A power struggle between Kojima Productions and publisher Konami could result in the departures of Metal Gear series creator Hideo Kojima and other senior staff.
An insider has told GameSpot Kojima and others are reported to have their employee status change and have essentially been made contractors rather than full-time staff. They will now likely leave the studio when their contracts end in December. The studio's latest project, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, is expected to be released in September.
Senior staff are currently said to have restricted access to corporate internet, emails and phones. Key developers are also reported to have “limited opportunities” to promote the game.
Yesterday it emerged that the Kojima Productions logo had been removed from Metal Gear art and also the official website. Konami later released a statement claiming it was shifting its production structure to a "headquarters-controlled system", effectively putting the publisher at the forefront of promotion rather than its studios.
It stressed however that despite the reports, Hideo Kojima will continue to develop and support Metal Gear products.
“As we have already announced, 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,” read a statement from Konami.
“Konami Digital Entertainment (including Mr. Kojima), will continue to develop and support Metal Gear products. Please look forward to future announcements."
Update: Konami has released a statement, as reported by Eurogamer, confirming that Hideo Kojima will “remain involved” throughout the development of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. It has provided no other details on whether he will remain at the company or leave once the game is finished however.