Hideo Kojima, the visionary behind the Metal Gear video game franchise, has had a rough year. Despite the newest entry in the Metal Gear series, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, debuting to rave reviews, Kojima has rarely been seen in the spotlight promoting the game or accepting awards for its performance. Yesterday, at Sony’s annual Playstation Awards, a Konami PR representative accepted an award for The Phantom Pain on Kojima’s behalf. Tonight, it happened again at the Game Awards, an online ceremony originally sponsored by Spike TV. The Phantom Pain won the award for best Action/Adventure Game, but the prize was accepted by Kiefer Sutherland, the voice actor behind Snake, the video game’s lead character. Show host Geoff Keighley told the audience that Konami’s lawyers had barred Kojima from attending the Game Awards.
In Keighley’s words:
As you noticed Hideo Kojima is not here with us tonight and I want to tell you a little bit 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.
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.
Below, you can watch the crowd voice their disapproval:
The feud between Konami and Kojima, who has widely been rumored to have left the game publisher, has been brewing since the spring of this year. IGN has a timeline summarizing the drama.