Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima was contractually unable to attend The Game Awards due to his employment contract with publisher Konami.
Host Geoff Keighley acknowledged the legal battle between Kojima and Konami after The Phantom Pain won best Action/Adventure game - an award that had to be accepted by voice actor Kiefer Sutherland.
"As you noticed, Hideo Kojima is not here with us tonight and I wanted to tell you a little bit about that," Keighly lamented. "Mr. Kojima had every intention of being with us tonight, but unfortunately he was informed by a lawyer representing Konami just recently that he would not be allowed to travel to tonight's award ceremony to accept any awards."
The crowd booed.
"He's under an employment contract and it's disappointing and it's inconceivable to me that an artist like Hideo would not be allowed to come here and celebrate with his peers and his fellow teammates," Keighley added. "But that's the situation we're in. Hideo is in Tokyo right now watching the show - and we wanted you to know Hideo that we're thinking of you - and we miss you. We hope to see you at The Game Awards 2016."
It's worth noting that Keighley has collaborated with Kojima before on panels - he interviewed the eccentric director about The Phantom Pain before it was announced as a Metal Gear Solid game (back when Kojima pretended to be a different person with a proxy whose face was covered in bandages). As such, there is a slight chance that this is all part of a gag - like that year Joaquin Phoenix went crazy and it turned out to be for a film - but given the public spat between Kojima and Konami, it seems likely that Keighley's excuse for Kojima is on the level.