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He kept us waiting, but the internationally renowned video game director is finally ready to start work on his next project.

It’s been a strange, strange year for Hideo Kojima. 2015 finally saw the release of Metal Gear V: The Phantom Pain, which has earned so much popular and critical success that just about everyone has decided to stop grumbling about its premium-priced preview, 2014’s Metal Gear V: Ground Zeroes.

But even with The Phantom Pain winning a spot in the hearts of gamers and retailers alike, the feelings weren’t so warm between Kojima and Konami Digital Entertainment, Metal Gear’s publisher and Kojima’s employer for roughly three decades. First, the company abruptly cancelled Silent Hills, the eagerly anticipated horror title for which Kojima was involved in a much-publicized collaboration with film director Guillermo del Toro. Then Konami started gradually phasing Kojim’s name out of marketing and packaging for The Phantom Pain, an extremely odd move since it was already widely known that the game was very much Kojima’s baby, meaning that scrubbing his name from the box did nothing other than squander gamer goodwill.

As time went on, it became increasingly clear that the relationship between Kojima and Konami was beyond repair. However, firing employees for anything other than a public scandal is generally frowned upon in Japanese business culture, as is offering your resignation for anything other than a similarly massive blunder. With his eventual departure inevitable, Kojima has been resting his heels for the past few months, but now it looks like he’ll finally be able to get his creative mind back into gear after leaving it idling for so long.

Japan’s Nikkei financial newspaper reports that as of December 15, Kojima’s contract with Konami has reached the end of its term, and the two are no longer legally tied to one another.

▼ We like to imagine that on his last day in the office, Kojima took the box they gave him to put his personal effects in and did this instead.

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Following his exit from Konami, Kojima has wasted no time in establishing his own independent studio, dubbed Kojima Prductions. In a just-released video, the 52-year-old Tokyo native appears alongside Sony Computer Entertainment President and Global CEO Andrew House to announce that Kojima Productions’ first title will be a PlayStation 4 exclusive, and also that it will be the start of a new franchise.

▼ He also shows off his new glasses, goatee, and the Kojima Productions logo.

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Sadly, Konami retains custody of the Metal Gear franchise in this corporate divorce, but considering Kojima’s track record, there’s little doubt that his next project will be something special, and that whichever publisher lands the coveted title will be proud to splash “A Hideo Kojima game” on the box in the largest font that will fit.

Source: Anime News Network, Nikkei via Jin
Images: Konami, YouTube/PlayStation