This article originally appeared in issue 267. It has been updated to reflect new developments in the ongoing story.

Hideo Kojima's name has been synonymous with Konami for decades. The man behind the Metal Gear series has brought much fanfare and success to the company, but this vital 30-year relationship appears to be fading. No one is outright saying the relationship is over, but all signs point to a messy divorce between the two camps, and it doesn't look like they have much of a future together.

Cracks in the façade started to appear in March when Konami mysteriously removed Kojima's logo from its website and some of the series' box art. Konami said it was merely a move of company rebranding and restructuring. Around this same time, Kojima confirmed that the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain would be his last in a video interview with IGN. "With Metal Gear Solid V, I'm finally closing the loop on that saga," he said. "In that sense, this will be the final Metal Gear Solid. Even if the Metal Gear franchise continues, to me, this is the last Metal Gear." Kojima has threatened this before, and even admitted such in the video, but he seemed firm on the declaration. 

Kojima may see Metal Gear Solid V as the series' end, but Konami isn't about to let go of one its top-selling franchises. The company responded, issuing its own statement: "Konami will continue to develop and distribute top-quality content in the Metal Gear series following MGSV: TPP. As the next step in the series, Konami has already resolved to develop a new 'Metal Gear' title." Konami has already posted job listings to start the audition process for this new project.

The drama didn't stop there. Konami also blindsided fans by canceling Kojima's highly anticipated Silent Hills game. To add insult to injury, the company pulled P.T. (the playable teaser that announced the game) from PlayStation Network on April 29. This isn't the end for the series, but it is the end of Kojima and director Guillermo del Toro's vision for it. Konami said in a statement, "Konami is committed to new Silent Hill titles, however the embryonic 'Silent Hills' project developed with Guillermo del Toro and featuring the likeness of Norman Reedus will not be continued."

So how did we get here? Not even a year ago, Konami was promoting Metal Gear Solid V and P.T. heavily at a slew of shows, such as TGS and Gamescom. While Kojima has always expressed his desire to step away from Metal Gear at some point, the Silent Hills cancellation comes as the biggest shock. P.T. sparked the most enthusiasm we've seen for the struggling series in close to a decade. It looked like such a smart decision all around. After outsourced entries like Homecoming and Downpour rated in the low 70s and high 60s on Metacritic, respectively, it felt good to see Konami developing the series in-house again. Kojima seemed genuinely excited to work on Silent Hills - something he's been hinting he wanted to do for a while. It would have given him a new place to foster his creativity. 

The sudden discontent between the two camps may seem like a head scratcher, but Konami has been making some business decisions for the past few years that signal a change in its company vision. Not only has Konami been dialing back its investment in console gaming, some of its main series have faltered.

Restructuring And The Cost Of Leaving Kojima Behind

The landscape of Japanese gaming has been changing over the past decade. Console games once seemed like the only way to strike gold outside of pachinko machines and arcades. Music/rhythm games, while trying to make a comeback now, all but disappeared after the Rock Band and Guitar Hero bubble. Konami kept putting out Dance Dance Revolution through 2013, but it wasn't the powerhouse it once was. Likewise, iconic Konami franchises like Silent Hill and Castlevania haven't ushered in the acclaim or revenues they once did. Last year's Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 had grim Metacritic scores across all three platforms: 58 (PC), 63 (PS3), and 70 (360). 

Metal Gear and Pro Evolution Soccer are the only big console properties that Konami currently has in rotation. Over the past three years, Konami's digital entertainment division revenue has decreased 30 percent. These shrinking returns pale in comparison to Konami's gambling, health, and pachinko divisions, and signs point to the company restructuring its business to have a lessened investment in the console space. In 2012, Konami had six titles listed for global release on console and handheld. For this year at the same time, it only has Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain listed. Pro Evolution Soccer hasn't been announced yet, so we suspect the number will move up to two once it does. (Editor's note: As expected, Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 has been announced since this feature's original publication.)

Many Japanese publishers, like Square Enix, Capcom, and Sega, have tapped into the mobile gaming market to supplant or buttress its console business, and Konami is hoping to do the same. "I believe that the overall game market will continue to grow, with mobile devices as a driving force," Konami Digital Entertainment president Hideki Hayakawa said in an interview with Nikkei. He envisions key series like Metal Gear joining other mobile properties like Dragon Collection, a 2010 release that still contributes to its earnings.

"At the moment, it very much seems like Konami aims at further increasing mobile-game devel opment to create another hit like that," says Serkan Toto, the CEO of consulting agency Kantan Games. "It's much cheaper and faster to produce multiple high-quality mobile apps and see how the market reacts when compared to triple-A video game development. And if Konami does land a hit someday, they can make up to a billion dollars per year and more on mobile and in Japan alone. This is impossible to do in the [console] market."

Read on for more on Konami's changing profile.