Metal Gear Solid: The Board Game loses its publisher and the rights to the franchise

Metal Gear Solid: The Board Game has lost its publisher, and with it the rights to the Konami video game franchise on which it was based. According to a forum post by designer Emerson Matsuuchi, IDW Games is no longer moving forward with the project. They claim that the decision was made in December.

It’s unclear what that means for the several thousand people who appear to have pre-ordered the game, which was to cost $125 at retail. Polygon has reached out to IDW and Konami for more information.

Announced in December 2018, Metal Gear Solid: The Board Game was well into development, with prototypes — including miniatures — shown on multiple occasions throughout 2019. The project encountered multiple delays, but it’s unclear precisely why its publisher backed out. A version of the game was expected for both Tabletop Simulator and the Tabletopia platform in March.

“I have been pursuing a myriad of options to keep the project going,” Matsuuchi wrote on the Board Game Geek forums on Monday. “I have offered to put in capital from my company to help fund the last leg of the project, and even to buy out IDW’s interest in the project along with purchasing all of the assets. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any traction with those options.”

A prototype Metal Gear miniature shown in a post from IDW in 2020.
Image: IDW Games

Matsuuchi wrote that the rights to the design itself reverted back to him in early February, but not the license from Konami.

“I have reached out and enlisted the help of a friend that is a bonafide [sic] expert in licensing and has connections with Konami,” Matsuuchi wrote. “There are no guarantees that our efforts will bear fruit, I’m still optimistic that we will be able to get the MGS game to market, to the patient fans that have been kept waiting.”

Last year Polygon named Metal Gear Solid: The Board Game among its most anticipated new titles of the summer. That’s before it was delayed a full year into the summer of 2021. The game had been available for pre-order through both Amazon and Backerkit, the later of which indicates that more than 2,000 people committed more than $109 each for a copy of the final game.

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