How Kojima Announced A Sony & Konami Partnership, And None Of Us Knew It
Okay everyone, join me in placing tin foil hats on, it’s time to go for a ride. This is the story of how Hideo Kojima, despite a fractured relationship with his old company, confirmed that they were working with Sony on a Metal Gear Solid project.
Many of us have seen the recent Death Stranding: Director’s Cut trailer that recently premiered at Geoff Keighley’s Summer Games Fest: Kick-Off event this past weekend. At surface level there are some obvious conclusions we can draw. First, Death Stranding is getting a PS5 upgrade. This is not especially surprising, as there’s money to be made from Sony here, and they’re the owner of the IP (that facet is important though and we’ll be back to this soon). You didn’t need to be an eagle-eyed fan of Metal Gear either to notice the obvious references present in this trailer though, and that’s where the mystery starts to heat up.
In this trailer we see a number of Metal Gear references, from the iconic cardboard box that can be used as a stealth tool, filled with oranges I might add, to the way the camera swings to show the interior of the facility that Death Stranding protagonist Sam Porter Bridges is clearly trying to infiltrate. It also highlights guards scouting the area in ways we do not see in Death Stranding, again, a nod to the stealth franchise that Kojima made his name with, but what is most notable is the audio. In this trailer, we distinctly hear music from the Metal Gear franchise, as well as a few iconic sound effects, and while it’s easy to chalk all of this up to simple Kojima fun and games, the legal consequences of doing this gives credence to something more exciting.
Konami, despite not being overly engaged in the gaming scene in recent years, is still quite protective of its gaming IP, and would never stand for such flagrant use of their iconic audio and visuals, especially if they’re being used by someone whose relationship with them ended so badly before. Some are saying that Kojima simply went off the deep end, but you can strike that off the list as a possibility. With the rights to the IP held by Sony, there’s no way that A. Sony would ever approve it because of potential legal ramifications with Konami, and B. that Geoff Keighley would ever run it, out of fear of relationship penalties he might take from a scorned Sony. For all these Metal Gear elements to feature so overtly in the trailer, everything had to be greenlit, everything had to be approved.
Does this guarantee that Metal Gear is being worked on by Sony? Well we can’t say for certain until the moment it’s announced, but it’s a growing possibility. This possibility is further teased when we see phrases like “Handled with love” on the side of the Fragile Express cardboard box, emphasising the care required from any party who adopts Metal Gear IP.
We’ve heard the rumours in the past, those rumours suggested that Sony was going to be working with Konami to take on the licenses for Metal Gear, Castlevania, Silent Hill, and potentially more. This little tease is the first canary in the coal mine that something is underway between the two parties. Kojima has gone his own way, he won’t be working on this game unless Sony takes on full responsibility, at which point he may wish to act as a consultant, beyond that, he clearly wishes to move on to fresh pastures, but it doesn’t stop other teams like Bluepoint picking up the slack. Bluepoint themselves have been connected to the Metal Gear Solid franchise in the past and didn’t shy from teasing potential further involvement at Halloween a number of years ago (before they ultimately announced Demon’s Souls)
So calm this spooky night. A symphony of rumors – not one, but two – return from shadow. A resistance to dart home as black monsters escape twisted hills to wander lands and syphon souls. Filter your candy collections, soft from solid, and be eco-friendly. Have a metal Halloween. pic.twitter.com/mFFxI7BIDN
— Bluepoint Games (@bluepointgames) October 31, 2019
The legal ramifications for the unsolicited use of Metal Gear iconography is the big part of this trailer that needs to be considered here. Konami could cause Sony, Kojima Productions, and Kojima himself a lot of grief if this trailer were developed without their approval, every party involved knows this, and so it’s above board. With Konami being cooperative, that says volumes. Now, when does this all happen?
Kojima didn’t just make some fun references to Metal Gear, he announced the future of it.