Legendary game developer Hideo Kojima has taken to social media to clarify the present as well as the future of his studio, Kojima Productions, after a PlayStation Studios banner featuring Death Stranding was spotted on the official PlayStation website.
Hideo Kojima has worked closely with PlayStation many times, right from the original Metal Gear Solid, which is an iconic game for the PS1 to the recent Death Stranding, which not only launched as a PS4 exclusive game, but was also published by PlayStation.
Quite recently, an updated banner of PS Studios featuring Sam (the protagonist of Death Stranding, played by Norman Reedus) was spotted on their official website. Although it was quickly changed, it swiftly sparked speculation that Kojima Productions would be joining the PS Studios family.
Hideo Kojima clarifies the future of Kojima Productions as an ‘independent production studio’
PlayStation, Sony’s gaming division, is arguably the biggest gaming brand in the world. With top-tier developers as well as an industry-leading console family, the brand has truly become synonymous with video games. Currently, the PS Studios family features many top-tier studios, such as Santa Monica Studios, the developers behind the iconic God of War franchise, and Guerrilla Games, the studio behind Killzone and the post-apocalyptic mechanical beast series, Horizon (Zero Dawn and Forbidden West), and Insomniac, whose Ratchet & Clank video game series as well as Marvel’s Spider-Man titles are breakout fan-favorite successes.
PlayStation is known to feature a brand image for all of its first-party developers, where protagonists from the games of various studios are featured side by side. Previously, this image leaked Sony’s acquisition of BluePoint Games with the image featuring The Slayer of Demons. Interestingly, fans recently noticed that the image has been updated to feature Sam from Death Stranding, which led to major speculation among fans about the future of Kojima Productions as a potential PS studio.
Hideo Kojima also fumed at the fire by tweeting out just the image, which fans immediately took to mean him confirming the speculation. However, Kojima later followed up by stating: (Translated by Google from Japanese)
"It sounds misleading, but KojiPro has been and will continue to be an independent production studio."
Could Kojima Productions be joining the PlayStation Studios family in the near future?
Hideo Kojima has been working closely with Sony ever since the early days of his career. His iconic creation, the Metal Gear Solid franchise, became a staple of the PlayStation console throughout its numerous entries. After Kojima left Konami and formed Kojima Productions, he still continued his strong partnership with Sony.
Kojima Production’s first title was Death Stranding, which brought back Norman Reedus and Guillermo del Toro to work once again with Kojima after P.T., a psychological horror game. The title used one of Sony’s studios' (Guerrilla Games) proprietary Decima Engine, which is also known for the Horizon games.
As many fans have already pointed out, Kojima mentioning Kojima Productions as an "independent production studio" seems somewhat similar to the steps BluePoint took after the acquisition was leaked by Sony.
Currently, there is an ‘arms race’ going on between the top gaming brands of Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation, NetEase Games, and Embracer Group’s Koch Media. Over the last couple of years, Xbox has acquired multiple video game developers and publishers, such as Bethesda and Activision Blizzard. On the other hand, Sony has acquired studios such as Insomniac, BluePoint Games, Housemarque, Firesprite, Nixxes Software, Valkyrie Entertainment, and Haven studios to name a few.
Kojima Productions is arguably one of the most high-profile independent studios currently. While staying independent does help a studio with creativity, being acquired does bring in significant budgetary support to actually realize those creative visions. Amongst all the major brands in the current gaming industry, Kojima has definitely worked the closest with Sony. As such, if Kojima Productions does end up being acquired by Sony, it won’t come as a surprise to the fans.