Logo after the 2015 reformation
|Industry||Video game industry|
Kojima Productions Co., Ltd.[Note 1] is a Japanese video game development studio founded in 2005 by video game designer Hideo Kojima, creator of the Metal Gear series. The company was originally established as a subsidiary of Konami, located in Roppongi Hills in Roppongi, Tokyo. The studio had just under 100 employees in 2005, but had since grown to over 200 people for the development of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.
In 2015, Kojima Productions temporarily disbanded following a company restructuring at Konami. In December 2015, Kojima's employment contract with Konami was officially terminated, and he reformed Kojima Productions as a new independent studio. The new logo of Kojima Productions is a character named "Ludens".
The studio was formed on April 1, 2005, after Konami merged several of its subsidiaries including Hideo Kojima's team at Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (KCEJ).
Kojima stated the merger relieved him of business management and administrative burdens he had as KCEJ's vice president, and that as head of Kojima Productions he could focus on creating games. He stated:
"To elaborate a little bit more, I am now in a position within Konami as one of the members of the board, and it's true that I do have a responsibility, and also respect, within the company. However, when I say as a creator, "I want to create this new game", it's still the same as twenty years ago! People still ask, "will that sell, will that be good?" Nobody really understands whether it would be an instant hit or whatever. I'm not just talking about the top executives, but even the development staff! But that is my challenge, actually. That's what's interesting. They do not understand what they cannot see instantly, so they can't say "that's a great idea" straight away. That's my challenge, and my satisfaction when I present to them, saying I want to create this new thing. And if I get more 'boos' about it - if they say, "No! We don't know what you're talking about!" then this is actually the fun part.
The company completed and released Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection, a compilation of Metal Gear Solid 2, 3 and Peace Walker. They also released Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D for the Nintendo 3DS as a port of the original game Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. In early 2014, they released Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes as a prologue to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which was released in 2015.
On March 16, 2015, Konami announced that it had restructured its video game development operations to "[shift] 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." The same day, references to Kojima and Kojima Productions were stripped from promotional material and websites relating to the Metal Gear series, Kojima's Los Angeles studio was renamed Konami Los Angeles Studio, a new Metal Gear Solid Twitter account without a reference to Kojima in its username was established, and the Kojima Productions website began to redirect to the Metal Gear Solid website instead. That day, Kojima also posted a photo on his personal Twitter account captioned "heading off", and a Konami filing stated that as of April 1, 2015, he would no longer be among Konami's executive officers. These actions led to speculation that Kojima was planning on leaving the company after the release of The Phantom Pain, which he has described as being a conclusion of the Metal Gear series.
On March 19, an anonymous employee reported to GameSpot that these changes were a result of conflicts between Kojima and Konami. The employee stated that Kojima and his staff were now being treated as contracted workers rather than employees, Konami had blocked access to their corporate e-mail and phone systems (thus restricting their communications), and that Kojima and the studio's senior staff planned to leave Konami in December 2015 following the conclusion of their contracts and the release of The Phantom Pain. A Konami spokesperson denied that Kojima was leaving the company, and stated that he would still be involved with Konami and the Metal Gear franchise.
On March 20, Konami made a public statement on its website, stating that Kojima would be staying with the company through at least the completion of The Phantom Pain, and that it was recruiting new staff to lead the development of future Metal Gear games. Kojima himself confirmed in a statement that he was still "100% involved" in the completion of The Phantom Pain, and was "determined to make it the greatest game I've directed to date." MGS V voice actress Donna Burke claimed in a posting on Twitter that Kojima had actually been fired, although Konami denied these claims and Burke revoked her statement.
On July 10, 2015, Akio Ōtsuka, who provided the Japanese-language voices of Solid Snake and Naked Snake, tweeted that Kojima Productions had closed its doors and the studio will not seek any future activity nor will it partner up on any future Konami-based projects.
In December 2015, Kojima Productions was nominated for Developer of the Year at The Game Awards 2015, but lost out to CD Projekt RED. Kojima was reportedly blocked from attending the event by Konami's lawyers, requiring voice actor Kiefer Sutherland to accept awards for The Phantom Pain on his behalf.
On December 16, 2015, in a joint announcement with Sony Computer Entertainment, Kojima announced that a new Kojima Productions would be established as an independent studio with other former Konami staff members, including artist Yoji Shinkawa and producer Kenichiro Imaizumi. The studio also announced that it would be developing a new franchise, the first title of which will be console exclusive to the PlayStation 4. Kojima stated that he "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."
Though Kojima had produced games at Konami since 1987, the "Kojima Productions" studio was not formed until 2005. However, Konami retroactively refers to Kojima's earlier productions as belonging to the studio. All Kojima Productions games released until 2015 were published by Konami.
- Pre-Kojima Productions (Konami / KCEJ)
- Kojima Productions (Konami subsidiary)
- Kojima Productions (independent studio)
|TBA||Death Stranding||PlayStation 4||First game to not be affiliated with Konami; published by Sony Interactive Entertainment|
- From 2005 to 2015, as subsidiary of Konami, known as Kojima Productions (小島プロダクション Kojima Purodakushon?), 小島 being the kanji for the last name of the studio's head, Hideo Kojima. In December 2015, Kojima re-incorporated the studio independently as Kojima Productions Co., Ltd. (株式会社コジマプロダクション Kabushiki gaisha Kojima Purodakushon?), コジマ being a phonetic katakana transliteration of his last name.
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