The politics of Hideo Kojima's involvement with Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and Konami keeps taking strange and sometimes ugly turns. Video Games Award presenter and emcee Geoff Keighley announced during the ceremony that the publisher had barred Kojima from taking any part in the game's honors.
During the broadcast, Keighley told the audience at the awards show, "“As you notice, Hideo Kojima is not here with us tonight and I want to tell you a little about that. 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." This was followed by loud booing from the audience.
He continued, "He’s still under an employment contract. And 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."
This revelation, if true, sort of makes Konami's claim that thefrom being fired from the company was just a wrap party and that he was merely going on after working for years on the game seem a bit hollow.
It seems the barring is from a pure legal standpoint, since his non-compete runs through December, and he wasn't able to pick up any awards at the PlayStation Awards on Wednesday either. However, legality or not, it seems extremely disingenuous to continually say Kojima isn't fired but simply "on leave" rather than openly acknowledge he's not working there anymore.
Keifer Sutherland, one of the voice actors from Metal Gear Solid 5, accepted awards on the game's behalf at the VGA, while a Konami PR rep accepted awards for the title at the PlayStation Awards.