It’s no secret that there was some bad blood between Konami and Death Stranding developer Hideo Kojima when Kojima parted ways with the company in 2015. Konami canceled his Silent Hills game, temporarily removed his name from the Metal Gear Solid series he created, and even barred him from attending award shows. With all this focus on the Kojima and Konami split, the company’s possible mistreatment of other employees has slipped under the radar. While we can’t say for certain, it appears as though Konami’s former president of its European and American divisions, Shinji Hirano, had a similar falling out with the company, as he is now employed by Kojima Productions.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Shinji Hirano has been employed by Kojima Productions since November 2016. While he was once high on the totem pole at Konami, his work history shows that he went through a series of demotions, eventually ending up with the generic title of “Corporate Officer.” Hirano left Konami in March of 2016, only a few months after Kojima announced the new Kojima Productions and the development of Death Stranding.
Hirano jumping ship should come as no surprise. Not only was he demoted numerous times by Konami, but Konami seems to be moving away from game development entirely. Instead of producing blockbuster releases that it built its reputation on, Konami seems more interested in creating pachinko machines and spin-offs of its popular franchises. So far, its efforts haven’t been well-received by fans, with a healthy amount of hate aimed at the reveal of Metal Gear Survive, a zombie-infused spinoff of Metal Gear Solid V.
Since Hirano was with Konami when it was focused on game development, it seems like he wouldn’t be quite as essential to the company now that it seems to be transitioning away from the industry. However, Kojima Productions is dedicated to the triple-A game development, and so Hirano seems like he would be a better fit there than he was at Konami the past couple of years.
Hirano hasn’t been in charge at Kojima Productions for long, but he is joining the studio at a key point in its life. Development on Death Stranding is expected to ramp up significantly in 2017, and Hirano’s guidance should help the team stay on task, meet its deadlines, and deliver the game in a timely manner.
Death Stranding is in development for PS4.