Word is out that Konami, the Japanese super-publisher behind the Metal Gear Solid franchise, is already planning the next instalment in its run of critically and commercially successful stealth games – but precisely where the creator and director of the franchise, Hideo Kojima, fits into this new dawn for Metal Gear, it's not clear.
Kotaku reports that internal discussions are currently being held at Konami over where to take Metal Gear next. This year saw the fifth "proper" instalment of Metal Gear Solid, The Phantom Pain, sell over five million copies and wedge itself into serious contention as the game of 2015. Whatever comes in the future has some serious precedent to appreciate and aim to match, if not exceed.
Konami, however, quite clearly had a breakdown with Kojima during the making and promotion of The Phantom Pain, with reports of attempts to remove the director's name from marketing materials and (allegedly) compromise his team's communication by restricting phone and email access (and a great deal more shadiness) rampant across the games press and social media. Kojima's own studio has been dissolved by Konami, and his collaborative horror project with film director Guillermo del Toro, Silent Hills, cancelled several months back, so everything suggests that there's next to no chance of, let's say, Metal Gear Solid VI: The Janitor Controversy carrying the Kojima Seal of Approval.
"Large-scale investment" will be necessary on the next Metal Gear Solid title, Kotaku writes, via Nikkei. Which rather goes against the thinking that Konami is about to abandon console development for a focus on mobile gaming and pachinko machines. But it'll be no comfort whatsoever for staff at the LA base of Kojima Productions – it's strongly rumoured that tens of employees lost their jobs there today (November 3rd) as Konami sets about closing the facility down completely.