The Metal Gear franchise can continue without Hideo Kojima at its helm, Konami's senior UK community manager Graham Day has said, before dismissing reports claiming that the company is to pull out of AAA console development.
Speaking to Game On Daily about Kojima's alleged exit from the company, Day explained that Konami had "said in the past previously that obviously the Metal Gear brand will continue".
"But can it continue without Kojima?" he is then asked directly.
"Yeah, course it can," Day says. "Metal Gear is about the story, it's about the characters and I think, yeah..."
"It's his baby, though," the interviewer interjects. "That's a lot of responsibility. Isn't that kind of daunting on the back of his departure?"
"Look at things like Metal Gear Rising," Day continues. "That was an example of the title being taken in a new direction by separate teams with obviously hands-in from other parties. And that was in itself a very, very good game as well, and that was obviously led by a completely different team."
It was reported earlier this year that Kojima is set to leave Konami after work on Metal Gear Solid V had been completed following an alleged "power struggle" between the two parties. His contract is said to end in December.
Konami later announced that it was to begin hiring "main staff to lead the development" of a new game in the Metal Gear franchise, fuelling rumours of Kojima's exit.
Neither Kojima or Konami have yet confirmed whether he will be leaving the company.
Earlier this month, however, a report by French website Gameblog claimed that the new Metal Gear is not "actually being prepared at any level whatsoever", and suggested that PES is the only AAA franchise currently in development at Konami. "All current console projects have been stopped or cancelled by the new management," the translated report reads. Eurogamer also understood the report to be true.
But according to Day, Konami's stance on console gaming has "never changed".
"Don't believe everything you read in the press," he said, before reassuring fans that the firm is still committed to console gaming. "That's never changed. Things have been taken out of context but that's never changed."
"Konami has a history of making the best games around and that is something that will continue," he added later in the interview. "That won't change anything going forward. So people should believe in Konami, and if I was to use a tagline, PES 2016's tagline is 'Love the past, play the future'. And that is there for a reason. The future isn't ending now. The future has a long, long way."