Has he left Konami? Has he gone on on holiday? If so, where is he going on holiday, what colour are his swimming trunks, and has he taken enough mosquito repellent with him? Has Konami buried him in concrete and thrown him into the sea?
I don't get it. I mean, the guy is clearly incredibly talented, and he has created some unquestionably singular games, but the cult of personality surrounding him has always baffled me. Why him, and not anyone else? There are plenty of other great developers out there, whose names remain unknown.
What's the curiosity about Kojima, and where did it come from? Maybe we should ask the late Steve Jobs...
I watched a documentary the other night about Steve Jobs - The Man In The Machine - which paints a highly unflattering portrait of the former Apple boss. According to the story told by director Alex Gibney, Jobs was driven, controlling, tax dodging, deceitful, possibly criminal, willing to stab friends in the back, and denied he'd spawned his first daughter so that he could dodge the responsibility of fatherhood.
The movie was clearly slanted against him from the outset - nobody is all bad (even Hitler loved his coffee table) - but the reality is that none of us can know Steve Jobs. Even those close to him. I mean, how many of us even know ourselves?
Any documentary - or biographical movie - can only offer the broadest of strokes, edited together for maximum dramatic effect. None of us know the real Steve Jobs, any more than we know who Hideo Kojima is. Or the real Colonel Sanders. Or... I dunno... Mickey Mouse.
And still, upon Jobs' death in 2011, there was a global outpouring of grief. Flowers were laid outside Apple Stores. The man was reduced to inspirational poster quotes. People cried.
Kojima, like Jobs, is deified, worshipped, a cult figure who only has to change his hairstyle to generate headlines. I dare say that were he to drop dead tomorrow, there'd be similar levels of mourning from people who've never met the man.
Watching The Man in the Machine, it struck me that Jobs' real genius was marketing. Oh, he was great at spotting gaps in the marketplace, and better still at connecting people with their technology.
But Jobs was best at selling himself. The calculated black polo neck, jeans and white sneakers, the mythmaking about his Buddhist beliefs, the motivational sound bytes... that now iconic black and white image of Jobs touching his chin (eerily similar to the one of Kojima at the top of this piece)... all of it was calculated to make him appear guru-like, someone who could make our lives better.
Likewise the 'Think Different' Apple commercial, which placed the brand (and, by association, Jobs himself) alongside Gandhi, Einstein, Lennon...
Steve Jobs - the Steve Jobs that the public knew - was as much a corporate mascot as Ronald McDonald or Tony the Tiger. And that's fine. Sort of. Talent only gets you so far. Opportunity, luck, being in the right place at the right time - and making your own versions of those - is half the struggle, if not more.
Yet, I find it hard to feel comfortable with the way he's been venerated, when the guy treated his daughter terribly, bent the law, threatened journalists, cancelled all of Apple's charitable projects, and allegedly exploited Chinese workers so badly that many of them killed themselves. Worshiping him to any degree, worshiping Apple and its products, is to fall into a trap designed to squeeze even more money out of us plebs. It's letting them brainwash us.
According to his critics, Jobs merely wanted power, wanted money and success. He wasn't Gandhi or Einstein. Yet now - through the marketing he excelled at in his life in order to sell his company's products and maximise profits - he's now exalted like them.
Kojima is different in that the company he has worked for seemingly doesn't want him to work for them any more. He doesn't appear quite as possessed of the same megalomania and god-complex that Jobs seemed gripped by. Yet Kojima's personal brand has been just as carefully cultivated. "A Hideo Kojima Game" is nothing but a marketing slogan for one man's personal brand.
It's why his name is known, when others who worked on his games remain anonymous.
The point at which I started to feel uncomfortable with Kojima's hero worship and celebrity was the way his fans rushed to criticise Konami.
That Kojima was somehow the victim in the situation, forgetting that there are always two sides to every story. Far be it for me to defend a large company against an individual.
But I am suggesting that... we don't know what happened between Kojima and Konami. Any more than we know exactly what was going through Steve Jobs head when he picked out his first polo neck sweater, or pretended he was sterile to avoid paying child maintenance. For all we know, Kojima could've walked into work one day and done a big poo in the canteen, in full view of everyone.
I dunno. As with anything any of us think, this says as much about me as it does about the reality. It just irritates me when I don't think people have earned the right to be venerated. I don't like that we live in a society where we are sold what to believe in. I hate that we - as a nation - must suck up to China's leader to get a new nuclear power station built. No human being deserves a state banquet in their honour any more than any other human being. Least of all one with a human rights record like Xi Jinping.
We live in a world that places more importance on achievements and the powerful than on who we all are. Kids are praised for their spirit, their being, their self - they're told they're good only if they do well at school, or can play the clarinet, or run faster than other kids.
Kojima's Metal Gear games are great, and millions love them, but they aren't the work of one man - any more than the iPhone was entirely the work of Steve Jobs. Yet both were content to portray themselves as singular visionaries. That, more than anything, makes me want to turn my back on Kojima, and question what exactly it is about him that makes him worthy of such interest and adulation.