It might amount to monumental hair-splitting: Metal Gear Solid publisher Konami today denies that game developer Hideo Kojima has left the company.
Instead the company says, according to a Japanese site translated by Kotaku's Brian Ashcraft, that Kojima is on a well-deserved vacation after a protracted stint of development on Metal Gear Solid 5. What they don't say is if Kojima is going to return from this vacation.
"Currently, Kojima is listed as a company employee [at Konami]," according to a translated comment on Tokyo Sports from an unnamed Konami spokesperson. "Currently, Kojima and the development team are finished developing Metal Gear Solid 5 and are taking a long time off from work.
"Because the development time for console games is so long and fatigue builds up, it's common for employees to take extended periods of time off when development is finished."
The denial comes after a report in The New Yorker that Kojima had left the building (and company he worked for, after nearly three decades) for a final time earlier this month.
Simon Parkin reported for The New Yorker that there was even a going away party. But Konami writes it has no idea what that party was about.
Parkin responded with a picture of the mystery party.
Here is a photograph of Kojima's farewell party on October 9th at Konami, which Konami claims no knowledge of: pic.twitter.com/xgRUoYs5qt— Simon Parkin (@SimonParkin) October 20, 2015
It's possible, perhaps even likely, that technically both Parkin and Konami are correct. Kojima has in fact left, but that his official last day won't be until accrued time off runs out (as well as a rumored non-compete.)
We've reached out to Konami to ask if Kojima will be returning to work after this vacation and will update this story when they respond.