On Monday, The New Yorker published a story reporting that Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima left Konami earlier this month—there was even a leaving party. However, according to Japanese publication Tokyo Sports (as translated by Kotaku), a spokesperson at Konami’s Tokyo headquarters denied that Kojima had left the company, saying that he is fact still an employee and currently “on vacation.
“Currently, Kojima and the development team are finished developing Metal Gear Solid V and are taking a long time off from work,” the representative said. “Because the development time for console games is so long and fatigues builds up, it’s common for employees to take extended periods of time of when development is finished.”
Around 100 guests were said to have attended a small leaving ceremony at Konami earlier this month, which included former colleagues from other studios. The New Yorker‘s source described it as a “rather cheerful but also emotional goodbye.” The story’s author Simon Parkin has since released what he claims is a photo of the farewell party taking place. When asked about the party, the spokesperson said: “we’re not sure what kind of thing this was.”
Here is a photograph of Kojima’s farewell party on October 9th at Konami, which Konami claims no knowledge of: pic.twitter.com/xgRUoYs5qt
— Simon Parkin (@SimonParkin) October 20, 2015
It’s widely believed that Kojima has a non-compete clause that expires in December (as reported by the The New Yorker and Kotaku amongst others), which prevents him from entering into new partnerships or speaking about his departure from the company.
That Kojima may have left Konami comes as little surprise. The famed developer was rumoured to be leaving the company as far back as March this year, which was denied at the time. Konami then removed the Kojima Productions logo and the all-caps “A HIDEO KOJIMA GAME” note from the Metal Gear Solid V box art.
Further reports indicated that no new Metal Gear games were being planned at the company, although it pushed back on headlines pointing to poor treatment of staff and a focus on mobile games. The latter has proved profitable for Konami, with its first mobile game Dragon Collection helping to boost its profits by almost 80 percent between 2011 and 2012.
This post originated on Ars Technica UK