Konami didn’t recover after ditching Kojima, but this Metal Gear revival is its best shot

Video Gamer is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices subject to change. Learn more

Hideo Kojima left Konami in 2015 after finishing up Metal Gear Solid: Phantom Pain. The circumstances of his departure are still unconfirmed, though reporting on the controversy has focused on the company’s business philosophy shifting from AAA console gaming to mobile, gacha, and casino, and the producer’s dislike of this.

When I think of Konami, two major franchises come to mind – Metal Gear and Silent Hill. Neither franchise has seen new entries since Kojima left, with ‘Silent Hills’ canned in the aftermath of Konami’s business restructuring. This year and next, we’re going to see two remakes launched: Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater and Silent Hill 2. The last decade, in-fact, has been largely similar. Each franchise has been kept on life-support through re-release, remake, and remaster, though no new mainline games for years.

Snake aiming a rocket launcher at a helicopter in MGS Delta.
A first look at MGS on current generation hardware, via Konami.

Konami is no longer the household name that they used to be, with AAA game production a relic of the past, pushed aside for newer markets. Kojima’s departure seems a lot less surprising then, especially considering his current focus on Death Stranding, a game I view as ‘anti-gaming.’ While Kojima’s former company might be financially stable now, its stature within the AAA space has been reduced to ‘that Pachinko company,’ and it’s hard to see how it can move forward with new releases and IPs that can even come close to that of Kojima’s.

Kojima’s involvement in the Silent Hill franchise only began with PT, the precursor to Silent Hills, though there’s no denying that Metal Gear is his own. With Phantom Pain having punctuated the end of that saga, Konami’s only choice now is to focus on bringing the experience to current generation game engines and hardware. If I’m being honest, any talks of a Metal Gear Solid 6 are all fluff. What story could it tell without its creator?

This is no slight on the company’s current AAA developers. Noriaki Okamura, for example, is a Konami veteran whose experience spans back to Metal Gear Solid in 1999. He recently featured in an interview with David Hayter (the voice of Snake and others) that featured an apology for the Master Collection’s lacklustre performance and also focused on the upcoming launch of the Snake Eater remake. Gameplay was first seen at the Xbox Showcase, and there’s no denying that the shift over to Unreal Engine has benefitted the game drastically. For the first time in years, the Metal Gear franchise looks alive.

Snake wading through water.
Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater in Unreal Engine 5, via Konami.

In the Okamura/Hayter interview, the producer addressed a key concern that the franchise is now facing. Growing up, Metal Gear was unavoidable. Snake was in Super Smash Bros, his cardboard box became an icon, and Kojima’s presence at Konami turned it into one of the most recognisable franchises ever. It’s been nine years since Phantom Pain, six since Survive, and the IP has done little but dwindle in that time. “We’re seeing that more and more, newer gamers aren’t familiar with the series,” Okamura says. “But we’ve been entrusted with the future of Metal Gear, and we consider it our responsibility to make sure people can continue to enjoy the series.” It’s refreshing to see modesty and honesty from Konami here, and the fact that it is seeding Metal Gear into the current gaming meta says big things about its plans for the franchise.

Reviving Metal Gear is a monumental challenge for Konami, and to many, it’s the only way they can claw their way back in as a household name in gaming. If they’re going to do it, Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater needs to succeed, and Konami desperately needs to sort out the Master Collection too.

About the Author

Amaar Chowdhury

Amaar loves retro hardware and boring games with more words than action. So, he writes about them daily.