He not only created the Metal Gear Solid franchise, but has continued to steer it to ever greater success, stamping his identity on the bizarre, labyrinthine story of Solid Snake.
So the news that he could be leaving the franchise has been met with a collective gasp - it went "wuuuuhaaaaaaaashoooooom!" - that could be heard throughout the games industry.
Following several weeks of speculation, Konami has now confirmed that - while Kojima will complete the forthcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain - they will be "conducting interviews" to find staff for future instalments. While this doesn't explicitly mean that Kojima is leaving the franchise, or the company, the wording is - to say the least - carefully PR-massaged.
"Thank you for your continued patronage of KONAMI products and services. The latest title in the METAL GEAR series,'METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN', will be released as planned starting on Tuesday, September 1st, 2015 in North America, Latin America, and Europe, followed by Japan and Asia on Wednesday, September 2nd. Hideo Kojima will remain involved throughout.
"Hideo Kojima stated, 'I want to reassure fans that I am 100% involved and will continue working on METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN; I’m determined to make it the greatest game I’ve directed to date. Don’t miss it!'
"In addition, KONAMI will continue to develop and distribute top-quality content in the METAL GEAR series following MGSV: TPP. We greatly anticipate and deeply appreciate your ongoing support for METAL GEAR. As the next step in the series, KONAMI has already resolved to develop new METAL GEAR.
"We will be conducting interviews for main staff to lead the development."
They report that it has led to some previously permanent Konami staff - including Kojima - having their employment status effectively reduced (after thirty years at Konami in Kojima's case) to that of contractor. The nature of the rift between Konami, and the man responsible for arguably its prize asset? We speculate the following: no hot steak following a long day spent drinking rosé wine.
Kojima joined Konami in 1986, and first worked on Penguin Adventure, before being asked to take on the MSX2 project which became the first Metal Gear. Inspired by WW2 prison break movie The Great Escape, Kojima created a relatively simple stealth/action game - which blossomed into the complex and multilayered franchise that has made zillions for Konami.
The multiformat Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is released in September on... pretty much everything.
"I once tried to play a Metal Gear Solid game, and even though I didn't know what was going on, and the story was just weird and confusing and a bit boring, it was still the best game of all time!!!!!!!?!!!!!! And the best story of all time!!!!?" Good luck to Mr Kojima, and to Konami, and to all other people too!!!!!?!!!!"