Yesterday a new kickstarter began to support Koji Igarashi's Castlevania like 2D adventure because he is not allowed to make anymore Castlevania games. Yesterday Konami is attempting to remove a YouTube video of supposed sources from within Kojima Productions detailing the nightmare they are in. This is where we are at right now with Konami, their past is being erased, their present is being tortured and their future is in gambling, not gaming. Konami seems to be exiting the gaming world in the most horrific way possible, robbing us of our childhood games and firing some of the most talented game developers in Japan. What once was a pillar of the entire game industry is crashing down and it saddens me so much.

I understand that Konami has been a mere shadow of their former selves for years now. But Konami's place in gaming is unquestionable, at one point they were a key pillar of the entire industry. Their franchises are legendary. During the 8-bit era they were one of the big three, Nintendo, Capcom and Konami. They helped shape the video game landscape for generations to come, they helped turn a bunch of 80s kids into life long gamers. Games like Contra, life force, Castlevania, Gradius, Metal Gear, and their incredibly popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games. They were legends at the arcade as well creating some of the most loved beat em ups. Their games were so popular that the Konami code became part of pop culture. As the years went on they added new hits like Silent Hill and Dance Dance Revolution. Metal Gear Solid became a monumental event, an absolute masterpiece for all time. Castlevania had a similar all time classic hit with Symphony of the Night. For a while it could be argued that Konami was making the best games.

Over the last few years Konami has become mostly a joke but they still had Kojima, they still had Metal Gear and as long as they had that they would always matter. Over the last few years they practically gave Kojima the keys to all their major franchises, Koji Pro made a new game engine to support their expanded development. Then the rug was pulled out from under them, Kojima Productions was no more, Kojima himself offered his last rites, he would work as a contractor until work on MGSV is finished then he would be let go. Silent Hills has been canceled and rumors are flying around that Konami is done with the video game business.

The silence from Konami is deafening. I guess it must be a cultural difference but so far none of the Japanese media had been able to get any definitive word on what is happening at Konami. During the Sony exodus our game journalists were all over the story, we got info from Twitter, blogs, Facebook, we got some details rather quick. Konami has shut down all outside communication and not a word from Kojima. Well they better come up with something quick as E3 is a month away, good luck trying to no comment your way through that. How awkward is that going to be, if they even let Kojima be there, him being on stage for a game he got fired over. Have we ever seen anything like this?

Well today we may have gotten the first bit of info from within Kojima Productions. An email from an anonymous source inside Konami to  revealed this.

Some of this may be exaggerated but after the below video was posted Konami attempted to have it taken down which could mean it's true.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMK-kajdgMA&feature=iv&src_vid=YNSVhbsJyDQ&annotation_id=annotation_764621231

Either way conditions at Kojima Productions have to be horrible right now, basically they all know they are either fired or going to be moved. And if Konami is actively making it a living hell to work how will that impact the development of MGSV. Morale has to be at an all time low, let's hope Kojima can rally the troops and finish the game as he envisioned. Few things we know, there is zero chance of any delay, I bet Konami doesn't give a shit if the game is not ready, they want it out. Also there will be an online mode, but for how long. How long does Konami support a game they are releasing only because it is already done. Kojima always makes a behind the scenes documentary, what's that going to be like? It must be hell inside those offices and if it impacts MGSV in any negative way it will be the icing on top of the shit cake Konami is giving us.

The most sickening aspect of all this is why Konami is restructuring, apparently they want to focus on gambling machines where they can make more money and lower costs.. Say Konami wants to get out of gaming, wouldn't it make sense to sell of their properties, nope because Konami is using them for the pachinko machines. We have had some major companies fall before, Lucasarts may have been one of the largest but their games live on, Star Wars games are still being made. This is unprecedented, we can have a company basically hold their video game properties hostage. How ridiculous is this,  these are legendary franchises, I feel like simply out of respect for history they should be obligated to allow these franchises to live on. But what have we seen from them that shows they give a crap, they seem to purposefully going out of their way to piss off every fan they ever had. Just folding up is not enough, they have to flip a giant middle finger to us on the way out.

What is so depressing to me is that Konami is but one example of the fall of Japanese gaming. Mostly all the best Japanese game developers have left the major publisher where they became famous. Some formed Platinum Games, some ran to kickstarter, and almost all are making some kind of game that is similar to but can't be the franchises they helped create. Capcom, Sega, Namco, Square, all seem completely lost in this new market. Most companies are doubling down on a few big franchises and trying mobile games. Square posted a profit due to MMOs and Mobile game, not one retail console game was mentioned in their report, why should it, they don't make much money. I almost feel like FFXV is being made simply because they feel obligated to make money from it after the long development cycle. These are the companies that turned me into a gamer, these are the ones that make the games I love most and they are lost, they are bleeding talent and do not know what to do with their properties. There is nothing we can do, I just sit here watching helplessly as they make mistake after mistake. Or worse they are making moves that make them more money and the games we like are not part of that equation.

At least those companies are still trying to make retail console games, Konami seems done with that. Perhaps they make a few soccer games and turn Metal Gear into a assembly line yearly game, still very depressing. They had one of the few Japanese developers that seemed to understand the western market and they are shutting them down. They had a visionary, a legend, a man that while he was in charge we knew we would be getting quality games, and they are letting him go, not with celebration but thrown out like trash.

Again I ask what can we do? Boycotting MGSV is a horrible idea as that just adds to the reasoning for Konami to shut down their game divisions. We can't do anything to their profits, they are making money off of gambling machines in Japan. I can only sit here and watch as some of my favorite franchises vanish. We are getting the last Kojima Metal Gear, think about that. Yes he was probably going to move on soon anyway but the series still had a home with his people. Kojima Productions developed an entire engine for a new generation of games they would create. They were going to save Silent Hill. They had ambition to make the games we wanted to see and their reward is "you're fired". In September Metal Gear is over, that hasn't even processed for me, this is one of my top favorite franchises of all time. It's one of those games that makes me love to follow this industry. It's one of the few that still gives me that nervous tingle out of anticipation. And it's going to be over... Just like that.

Konami represents everything wrong with the state of gaming in Japan right now, the fear is they are just the first to abandon the retail market. The few developers that still have the passion to make great games have been pushed out of all power positions, some left to literally beg for money like an online homeless developer. What can we do? What can I do? Nothing, I guess I will am watch it all happen while shedding bloody tears.

Posted by Dvader Wed, 13 May 2015 02:11:14 (comments: 18)
next >>
 
Wed, 13 May 2015 02:57:11

"Konami represents everything wrong with the state of gaming in Japan right now, the fear is they are just the first to abandon the retail market."

Wrong just because you don't like mobile games, pachinko and furniture? Because, apart from being dicks to Kojima, I don't see what's so horrifying about being smart business people. Smart business people are almost always dicks. If Japan doesn't want console and retail games, why should Konami make less money just to appease Kojima and (apparently dwindling) videogamers?

P.S.

MGS and PES. Sad Sad Sad

 
Wed, 13 May 2015 03:32:55

I don't think Konami has made a single game after the 16-Bit generation that I've enjoyed. *shrugs*

 
Wed, 13 May 2015 03:54:55

Wow!  Out of the two biggest publishers during the 8-bit days ( besides Nintendo), Konami was my favorite.  Part of me wants Kojima to start another game company called " Ultra."

 
Wed, 13 May 2015 03:56:26

How major is the shift from consoles to mobile in Japan.  Have console sales dwindled that much?

 
Wed, 13 May 2015 03:59:20
 
Wed, 13 May 2015 04:43:51
Foolz said:

"Konami represents everything wrong with the state of gaming in Japan right now, the fear is they are just the first to abandon the retail market."

Wrong just because you don't like mobile games, pachinko and furniture? Because, apart from being dicks to Kojima, I don't see what's so horrifying about being smart business people. Smart business people are almost always dicks. If Japan doesn't want console and retail games, why should Konami make less money just to appease Kojima and (apparently dwindling) videogamers?

P.S.

MGS and PES. SadSadSad

I think the end of console gaming in Japan falls under everything that is wrong with the state of gaming in Japan. Yes they want to make money, it stinks that this is the best way for them to do so. But if they really want out sell the damn IPs.

 
Wed, 13 May 2015 05:04:45
Dvader said:

I think the end of console gaming in Japan falls under everything that is wrong with the state of gaming in Japan. Yes they want to make money, it stinks that this is the best way for them to do so. But if they really want out sell the damn IPs.

I agree it sucks, I just think the moral tone of the thing was a bit melodramatic. And they can't sell the IPs because they use them for branding their pachinko machines.

 
Wed, 13 May 2015 05:32:56
Foolz said:

I agree it sucks, I just think the moral tone of the thing was a bit melodramatic. And they can't sell the IPs because they use them for branding their pachinko machines.

Exactly, that is so shitty. Those franchise we grew up with is now going to be used just for gambling machines, that's horrific.

 
Wed, 13 May 2015 08:03:02

Not having read everything, I think I could live in a world where all the old, big 3rd party gaming companies leave the industry, only to be replaced by the maturing indie scene.  All these big companies have become too risk averse, too caught up in buraucracy.  It's them who created the whole AAA model.  It's them who killed off the mid-tier game.  Atari disappeared, Sega disappeared and in the end no one really cared.  And what is indie now could be mid-tier in 5 or so years, and big developers creating experiences that match those we see today in a decade.  Let the old men go to sleep so we can replace them with the young spirited ones, who are still making games because they care about the medium.

 
Wed, 13 May 2015 12:01:37
Nice blog, good read. It's a shame, to me Konami has been nothing but MGS and PES for the past few years with an occasional CV thrown into the mix.

I feel like they were just about holding on as a niche software company with a couple of standout products.

After MGSV, who knows?
next >>
Log in or Register for free to comment
Recently Spotted:
travo (2m)
Login @ The VG Press
Username:
Password:
Remember me?