What the hell happened? That’s what I’m left thinking. What in the hell happened? Going into 2015, KONAMI, the Japanese game publisher behind Silent Hill, Metal Gear, Castlevania and more, were fine. They weren’t the brightest ray of sunshine in the sky to begin with, but they were okay. Now KONAMI seems to be on the verge of an implosion, the company receiving more and more bad press every day. So I thought I’d add some more to the pile, and give my opinion on the utter shitshow that has been going on behind the doors of this sorry excuse for a game company.
The first cracks in KONAMI’s creaky shell came about a few months ago when beady-eyed peeps noticed that something strange was happening with Metal Gear. Series Director (and prolific video game auteur) Hideo Kojima’s name was disappearing from certain products. The Metal Gear Solid Collection and MGSV: The Phantom Pain trailers (I think anyway) no longer had Kojima’s name on. Now anyone who has even touched MGS knows that Kojima’s name is all over everything to do with that series. What seems like a real dick move even after an official announcement was made all the more dickish by no one even knowing what was going on.
An announcement came soon that Kojima would be leaving KONAMI after the release of MGS V: The Phantom Pain meaning some time after September. Kojima has for so long been synonymous with KONAMI that sometimes, albeit disrespectfully of all the other development staff, it’s hard to remember anyone else actually works there. This is Kojima’s style after all; go big or go home. So hearing that Kojima was leaving the company, left the fate of KONAMIs game development division in flux.
Once I heard Kojima was leaving, it was obvious to me what was next going to happen. And KONAMI did not disappoint. About a week ago, they announced that the next entry in the Silent Hill series was cancelled. The dream team of Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro was disbanded and as Del Toro himself so succinctly put ‘it breaks my greasy heart.’ Though this decision was not a surprise by any account, it was still rather gutting. Silent Hill had strode confidently onto the scene in last year’s E3, at the Playstation conference, where this dumb scary thing called Playable Teaser was announced to be available to download immediately. About a week later, someone cracked it’s bizarre and convoluted puzzle open and found it was actually a demo for the new Silent Hill game.
It was refreshingly exciting and it helped that PT itself was less dumb and more scary than it first seemed. In fact, it was pretty much the horror experience of the year. At the point of putting something on the PSStore with this trailer inside it, it felt more concrete to me than just a trailer on Youtube. Something had already been made, now they just had to make more of it. To me, maybe it did feel set in stone. And though, this was setting me up for disappointment, it’s probably a mindset that KONAMI should have adopted. Namely, let’s not put this thing up before we know it’s happening.
Everything that has come out of KONAMI has felt like a kick in the balls to anyone who’s more than a passing fan. Silent Hill is my favourite game series of all time and Metal Gear is not far behind, so it resonated with me a little more. Kojima leaving, KONAMI execs pulling Kojima’s name, PT being pulled off the store and finally the cancellation. Plainly, KONAMI seem like a bunch of stumbling five year olds trying to do ‘the business’. If you gave KONAMI a plastic plate, they’d find some way to fucking smash it.
KONAMI was never really the hallmark of excellence. Their E3 showings are laughable, they regularly forget to announce when their games are launching (including announcing one had launched three days prior) and their relationship with gaming journalists has been rocky at best. They don’t really know what’s best when it comes to games with recent offerings from Silent Hill and Castlevania being just plain shit.
‘If you gave KONAMI a plastic plate, they’d find some way to fucking smash it.’
At this point, it seems like KONAMI is on a self-destructive path. They clearly do not care about game development anymore which, while not great, is their choice. The most distressing thing however is that they also do not give two shits about the fanbases of their games. While I can not claim to be deep into Castlevania and Pro Evolution Soccer is something I will never care about, I am heavily invested in Silent Hill and Metal Gear. I’m so invested that when KONAMI farmed out Silent Hill development to the West, I still blindly followed. And what an embarrassing mess of two games that was.
How are we supposed to take the recent news coming out of KONAMI as anything but a giant middle finger to all of it’s loyal fans? Why would we even bother continuing to support a company who thinks that merely saying ‘we’re gonna continue Silent Hill’ makes up for the cancellation of what looked like the brightest hope for it’s future. I had a girlfriend once who made me take a 4 hour train trip just so she could dump me and then didn’t understand why I was annoyed. In a way, this is what that feels like. Not just a dick move, but a complete and utter oversight of basic ways to act as acceptable people.
KONAMI has announced it will continue Metal Gear and Silent Hill but at this point, I don’t think I could give any less of a shit. I wouldn’t be surprised if mere days after Phantom Pain comes out, they announce they’re moving away from game development. At that point, I would be sad for everyone who was there working on games, but for a company, I would say good riddance. Let KONAMI become a name for slot machines and health clubs.
It’s a disgusting and despicable situation, and actually has shaken the foundations of what I think of when I think of the game industry. Like I think I might just need to tap out for a while. Of games in general. But that’s a subject for another day.