I’m almost too embarrassed to write this article, but it seems as though I have to for the sake of, well…jeez, if this isn’t news than I don’t know what is. Last night, Los Angeles played host to the 2015 Video Game Awards; a gala affair wherein which the best of the best in the industry gather to celebrate the high-quality video game releases of the year. It’s your standard award ceremony, just with video games. Fairly self-explanatory. Now if you follow the industry at all, chances are you were expecting a certain few titles to be nominated for several different awards throughout the night. One of those games would have undoubtedly been Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. If you had guessed that it would have won at least one award, you would be right…but unfortunately the man behind the series could not make it there to accept any accolades awarded to the game for it’s excellence. Well,it’s not that he simply couldn’t make it to the ceremony…it’s that he wasn’t allowed.
Hideo Kojima, despite having left Konami in October, is still, unfortunately, under contract with the video game juggernaut. While his contract is supposed to expire at the end of this month…it’s not yet the end of this month, so he was informed by one of Konami’s countless brigade of lawyers prior to the engagement that it was better for him to not go at all, unless he would be willing to face some level of undisclosed legal action. Hideo Kojima was then under tight obligation to steer clear of the ceremony that was made for the specific purpose of celebrating video games much like his own. Despite the fact that it was Kojima’s efforts over the years that lead the video game industry to the point where it is at today, it seems as though Konami prefer to take the route of a scorned ex-lover rather than a respectful establishment that can understand people’s moving on doesn’t necessarily erase everything that was done prior to said departure.
Geoff Keighley, host of this year’s Video Game Awards, actually addressed his lack of presence at the ceremony by saying: “Mr. Kojima had every intention of being with us tonight, but unfortunately, he was informed by a lawyer representing Konami just recently that he would not be allowed to travel to tonight’s awards ceremony to accept any awards…He’s still under an employment contract, it’s disappointing, and it’s inconceivable to me that an artist like Hideo would not be allowed to come here and celebrate with his peers and his fellow teammates…Hideo is in Tokyo right now watching the show.”
It’s safe to say that, by the end of the night, all understood exactly why the godfather of modern day gaming couldn’t make it to celebrate with his friends, peers, and everyone in between, and if they’re anything like the general video game population…they were also saddened by it. I would like to give a company like Konami the benefit of the doubt, saying that I’m sure there are reasons for doing what they have done…but I can’t bring myself to believe those words. Konami truly is acting like teenager who cannot get its way, and even though they wont allow Hideo Kojima the time of day to be proud of his work, we will. Congratulations, Hideo Kojima, for making one hell of a good video game, and creating a series that has set the industry on a course to greatness.