You might have been living under a rock if you haven’t heard about Konami in 2015. It started a short while after Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes came out, the 2014 prequel to 2015’s Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain.
That was merely the beginning of the controversy that has essentially broken Konami over the gaming community’s back like a rotten stick as leak after leak came out that essentially made Konami the most evil company in the world, not to mention “TotalBiscuit’s” Fuck Konami anthem, sung to “Pomp and Circumstance.”
Yes, even above EA. Cliche, I know, but they don’t even have the excuse that they’re using the Asian work ethic stereotype.
Everything we’ve been told about them speaks to some form of horrible mismanagement from someone that would be more in place as some fascist dictator than a CEO of one of the largest (or rather, former largest) gaming companies in the world.
With the stories of how poorly they treated Hideo Kojima prior to and after his firing (not letting him attend the Video Game Awards last year and instead sending a representative, forcing him to keep his contract with them despite having been fired, lying and saying he was on vacation and not fired) and the way that they treated their employees, I wouldn’t actually be surprised if Konami goes the way of THQ at some point.
It’s a real shame, too. Konami was one of the first video game companies the world saw. They gave us the Konami Code, gaming classics like Contra, Metal Gear, and Gradius, and up until these past two years, it had been one of the titans of the industry. But what went wrong?
To me, it seems like the most obvious route: Konami became more concerned with money than they did with creating games. People like Kojima, who were willing to put years of time and effort into their creations, were no longer welcome.
I can see where they’re coming from with this; according to a composer leaking information, Kojima was using exorbitant amounts of money in making MGS V. However, while that might (badly) justify Konami letting him go, it by no means excuses the draconian treatment of their employees.
The culture of Japan might also be to blame for Konami’s behavior. Japanese business etiquette is taken very seriously (this is the same business culture where the previous CEO of Nintendo to Satoru Iwata told him “If the Wii U doesn’t sell you should kill yourself.”)
Regardless of that, Konami may very well go the way of THQ soon. Ever since it gave up its console components in favor of mobile and arcade games and pachinko machines (Hope you guys like Silent Hill and Castlevania pachinko!), Konami appears to be sliding down a steep slope from which there is no recovery.
I would hate for us to lose yet another big component of modern gaming, even if it’s one like Konami.