Konami_Corporation_Entrance

The gam­ing world was shocked re­cent­ly with the sud­den news that video game de­vel­op­er and pub­lish­er Konami had made changes to their ex­ec­u­tive board mem­bers list­ing, tak­ing off the pro­lif­ic Hideo Kojima and oth­er mem­bers of Kojima Productions. Following this, Konami start­ed to re­move “A Hideo Kojima Game” from mar­ket­ing ma­te­ri­als for Metal Gear Solid, and they shut­tered Kojima Productions, re­nam­ing the L.A. branch to the gener­ic Konami Los Angeles Studios. While an anony­mous source told Gamespot that there was some bad blood, I feel that the doom and gloom procla­ma­tions are a bit over­stat­ed. Let’s spec­u­late a lit­tle on the fu­ture.

We’ll take what is known for cer­tain, in­stead of pro­ject­ing ex­pec­ta­tions off non‐verified sources. These anony­mous re­port­ings could very well be true, ren­der­ing my spec­u­la­tion point­less. I still feel it is of val­ue to look at this from just the officially‐known data.

It’s no se­cret that a large por­tion of Konami’s prof­its are due di­rect­ly to Kojima Productions. Metal Gear Solid has been a hot sell­er and con­sole push­er in the past, with even the ill‐received Ground Zeroes sell­ing over 1 mil­lion units. That would make me think twice about sev­er­ing ties in a way that burns bridges if I were on the Konami side of the equa­tion. While it is true that Kojima and oth­er mem­bers of Kojima Productions were tak­en off the ex­ec­u­tive list­ing at Konami, they were not nec­es­sar­i­ly fired be­cause they have be­come con­trac­tors there for the time be­ing.

While this could just mean that that the staff is on call to as­sist with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain as it gets out the doors, I feel they are keep­ing this as a work­ing busi­ness re­la­tion­ship for more than just that one ti­tle.

A Konami rep­re­sen­ta­tive speak­ing to IGN com­ment­ed on the change:

As we have al­ready an­nounced, we are shift­ing our pro­duc­tion struc­ture to a headquarters‐controlled sys­tem, in or­der to es­tab­lish a stead­fast op­er­at­ing base ca­pa­ble of re­spond­ing to the rapid mar­ket changes that sur­round our dig­i­tal en­ter­tain­ment busi­ness. Konami Digital Entertainment (in­clud­ing Mr. Kojima), will con­tin­ue to de­vel­op and sup­port Metal Gear prod­ucts. Please look for­ward to fu­ture an­nounce­ments.”

(Emphasis added by au­thor)

We al­ready know af­ter the joint press re­lease from Konami and Kojima that Konami will be con­tin­u­ing the Metal Gear se­ries and has start­ed to look for new staff to do so. The above quote im­plies that Konami will still be work­ing with Kojima as a con­sul­tant, even if di­rect pro­duc­tion of the games are not in his hands. Let’s face it, Mr. Kojima has want­ed to step away from Metal Gear Solid for some time and this seems to fi­nal­ly be his chance to leave the helm.

There is the mat­ter of Kojima’s name be­ing re­moved from mar­ket­ing ma­te­ri­als for Metal Gear Solid on Konami’s prod­uct pages for the games and their on­line sales fronts. On the sur­face this seems dire, but if looked at from a busi­ness and brand­ing per­spec­tive, it can make more sense and not seem as hos­tile a move as some are mak­ing it out to be

At this point Kojima is a brand. He has made a name for him­self with his writ­ing and di­rec­tion on many crit­i­cal­ly ac­claimed IPs, and he has pushed the tech­ni­cal bound­aries of gam­ing hard­ware for decades. The Fox Engine is a con­tin­u­a­tion of this brand lega­cy, and I feel all this gives Kojima a lot of lee­way in the in­dus­try. Removing his name from Konami prop­er­ties frees up Hideo Kojima to as­sert him­self as his own brand in the fu­ture. This, to me, is a win‐win. Konami can as­sert own­er­ship of the Metal Gear fran­chise, and Kojima can go on to more freely as­sert his cre­ative in­flu­ence out­side Konami projects.

I have no doubt in my mind that Hideo Kojima and his team will con­tin­ue to make games. While it’s true Konami has closed up their Kojima Productions house, this just leaves the door open for Kojima and team to open their own in­de­pen­dent op­er­a­tion, pos­si­bly even un­der the same name. They can pro­duce their own IPs, con­sult with oth­er stu­dios on games (i.e. Metal Gear), and branch out as they so choose. I wouldn’t even be sur­prised to see movies come from Hideo in such an sce­nario.

This does seem to leave the fu­ture a tad more bright and cheery than pre­vi­ous­ly spec­u­lat­ed, but there is a hang­nail of sorts in my mind. So far all of­fi­cial talk has not spo­ken of Kojima’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with Guillermo del Toro on the up­com­ing Silent Hills project that was teased last year in the well mar­ket­ed P.T.

Why do these events even have to put a hitch in those plans? What do we know for cer­tain at this point? That Kojima is not an ex­ec­u­tive at Konami any­more but is a con­trac­tor that will work with Konami on fu­ture projects. Kojima is slat­ed to be di­rec­tor on Silent Hills, and you do not need to be on the ex­ec­u­tive board of a com­pa­ny to be the di­rec­tor of a game. I see no rea­son why this arrange­ment has to end, as Kojima seemed very ex­cit­ed to work on Silent Hills.

Maybe it’s just shock at the news. Maybe I am just an op­ti­mist and read­ing too much into busi­ness de­ci­sions… but I don’t feel the fu­ture is all doom and gloom here. Granted this is all spec­u­la­tion on my part from lim­it­ed in­tel, but I feel this does not need to spell the end of cer­tain prop­er­ties we have been look­ing for­ward to. In fact the fu­ture could be bet­ter than ever now for Kojima and crew as they are now free to em­bark on any voy­ages they want with­out hav­ing to an­swer to Konami cor­po­rate in­ter­ests.

It will be in­ter­est­ing to hear what comes of this in the fu­ture, and we’ll keep you post­ed here at Super Nerd Land.

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Josh Bray
Josh has worked in IT for over 15 years. Graduated Broadcasting school in 2012 with a fo­cus on A/V pro­duc­tion. Amateur pho­tog­ra­ph­er with a pas­sion to make things work… by any means nec­es­sary. Editor‐in‐Chief and do‐er of tech things at SuperNerdLand