Hideo Kojima, the visionary director of the heralded Metal Ger Solid series, has left the video game company Konami, according to The New Yorker. His departure comes in the wake of his most recent effort, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which earned $175 million on its launch day in Septmeber.
Although Kojima often said he was finished with the long-running Metal Gear series, his leaving Konami was an unexpected development. Konami’s new focus on mobile gaming may be why they were willing to part with their video game star. After all, notes The New Yorker, mobile games are much cheaper and quicker to produce than the $80 million and oft-delayed Phantom Pain. And mobile games often generate huge returns on investment. The market is a raging success in Japan. Even Konami saw its biggest success in years with its first mobile endeaver, Dragon Collection. As one former Konami employee ominously put it, “We’ve seen the end of the console-game market in Japan.”
Kojima reportedly has a non-compete clause until December. Phantom Pain had a bigger opening day than Avengers 2 and Jurassic World combined, and it earned universal critical acclaim (it has a Metacritic score of 93 out of 100). The gaming world knows he still has the magic touch, so he’ll surely find gainful employment when 2016 rolls around. What the cinematic-minded director will do next is anyone’s guess, but no one will be surprised if it’s as expansive, complex and visually stunning as his much-loved and admired Metal Gear Solid games.