Weirded Out by Konami vs. Kojima Feud

When he leaves GameRevolution next month, they're gonna change his name to Fred Smith on every post.

Well that escalated quickly. Just within the last three weeks, we've gone from Hideo Kojima saying (as he's said with almost every Metal Gear Solid title) that MGSV: The Phantom Pain would be the last Metal Gear Solid game, to Kojima announcing plans to leave the company, to Konami flipping over his desk and calling him a doody head.

^ Hideo Kojima's stapler, the morning of March 19. Konami declines comment.

Though longitme series director Hideo Kojima plans to leave the series and its publisher behind, Konami has already put out hiring notices for future Metal Gear Solid games. The two sides have since become embroiled in a passive-aggressive feud that has people feeling awkward.

The fight has become a slapping party reminiscent of grade school. Recently, Konami removed any trace of Hideo Kojima or Kojima productions from the Metal Gear Solid V website. Even the phrase "A Hideo Kojima game" is gone from most, if not all, official Metal Gear websites and images. it's left many wondering why.

My own theory would be that Konami wants to divorce Metal Gear Solid's quality from Kojima personally, so that its praise and perception are not so tied to the man himself. They want MGS to continue to have hype and high sales after he departs, and the best way to do that is subtly remove any reminders of Kojima being the man behind the magic.

Again, though, that's my own idea that I thought up in the early morning ours when I apparently can't differentiate between "ours" and "hours." Fuck backspacing though. The error stays.

You know what doesn't stay? The Kojima Productions logo. Holy shit, dude, this is weird stuff. And gamers are noticing. To investigate, I did something I should never do: read Twitter.

Gamers out here don't know what to make of all this, perhaps best expressed on Twitter, where one reaction captures it best: コナミとコジプロ確執マジかよ. That's kinda like, "Are Konami and Kojima Productions really fighting?" That awestruck sentiment sums it up pretty well. In a country where harmony is gold, this strikes everyone as odd.

People can tell something is up. I'll get to some stuff about Japanese business culture further down, but the Square Enix departures of Final Fantasy founding fathers Hironobu Sakaguchi and Nobuo Uematsu was completely peaceful. You didn't see any of this name-erasing bullshit. People are aware of the differences here.

We all know that after this long in development and this close to release date, Kojima Productions and the man himself have had undeniable involvement in MGSV. We'd be fools to think otherwise. But Konami could be trying to remove the association between Kojima and the typical mass market gamer, so as to maintain appeal in future, Kojima-free MGS titles.

I see similar shit happen out here all the time though. I don't know if it's a Japanese thing or not, because the majority of my adult life has been spent in Japan; this could easily happen in North America, but if it does, I'm just saying I can't recall personal experience with it because there hasn't been opportunity. So anyway, I see this shit happen out here when employees leave businesses.

When I quit one English school after having taught there for over two years, management freaked out and demanded that I do it quietly, not telling anyone. They then proceeded to not only erase my blog from the company website, but Photoshop me out of company photos and even delete my name from mentions in other teachers' blogs. They went back through hundreds of blog entries and mass replaced "Heath" with "the other teacher" and similar phrases. It was as hilarious as it was pathetic. But that story isn't the only one. This happens all the time.

I just watched a friend survive a four-month attempt to leave work saga. Every other day, the company would be on his ass about "Hey! Did you tell someone you're leaving!?" and other shit. The dude doesn't really talk to customers, but the company's own staff is full of blabbermouths whose kids all know that this guy was out the door soon. Since their kids play with customers' kids... yeah, this isn't hard to figure out.

But then, any time someone would come in and ask, "Is John leaving? Can I ask John about it," poor John (not his real name) would have a company manager escort the person to John and monitor the conversation. They also wouldn't see how this looked weird.

So you'd have shit like...

Customer: So I heard you were finished at the end of March. Is it true?
John: *Looks at manager, squirms in chair*
Manager: *Shakes head*
John: "Well, the things is... eh heh... we don't ah..."
Manager: "John is working here for now. Contracts always end in March, ah haha! It is the same for everyone! Let's leave this conversation on that vague end point!"
Customer: *Obviously wonders why she needed a company escort to John's desk to explain this.* "I... I see...."
Manager: "AH HA HA WELL LET'S ALL JUST WALK SOMEWHERE THAT'S NOT HERE, except you, John. You sit right there and don't follow us."
John: *Has no idea what just happened.*
Me: "What the hell just happened?

I could go on, but all of the stories are fairly similar and would quickly get boring. If they were fiction, they would be called "derivative" and "cliché" after your heard enough of them. And I'd rather not say tired catch phrases and clichés. Wouldn't want to do that.

Stay... Something Other Than Thirsty, Because That Line is Taken, My Friends
 

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