How did it get this far with Konami and Kojima?

Every once in a while comes that huge story in the gaming industry that really makes you go ‘What?’. One of the stories has been going on since March of this year, I am of course talking about the creator of Metal Gear, Hideo Kojima’s falling out with Konami. Whether or not you’re a fan of Kojima’s games you have probably read what’s going on between the two. There is a reconstruction happening at Konami at a corporate level, that won't just affect Kojima but also hundreds of employees that work for Konami. Whatever happened resulted in Kojima’s name being removed from the Metal Gear Solid website and getting demoted to a contractor for Metal Solid V: The Phantom Pain along with senior key developers.

There never has been an official statement from Konami but Snake’s Japanese voice actor confirmed that Kojima Productions has been disbanded. It’s very sad to hear that since that team have been developing Metal Gear game for 10 years exactly. There has been a lot of negativity with Konami as a game publisher in the media, hearing there is a communication block in place for Kojima and anyone connected with him at the company doesn't make it sound any better. This communication block is not stopping this already interesting story, right now Konami is stalling time and when that time runs out so will their credibility as a game publisher. Kojima also will not show up at public events because of this series of unfortunate vents. You would almost think that the CEO of Konami hates Kojima.

I think when everyone heard the initial news about Konami and Kojima people couldn’t help but be reminded when THQ went under; I can’t blame them for that because that’s exactly what my first reaction was. The more I let the news seek in the more my opinion changed on the comparison. THQ was mid-tier publisher that released good games but they made a bad call on a certain accessory that resulted in them filing for bankruptcy years later. Konami though is a game publisher that really hasn’t gotten a lot of positive attention in the last five years or so; the recent news of Konami means their credibility isn’t getting any better. This is a company that delisted itself from the NYSE and is getting out of the console business, now there putting extreme emphasis on mobile gaming as a new revenue opportunity. Konami's many bad calls over the years have finally caught up with them on a financial level, they are sounding desperate to get rid of anyone if it means there profitable for there next fiscal year.

The games that Konami has released in the last 5 years or so were either HD ports or a new game for an old IP that wasn’t that well received critically. I am excluding Metal Gear and PES though, those two IP and Dance Dance Revolution are the only reason why Konami has been around as a game publisher honestly. Even though the comparison is not exactly the same, the story is still the same; we have another game publisher leaving us. Konami as a company will still live on because it’s a very popular brand in Japan. Video games is just one division of the company that is getting cut back.

Personally speaking about my problems with Konami, when they announced Zone of the Enders HD Collection for PSVita I’m not going to lie I was very excited. Then more news was announced of a possible Zone of the Enders 3 with Kojima attached, well I don’t really need to describe my excitement level; it was very high is the only thing I'll say. When it came to PS3 the question of the Vita version came up, Konami never commented on that version.  I assume they just quietly cancelled the port without saying anything, it's probably the same for the Zone of Enders 3 as well. Now that was many years ago the hope for Zone of the Enders HD and the sequel has died just like my love for Konami; I could imagine people were feeling the same way with how Konami was treating there other IP at that moment in time.

Speaking of hope for a long awaited sequel in a beloved franchise; the news of Kojima’s employment at Konami made people wonder what was going to happen to Silent Hills. With the stealthy announcement of Silent Hills in the form of P.T. at Gamescom 2014 with Hideo Kojima, Guillermo Del Toro and Norman Reedus being attached to the game; there was a lot going on with this game. It was a game that had a lot of potential of being great. It’s very sad to know fans and potential new fans of the series didn't get the game they wanted. They cannot even download the demo again since Konami removed it from the PlayStation Network in late April of this year. Unless you kept it on your PS4 like myself that’s the only way to enjoy Silent Hills.

When this news broke Konami was quick to confirm Kojima’s involvement with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which they needed to do because his name was already attached and taking his name away would decrease the potential units sold. The Metal Gear Solid games have always been expensive games to make that came with profit for the company. Over the years the amount of copies have decreased with every main Metal Gear Solid title. With how much Konami and Kojima are in the public eye right now, I can't help but imagine Metal Gear Solid V being the best selling Metal Gear title of all time. It would be great for that to happen seeing that this game is Kojima's swan song with Konami.

I think there has been enough negative talk about Konami I think it’s about time we talk about the positives of Kojima leaving. What you actually thought I was going to talk positively about Konami, you’re funny for thinking that. Honestly Kojima leaving can be compared to two other Japanese figures in gaming leaving the company they have spent many years with. I am of course talking about the creator of Megaman, Keiji Inafune who left Capcom almost 5 years ago and the creator of Castlevania, Koji Igarashi who left Konami more than a year ago. I honestly believe Kojima will be going in the same direction as these two creators have gone. I’m not saying there will a spiritual successor of Metal Gear with Kojima attach as a project on Kickstarter in 2016. Kojima as a creator fits more in the AAA gaming with a hundred million budget with a hundred person team.  I actually could see a bidding war on Kojima by different publishers. No offense to Inafune and Iga but his type of games has more cache and commercial success with the gaming audience then the 2D platformers of those 2 creators.

I imagine that this fall out with Konami and Kojima is a financial issue, Metal Gear Solid V and Kojima is an investment that is costing the company too much probably. I mean what does it say when they make the prologue of the game standalone to buy for $30-40 in 2014. They made this standalone probably because they needed more money and Konami wasn’t going to add any more to the budget. To get more funding selling the prologue made the most sense. I could be totally wrong though; maybe Konami was just getting greedy and wanted some return on the game that's been taking years to develop with a $100 million or more budget I'm guessing. Who knows really it's all speculation. I realize at the end of the day that Konami is a business, but you need to have respect for the product you’re putting out there for the fans.

There has been a lot of speculation that Kojima possibly knew that he would be fired from Konami.Watching the dejavu mission from Metal Gear Solid V; Ground Zeroes now seems like he was warning us that this might happen but we didn't pick up on it at the time. The message was that when he leaves so will those games he was apart of, but the memories of those games would stay inside each of us. Could that mean Konami might remove all the metal gear games from the online stores, we'll have to wait and see I guess. Also there was also a hidden message of a guy talking about his 'Dad' in a very negative manner which now sounds like the message was referring to Konami's CEO. After that he continues but he said something very interesting to me 'I will be coming back and I'm bring my new toys with me". I guess it's safe to say that's Kojima's way of saying "Don't worry guys I'll be back", if these hidden messages are in fact true Kojima has something planned after Konami.

If you haven’t realized it yet I don’t like Konami that much for many reasons I’ve already listed. Hearing Kojima leaving after this game is released makes me happy because he is too good for Konami and deserves better. He has been saying for years that on certain Metal Gear Solid titles that "This is my last Metal Gear" to a point where it has become a joke. Well the joke is over this is really is his last Metal Gear game; I hope it's his greatest creation yet. I wish him all the success for the game and his future endeavors. Be it Kickstarter or a new position at a different publisher.

As a creator you want your creation to be enjoyed by everyone; it’s a relief knowing that your blood, sweat and tears wasn’t wasted. If there is one thing I want anyone to take away from this, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is Kojima’s last game with a company that is known for bullying its creators and employees. If you're interested in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain please pick up a copy this September. I know it's difficult to support Konami after the bad press that's been heard about, but when you pick this game have it your mind 'I'm not buying a Konami game I am buying a Hideo Kojima game'; that is the only way Kojima will know that his final work at Konami was appreciated by the fans.

Written By Dennis Price

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