Hideo Kojima, the Japanese video game industry veteran behind the cult-classic Metal Gear series, is reportedly discussing a publishing deal with Microsoft for his next game. Back in February, Xbox head Phil Spencer teased Xbox fans by displaying the company mascot of Kojima Productions right behind him during a recent stream, but VentureBeat journalist Jeff Grubb mentioned the potential publishing deal with Xbox in a report published yesterday.
There have been a lot of rumors about Kojima being involved in the development of Abandoned, an upcoming exclusive PlayStation 5 game developed by Blue Box Games. The mysterious company has now denied being a secret Hideo Kojima studio in an official statement, and VentureBeat’s Jeff Grubb has since followed up by revealing that Kojima’s next game, which has yet to be announced, could actually be published by Microsoft.
Kojima’s latest project was the PlayStation 4 exclusive Death Stranding, a game that has since been released on PC but not Xbox consoles. It would be quite surprising to see the Japanese creator strike a publishing deal with Xbox Game Studios for his next game, though Grubb believes that it could be a huge milestone in Microsoft’s efforts to leverage Japanese dev talent.
The biggest piece of evidence I have that Abandoned is not a Kojima joint is that Kojima is in talks with Microsoft about publishing his next game, according to a source familiar with the matter. And yes, that statue on Phil Spencer’s shelf was referencing a potential deal with the legendary developer. I cannot confirm if Xbox closed the deal yet, but my understanding is that Kojima is the focus of a Microsoft plan to leverage Japanese talent.
Phil Spencer on stream, he has a Kojima Productions Ludens figure in the background apparently next to the Xbox logo pic.twitter.com/nept872D7n
— Wario64 (@Wario64) February 23, 2021
During the previous console generation, Microsoft's video game projects involving Japanese video game developers didn't work out so well. Scalebound, an ambitious action-RPG title developed by Platinum Games, was canceled in 2017. ReCore, an action-platform game conceptualized by Capcom veteran Keiji Inafune received mixed reviews back in 2016. However, things appear to be changing fast.
With its recent acquisition of ZeniMax Media, Microsoft became the new owner of Tango Gameworks, the Japanese studio behind The Evil Within series and the upcoming PS5 exclusive Ghostwire Tokyo. The Redmond giant also has good relationships with Japanese video game publishers Sega and Square Enix, which brought many of their games to Xbox Game Pass in recent months.
Having a new Kojima game published by Xbox Game Studios with an Xbox and PC exclusivity would really be a blockbuster announcement for the video games industry. However, after Microsoft spent $7.5 billion to purchase ZeniMax Media/Bethesda a couple of weeks ago, it seems that anything is possible.