On June 19, 2020, French publication Gameblog.fr published a report alleging that Hideo Kojima developed P.T. Silent Hills without Konami’s knowledge. Kojima left Konami in December 2015, just 14 months after P.T. Silent Hills was released.
The report also alleges that Konami fired Kojima after discovering that he had used part of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain’s budget to make the horror game demo. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was famously over-budget. Other rumors had suggested that this budget contributed to Konami and Kojima’s break-up.
The real reason for Konami and Kojima’s less-than-amicable split has never been officially confirmed. However, the secretive development of P.T. Silent Hills isn’t the reason. On Twitter, Kojima Productions global head of communications, Jay Boor, said that the report is “categorically false.”
Fans of Kojima’s seem to be breathing a sigh of release at this denial. Kojima’s supporters are glad that the veteran game developer’s reputation remains intact. Some have also gone as far as sending insults to Gameblog.fr’s Twitter page.
While Kojima may not have misappropriated funds from his former employer, that doesn’t make him a saint. Kojima has caught flak plenty of times in the past.
In 2013, Kojima was heavily criticized for his portrayal of female sniper Quiet in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Quiet wears next to no clothing as she breathes through her skin and would suffocate if dressed appropriately for combat. Kojima said that her character design was “an antithesis to the women characters appeared in the past fighting game who are excessively exposed.”
Quiet followed an overall trend of poor female representation in the Metal Gear Solid series. In the very first Metal Gear Solid, players are able to sneak a look at Meryl Silverberg in her underwear, details an article by The Next Web .
Kojima also divided opinion with Death Stranding, which was review bombed by unhappy gamers. The cause of these negative reviews was that the game is a “walking simulator” and provided very little action gameplay. Each to their own, but it shows that Kojima isn’t the Teflon-coated legend that many seem to think he is.
If anything, the P.T. Silent Hills debacle serves as a reminder that no entertainment figure is perfect. Kojima may not have been in the wrong this time, but he, nor any other video game developer should be treated like they’re always in the right.