Update: Blue Box Game Studios has released a statement insisting its not Hideo Kojima in disguise, after conspiracy theories abounded following the announcement of the PS5 survival game.
Original Story: We all felt, here at Push Square Towers, that something seemed fishy with the announcement of PlayStation 5 exclusive Abandoned – and clearly we’re not the only ones. The web is currently awash with conspiracy theories, as the seemingly innocent survival game attracts enormous attention. But is there more than meets the eye here, or is it genuinely the work of an unknown Dutch indie team?
For those who missed the news earlier, Abandoned was announced as a “cinematic survival sim” on the PlayStation Blog. It was a billed as a PS5 exclusive, prompting promotion on all of Sony’s social channels. It’s not unusual for the platform holder to spotlight upcoming software like this, but something felt off with the announcement that we couldn’t quite put our finger on.
For starters, there’s virtually no information on Dutch developer Blue Box Game Studios anywhere on the web. The studio’s entire history, from what we’ve been able to figure out, includes a failed Kickstarter and a smartphone app. It did have a website a few years ago, but this was filled with placeholder graphics, and can only be accessed through Archive.org. It’s under development right now.
Meanwhile, its social media accounts have been abandoned for five years now, and there’s no mention of this project at all. There’s something fishy about a studio announcing a massive project that’s due out this year, but not even acknowledging the game’s existence anywhere online at all.
Furthermore, game director Hasan Kahraman has practically no presence on the Internet. We did find a LinkedIn profile registered by someone who works at BBGS – which we assume is an acronym for Blue Box Game Studios – but the page includes no other information; there’s no education background and no work history at all. So it is, admittedly, bizarre.
Of course, this is where the conspiracy theories come in. Many have likened the scenario to Moby Dick Studios, which was a Hideo Kojima ruse used to announce Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain; the auteur employed a similar trick with the now infamous PT demo, which was presented during a Sony press conference as a random indie horror game – before leading to the reveal of Silent Hills, of course.
Is this the work of Kojima, then? Well, we’re honestly not sure. The Death Stranding developer has hinted that it’s priming an announcement soon, but the Abandoned trailer seems too amateur to be the work of the ex-Metal Gear man. We can definitely see how people are making the connection, because this is straight from the veteran’s playbook, but we’re yet to be convinced.
Furthermore, while we were researching this article, outspoken Venture Beat journalist Jeff Grubb has gone on record with a report that says Kojima can’t be involved – because he’s in talks with Microsoft to release a title on Xbox platforms. Grubb – who’s fairly reliable – goes on to admit that he’s “uncertain” whether the Redmond firm has closed the deal, but points to a figurine spotted on boss Phil Spencer’s shelf as a potential hint. We’re not making a word of this up!
To be honest, we’ve prevailed over thousands upon thousands of game announcements on the PlayStation Blog, and there is definitely something strange about Abandoned. We imagine more sleuthing will unfold over the coming days – and it’ll be amusing if it turns out there really is a small Dutch team behind the project, wondering what the hell is going on.
As for the future of Kojima, well that’s going to be a whole other drama it seems…