VGC

Kojima Productions veteran Ken Imaizumi has left to join Tencent

Veteran Metal Gear Solid producer and Kojima Productions founding member Ken-Ichiro Imaizumi has joined Tencent Europe.

Tencent’s European operation is based in Amsterdam and is tasked with identifying investment opportunities in the region, as well as expanding its WeChat messaging service.

As reported by VGC, the Kojima Productions veteran left the company last year, ending a near-20-year association with studio. As corporate director, Imaizumi oversaw all production on Death Stranding.

During the studio’s previous incarnation at Konami, he worked on every Metal Gear Solid title since 2001’s Sons of Liberty. Most recently, he was a producer for Guns of the Patriots, The Phantom Pain and Metal Gear Rising.

The reason for the veteran’s departure remains unclear and he is yet to either publicly acknowledge it or respond to requests for comment.

Ken Imaizumi (left) during a visit by Conan O’Brien in September 2019.

Significantly, Imaizumi – usually a common face at Kojima Productions’ public events and on social media – was absent from Hideo Kojima’s promotional world tour for Death Stranding.

Tencent is Asia’s second-biggest company by market value ($490bn) and has invested in more than 800 companies.

As well as owning League of Legends maker Riot Games, it has a 40% stake in Epic Games and holds shares in Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft and PUBG Corporation parent company Bluehole, among others.

In November 2019 it acquired a 10% stake in Sumo Group, the parent company of Team Sonic Racing studio Sumo Digital, while Bayonetta developer PlatinumGames said this year it had received investment from Tencent which will see it remain independent while allowing it to explore self-publishing.

Hideo Kojima has recently suggested that his next game could be a horror title.