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Kojima-Konami affair – Is this how it should have been treated?

OPINION – We have seen several news pieces in this year that involved either Hideo Kojima and Konami. Although it’s understandable that you need something new after some time – Hideo has been working at Konami for a quarter century at least -, but the way the Japanese company reacted to certain things and events regarding the creator of Policenauts, Snatcher and Metal Gear games, was simply pathetic.

 

The whole thing started in the spring months when Konami announced its internal restructuring. The issues started here – in the public, at least – between Hideo Kojima and Konami, although Kojima’s team (Kojima Productions) were still working on Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Metal Gear Online.

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You’re not needed

The first dumped project was Silent Hills. Konami hyped this up earlier in 2014’s summer when they made a Playable Teaser (P.T.) available for free on the PlayStation 4. P.T. caught the attention of Silent Hill fans, as the teaser was really good. Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro were already making some decent progress behind the scenes, and this probably also involved Norman Reedus, whom you might know from The Walking Dead. Then, Konami decided to pull the plug on this project entirely.

This deletion resulted in two things: one; del Toro announced that he will never work on video games (after Insane getting cancelled in 2012 as THQ was going down, it’s not a surprise), and two, this already acted as a taste of what’s to come by Konami. Their reputation started to crack.

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You’re not needed either

The pathetic „unKojimaification” continued during the promotion of Big Boss’ game: Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain‘s pre-release trailers started not to include the full logo of Kojima Productions – you might remember one of these trailers. It had the logo, but without any text… however, at the end of a different gameplay demo video, Snake put a proper Kojima Productions badge on himself. So the fight was going back and forth here, although there were ominous signs about Kojima’s departure in 2014’s Ground Zeroes as well. But that’s not all!

Konami decided to get rid of Kojima‘s name on Metal Gear Solid games – you can see how his name is gone from the Legacy Collection’s box art: it lacks that distinct, classic A Hideo Kojima Game line. The Phantom Pain‘s box art also suffered from this removal. In my opinion, this is a totally unfair and pathetic move. Sure, the game’s development was expensive, but we’re talking about a franchise that has (had?) a big, fixed fanbase to rely on.

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You are expensive

To have an example, an ISP has to pay out of its pockets to pull the optical cable to an apartment block and then cable the house all around. However, as there are many more potential subscribers in this region, they don’t have to do much work as extra, they can provide the internet for more people in a smaller region, which can quickly turn the situation towards profit for the ISP.

Same thing with games: development costs quite a lot for AAA titles. MGSVTPP also had the FOX Engine to use (which pretty much provided a prime example that the PS4 can run games on 1080p and at 60 fps, setting a high bar for other devs), and that also needed money to be created. Making a huge, open world game is another factor, not to mention Kiefer Sutherland, the other voice actors, the soundtrack and any other cost that we didn’t mention.

Also, the marketing: pre-release marketing can cost several million dollars. However, this game wasn’t released as a PS3-exclusive like MGS4 was seven years ago. Instead, it was a multiplatform development: PS4, PS3, X1, X360, PC…

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You will not be needed

So Konami thought the development cost too much. That doesn’t explain the cancellation of Silent Hills (when did this franchise exactly got a decent episode last time?), but it shows how the company is slowly moving away from AAA games and focus on mobile and pachinko games. I think I wrote something about this earlier…

The story is still not over. Kojima‘s game is out, it’s good, but it’s not perfect. It feels tiresome by the end, and it was confirmed to have content cut out of it. It lacks a few missions, including a certain 51st and last one. It got cut because of the confrontation between the producer and the employer.

Also, don’t forget what stupid shit did Konami say recently. Kojima had a farewell party. Pictures were taken and posted online. Konami states it didn’t happen, and Hideo just has his holiday at the moment. (Gardening leave maybe. You get paid to not work, but until your contract runs out, you can’t apply for another job.) Damage control, and a terrible try at that, dear Konami.

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You don’t get a prize

Konami still had munition for December, which is extremely ridiculous. The Phantom Pain (which had its online segment finished up in Japan) won a prize on The Game Awards.

However, Konami banned Hideo Kojima from participating – because of it, Kiefer Sutherland took the award in the name of Kojima. Meanwhile, the Konami Los Angeles studio – the formerly known as Kojima Production Los Angeles – got closed at the end of November. In the middle of Christmas rush, Konami fired people. What humanity!

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Pathetic

This departure should have been done differently. First, Kojima shouldn’t have been ignored like this. It could have been announced like this: Kojima wants to go somewhere else, and he’d be fully supported with everything until his departure. Konami‘s way of unceremoniously dumping him was the complete opposite. It’s inhumane. Okay, I understand that this is a faceless, Japanese company with a different work ethic and culture, but this could and should have been treated in a different manner.

For example, no lies. Or not removing Kojima‘s name from the box. (I’m not talking about finishing MGSVTPP because it might have needed a year to finish everything fully… so yeah.) With these moves, Konami only managed to show that only the money is important for the executives and the fans of the franchise were completely driven away with these steps. Konami now has PES, and despite releasing free-to-play versions of this game, it’s becoming a casual game due to microtransactions. Hudson – who was bought out several years ago – is rolling in its grave: none of their franchises are used. What’s the point? There’s no Bomberman. There’s no Bloody Roar.

If even the former boss of Square Enix Yoichi Wada sides with Kojima – calling Konami cruel in the process – that means Konami is just making an ass out of themselves.

-V-

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