet, emails, and phone." According to this source the restructuring has effectively left senior Kojima Production members as contractors with a contract that ends in December.
I contacted Konami for further comment and who replied, "we will not be making any statement."
While the internet panics that Kojima's left Konami and what that means to MGS 5, everyone seems to have overlooked the fact that there's no actual proof anything's happened.
Much of the noise stems from the fact that the Kojima Productions Twitter account has handed over to a new MGS game one:
And in addition the original MGS 5 web page that used to have a '/kojima_pro' URL now redirects to a '/mgs_portal' one (although 'Kojima Productions' and 'Hideo Kojima' can still be found in the HTML files if you root around). 'Hideo Kojima' and 'Kojima Productions' is now also missing from the game's branding as shown by this updated piece of art:
But, here's the thing: Kojima announced a large-scale restructuring on March 3rd which came into action on the 16th. You can read it here where it says the following:
We are shifting our production structure to 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.
Kojima Productions was effectively a subsidiary company, something that wouldn't fit in under a new "headquarters-controlled system". The press release also only covers "restructuring and personnel changes" so its only new things that are listed. If you look down the list for example, while "Production Divisions 1, 2 and 3" are mentioned up top, they're only the new ones, with eight in total mentioned among the roles outlined.
So the URL change, and the Twitter move ties in with a company streamlining to focus on a single identity. I spoke to Konami this morning and the only official statement being made at the moment is this:
Konami Digital Entertainment, including Mr. Kojima, will continue to develop and support Metal Gear products. Please look forward to future announcements.
That statement is thin, but it does effectively say Konami, including Hideo Kojima are still making Metal Gear stuff. It doesn't say 'as well as' or 'with the assistance of' or anything that suggests Koj isn't part of the organisation.
What I'm trying to say is that while twitter is apparently wailing about the departure of Kojima and even, somehow, the cancellation of Silent Hills, the only evidence it's based on is some guy on Reddit noticing a corporate re-branding.
Similarly, many are pointing at this "Announcement of Executive Appointments" and getting worked up that Kojima's not on it. But that's a list of appointments, not everyone in the entire company. In the case of both press releases, they're announcements of changes within the company, so Kojima not being on either is effectively the opposite of what people are reading into it.
If Kojima has left then he was still happily tweeting MGS stuff last night:
スイスで開催の「BASEL WORLD」では、今回MGSV:TPPとコラボのデジボーグだけでなく、MGR、MGSV:GZと歴代のコラボレーションウォッチも展示しています。 pic.twitter.com/WiRe9ORvO1
— 小島プロダクション (@kojima_pro) March 19, 2015
And retweeted this barely seven hours ago:
I've asked Konami for further comment and I'm waiting to see what I hear back.