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Canavero in his least creepy picture

If we assume that Hideo Kojima really is being pushed out of Konami, and his employment status isn't just a big viral marketing move, then the luminary may find his role at the company that little more untenable today. Dr Sergio Canavero, a controversial medical professional vying to complete the world's first ever head transplant, has threatened to sue Konami – after Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain fans spotted his likeness in the forthcoming game.

We've been pondering whether to post about this for several days now, but in truth, the web of theories exceeds our own collective parsing abilities. Here's what we understand: the Italian quack looks borderline identical to the neurosurgeon from the game's first trailer, and while Konami did hire a different actor to play the part, his likeness is uncanny. Kojima's also talked in the past about challenging some kind of taboo with the new game – could this be it?

Considering that Canavero is a globally respected shrink, it seems unlikely – even if his head transplant project is conspicuously called HEAVEN. In an incredible article, however, Kotaku actually got in touch with the medic, in which he seems both put out and secretly pleased by the speculation. One thing that he is adamant about, though, is that he has never been in touch with Konami. Well, that was before this entire story blew up – now he's seeking compensation.

"I went to the Polizia Postale and filed a complaint towards Mr. Kojima," he told the publication. "There is also a Twitter account that is not mine, so I reported this to the police, too – they will now investigate both of the matters. In the meantime, my lawyer is sending a letter to the Japanese company [Konami] to ask for compensation [for using my image without permission]." He even has suspicions that the publisher may have scanned his face during a speech.

That's about as unlikely as the doc being involved in any kind of viral marketing scheme, of course – but one thing's for sure: Kojima is going to find himself in even more hot water than ever before. For Canavero, he can't seem to make up his mind about whether this is a positive thing: "I feel like now I'm at the peak of my popularity thanks to a video game – a video game that I wasn't even involved in to begin with." Oh, Metal Gear.