The Konami Saga Kontinues
Another week, another news story painting an increasingly bleak picture of the state of affairs within Konami. For those of you wanting a quick refresher, the latest act in the Konami saga started with company main-stay Hideo Kojima announcing he would be leaving. He assured fans that he'd stay until the end of development of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain at least. But next came the cancellation of Silent Hills.
This was after the release of the widely positively received demo, P.T. The project had big name talent such as the aforementioned Kojima, Guillermo Del Toro and Norman Reedus...and Konami chose to cancel it for whatever reason that still remains a bit murky to this day. And then Konami outright scrubbed all mention of Kojima's name from the box of The Phantom Pain. And don't get me started on the micro-transactions. Anyway, that's the short version/highlight reel.
Today, we have more news. Eurogamer, citing an article entirely in Japanese from financial newspaper Nikkei, first revealed a few foregone conclusions: Kojima's departure has been confirmed and Kojima Productions is now no more (indeed, the latter's website and social media pages have been closed down, with their studio in LA being renamed to 'Konami Los Angeles Studio'). A number of other people have left, including the creator of Love Plus, and development on other titles, such as the Suikoden series, has been stopped as well.
The Nikkei article also reports a definite decline in the treatment of Konami employees. For example, lunch time requires employees to punch in and out via time card and those who don't punch back in soon enough are "outed." Employees "deemed useless" by the company are relocated to Konami's slot machine factory for assembly line work or are made to work as security guards or even ordered to clean up after sports clubs.
As you may have already heard, all of the above has been largely due to a dramatic culture shift within the company. Eurogamer explain that after the success of mobile game Dragon Collection, a stark contrast was drawn between the platform's low cost of development compared to the high profit margins and the high development costs of console titles (Nikkei report that $80 million has already been spent on MGS V alone, as of April this year with it being likely that even more has been spent on the title since then). Because of this state of financial affairs, Konami appears to have begun to distance itself from console game development in favour of pachinko and mobile games.
All of that said, Konami has detailed plans to create more Metal Gear games after The Phantom Pain and that it will be creating further entries in the Pro Evolution Soccer series.