Hideo Kojima fans really want a new video game from the auteur.
Speculation around the visionary director’s next title has been heating up since the release of Death Stranding in November 2019. In late 2020, rumors began circulating that Kojima Productions was developing Silent Hills for PlayStation 5. That news well quickly dried up, leaving fans searching for clues.
That hunt has led to a new round of rumors that span across the aisle between PlayStation and Xbox. While one of the new theories has already been debunked, another has some serious credibility behind it. What’s really going on here — and what’s next for Hideo Kojima?
The latest round of rumors began when Sony released a blog post detailing a new exclusive game called Abandoned. The open-world game is a first-person survival shooter developed by Blue Box Game Studios, and a trailer released as part of the post provides a taste of the environment and creepy story. The game is scheduled to launch in Q4 2021 for PlayStation 5.
So … what does that have to do with Hideo Kojima?
Fans immediately began speculating that the survival game was secretly Kojima Productions’ latest project. The biggest thing that tipped hopeful fans off was the game’s similarities to PT, Kojima’s infamous horror project that was canceled before he split off to form his own studio. Fans also noted that Blue Box is an unknown development studio that appeared to form out of nowhere. The prevailing theory was that this was some form of marketing tactic for the generally enigmatic Kojima.
There were two fast rumor killers here. IGN reached out to the game’s developers who confirmed that they are not affiliated with Kojima Productions. Blue Box director expressed disappointment that the title sparked a left-field theory.
"It did bother me a bit as we as a team are so excited to tease a bit of our game and then this conspiracy comes," Kahraman tells IGN. "All I wanted to do is to tease our game.” Blue Box also issued their own statement: “We have no association with Hideo Kojima nor do we claim to have any association nor was it our intention to claim such a statement,” a portion of it reads.
The second rumor-killer is far more tantalizing: Kojima couldn’t be making a PS5 game, because he’s in talks with Microsoft at the moment.
That information comes from VentureBeat reporter Jeff Grubb, who reportedly spoke to sources close to the potential deal. According to Grubb, Microsoft is currently planning to gain more Japanese development talent. That point has been rumored for a while now, with fans speculating that Microsoft could acquire Sega or Square Enix.
While there’s no direct evidence to support this, there’s one detail that’s literally out in the open. Back in February, Microsoft fans spotted a Kojima Productions statue on a bookshelf behind Xbox chief Phil Spencer in a livestream. At the time, fans speculated that it could be a tease for a partnership. Grubb says that’s exactly the case in his latest report.
Inverse reached out to Jeff Grubb for clarification on the report and this story will be updated when we receive a response.
The detail isn’t as far out as it sounds. Spencer has a history of teasing announcements in this exact fashion during broadcasts. Spencer hid an Xbox Series S on his bookshelf during a broadcast months before the console was announced. He did the same thing last October with the Xbox Wireless Headset. That trend lends the report some extra credibility.
There’s a counterpoint to the evidence as well. While Spencer did have a Kojima reference on his bookshelf, it wasn’t the only video game reference in the shot. There’s a Nintendo Switch sitting prominently in the frame, as well as some collector’s edition games. It may just be that Spencer is something of a collector, like any other gamer.
With no official word from Microsoft about a planner partnership, there are only two details we know for sure: Abandoned is not a Kojima Productions game, and Phil Spencer likes Hideo Kojima.