According to Akio Otsuka, the Japanese voice actor for Snake in the Metal Gear Solid series, Kojima Productions has been disbanded. He posted his goodbyes on Twitter and Twipple (a Japanese equivalent of Twitter) earlier today (translation courtesy of Gematsu):
“Kojima Productions was forced to disband, but it appears that the work that the team has been putting their utmost effort into is nearly complete. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I expect it will become their greatest masterpiece. I couldn’t help it. I just wanted to say ‘Kept you waiting, huh?’ (Laughs.) But even if this is the end, Metal Gear Solid is immortal!”
Whilst no official word has been given by Konami, this would corroborate reports of power struggles between Kojima’s team and Konami head office over the past few months, culminating in rumours about Konami leaving the gaming industry to focus on its gambling machine market. With the cancellation of Silent Hills and the departure of prominent figures such as Tak Fujii and Koji Igarashi, the latter of which slated the company for “bullying their employees” it does not look good for the fans of such iconic franchises as Metal Gear, Castlevania and Silent Hill.
An inside source revealed to GameSpot that senior staff at Kojima Productions had had their internet, phone calls, emails and podcasts restricted or shut down in an effort to put pressure on the studio. The source went as far as to say that Kojima would leave Konami once his contract had expired in December.
Whilst a lot of this information is hearsay, rumors and inside sources, the fact remains that Akio Otsuka has outright stated that Kojima Productions has been disbanded, and that news carries a lot of weight to fans around the world as to the future of the Metal Gear Solid franchise.