Fans appear to have spotted a hidden Easter egg in spinoff title Metal Gear Survive referencing series creator Hideo Kojima – while throwing shade to publisher Konami. The last few years have been tough for fans of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, following a very public break-up between Hideo Kojima and Konami. There still hasn’t been an official account of what exactly caused this falling out, but rumors suggest the ever-rising cost of producing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Konami’s current focus on mobile gaming caused a deep fracture.
Kojima had always planned for The Phantom Pain to be his final title in the series, but he and his team reportedly spent the last year of development working under constant surveillance by Konami. The publisher also removed Kojima’s directing credit from official Metal Gear Solid V artwork and cancelled Silent Hills, a highly anticipated sequel he was working on with Guillermo del Toro and Norman Reedus. Following Kojima’s departure from the company, Konami set to work on Metal Gear Survive, a spinoff title that finds players fighting zombie-type enemies in an alternative dimension.
Metal Gear Survive has been released to a mixed reception, with common complaints focusing on the tedious amount of grinding players have to perform, and how it lacks the spirit of the series. It also appears people working on the game are still sore about the Kojima situation, with observant fans on Twitter and Reddit spotting a potential Easter egg. During the beginning of Survive’s campaign players must enter their name on a clipboard, which contains other code names. If the last letter of each name is taken, it spells out 'KJP Forever,' which some have interpreted to mean Kojima Productions Forever.
There’s more. The last two names are 'B**tard Yota' and 'Cunning Yuji,' which some fans take as a dig towards Metal Gear Survive’s director Yota Tsutsumizaki and producer Yuji Korekado; both are also listed as AWOL. Finally, the names ‘Iron Marlin’ and ‘Dire Gibbon’ spell out MG, or Metal Gear when combined, and both are listed KIA. It’s possible this is all just a strange coincidence, but it certainly feels like someone involved with the title was trying to send a message.
Needless to say, Kojima himself has nothing to do with Metal Gear Survive, and when asked about it following the game’s announcement, stated he feels zombies don’t belong in the franchise. Survive has been controversial since Konami unveiled it, with some claiming its essentially a mod of The Phantom Pain with zombies thrown in, and the publisher is trying to milk extra profit out of the title. There was also a backlash at the recent reveal that if players want to create a new save slot without deleting their current character, they’ll be charged an additional $10 to do so.
While Metal Gear Survive continues to divide, Kojima has moved on to a new project for the PlayStation 4 dubbed Death Stranding, which reunites him with Norman Reedus and del Toro following Silent Hills. The actual story of the game is still a mystery, though Reedus recently praised it's ‘mind-blowing’ concept.