Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima has reportedly left Konami as of today (15 December) according to a report from Japanese business publication Nikkei. According to the report Kojima will seek to start up a new studio and is in talks with Sony Computer Entertainment regarding possible platform exclusivity for his next game.
The original article, published in in Japanese but reported by Polygon, is in line with a report in October from The New Yorker, which stated the non-compete clause in Kojima's contract would expire in January.
Translations of the article reveal that Kojima is in talks for his next title to be released on a Sony platform (likely the PS4) first – if not entirely exclusively. The Metal Gear Solid license remains at Konami, who are reportedly keen to continue the series.
Issues between Konami and Kojima have been well-reported throughout the year, which saw the release of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain in September and the cancellation of Kojima's Silent Hills collaboration with film director Guillermo del Toro.
It began in March when Konami removed Kojima Productions branding from all promotional materials for The Phantom Pain. In April they cancelled Silent Hills and in July Kojima Productions was allegedly shut down. All this is believed to be the fallout from a Konami restructuring as the company shifts its focus away from console games to mobile games and gambling machines.
In August Nikkei (via Kotaku) further damaged Konami's reputation with a report detailing some of the Orwellian working practises in action at the company.
Metal Gear Solid 5 was clearly released with an unfinished story, as evidenced by the release online of footage from a fifty-first mission that was clearly the desired ending of the game. While this won't be confirmed until Kojima or someone formerly of Kojima Productions speaks us, this may well have been the root of all the troubles.
Throughout the year Konami has done little to disprove the mounting reports, and its workers – former or current – have been unable to discuss the matter.