Konami has responded to a detailed report which revealed that Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima has left the company. The publisher suggests that he is still employee and on a lengthy vacation, following the protracted development of Metal Gear Solid V.
According to Japanese publication Tokyo Sports, which has been translated by Kotaku, a Konami spokesperson said "currently, Kojima is listed as a company employee," and went on to say the extended leave was normal for console game development projects.
"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."
The publisher did not say whether or not Kojima had secured a new contract at the company, nor whether it wanted to maintain the 29-year partnership.
On Monday it was reported that Kojima parted ways with Konami earlier in the month. Around one hundred guests attended a small leaving ceremony, including former colleagues from other studios. Addressing this event, the Konami spokesperson said "we're not sure what kind of thing this was."
Simon Parkin, writer of the original New Yorker piece confirming Kojima's departure, has since released an image of this farewell gathering.
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 is believed Kojima has a non-compete clause that expires in December, which correlates to previous reports. Although the specifics of the arrangement aren't clear, this means Kojima will not be able to enter into new partnerships until this after this period.
GameSpot has contacted Konami for clarification on the matter.
In March, GameSpot first reported that Kojima was set to leave the company. Sources revealed the Japanese auteur would part ways with Konami following the completion of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which was released on September 1.
In July, the Japanese voice actor for Metal Gear Solid's Snake stated that Kojima Productions no longer existed as a development studio. This followed the cancellation of Silent Hills, and the removal of Kojima's name from The Phantom Pain's box art.