Konami’s Downfall

Remember when Konami made games?  Ah, those were the days.  How the mighty have fallen.  Konami has slipped into irrelevancy despite having some of the most recognizable IPs in videogame history.  You know them; Castlevania, Metal Gear, Silent Hill, Contra, Gradius, and Suikoden.  Yet Konami squandered everything by trying to chase trends they were several years too late for.  They constantly shoot themselves in the foot with baffling business decisions.  Many reports have described the chaotic hell that is Konami.  Konami has fallen from its own arrogance.  They have no respect for creators or the creative process.  Konami has shown blatant disregard for the legacy of its games.  The treatment of its employees has been abhorrent.  All of these factors have contributed to Konami’s downfall.

Lack of Respect for Creators

Silent Hills

Konami has consistently shown no respect to its creators and no understanding of the creative process.  The obvious example is Konami’s treatment of Hideo Kojima, the man who kept the company afloat.  It all started with Silent Hills.  Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro working on the game and Konami still found a way to fuck it up.  Despite all the hype and excitement after the mind-blowing reveal in P.T., Silent Hills was canceled with no explanation.  Konami then proceeded to try and erase any evidence of the game’s existence by removing P.T. from the PSN.  Del Toro has said working with Konami was the worst experience of his professional career.  Konami has been so vindictive towards Kojima.  Kojima’s name was removed from the box of Metal Gear Solid V and even went as far as barring him from attending the Game Awards 2015.  He couldn’t receive an award for the game he made.  Kojima is a gaming icon, I can’t understand this behavior towards someone of his reputation.  Not to mention all the money he’s made them.

Konami also refused to market certain games for no particular reason.  Blades of Time may not be that good of a game, but it had one of Konami’s biggest producers attached to it.  Yet, Konami didn’t seem to let anyone know the game came out.  Said producer, Tak Fujii, couldn’t find his own game in stores.  You’d think Konami purposely tanks it games.

Disregard for Legacy of its Games

erotic violence castlevania

Konami has a total disregard for the legacy of its games.  They have so many iconic franchises under their name, yet they don’t care about maintaining the reputation of these games.  Castlevania, Silent Hill, and Metal Gear have been turned into pachinko machines.  Castlevania was the most egregious, using “erotic violence” to sell pachinko.  It’s a permanent stain on the Castlevania name.  Good thing Igarashi’s Bloodstained is around the corner.  At least that will be more of a Castlevania game then anything Konami would make.  Also, cancelling Silent Hills and revealing a pachinko game right after was infuriating.

Then there’s Metal Gear Survive.  This will be the first Kojima-less Metal Gear game.  Guess what it is?  A co-op zombie game with crafting.  Haven’t seen that before.  They let a visionary leave and the best the could come up with is one of the most overdone concepts in games this generation.  How exactly does this fit in the Metal Gear series?  Bombergirl perverts the Bomberman series by using sexy anime girls to appeal to the lowest common denominator.  I love sexy anime girls as much as anyone but don’t do this to Bomberman.

Awful Treatment of Employees

hideo kojima
Hideo Kojima

Konami’s treatment of employees has been abhorrent.  Prison might be better then working for Konami.  Everything employees do is monitored strictly, like lunchbreaks.  The employees that are considered “under-performing” are reassigned to clean Konami’s fitness centers.  Konami is vindictive towards anyone who leaves the company, going as far as to blacklist them and making it harder to find new jobs.  Anyone who likes a tweet from someone announcing their departure is in jeopardy of being fired.  Konami has gone overboard with paranoia, scrutinizing every little thing employees do.  There are many stories of how employees are publicly shamed.  Konami is a glorified sweat shop.

Final Thoughts

Many of these problems can be traced back to the people at the top.  Founder Kagemasa Kozuki and his family make up most of the board of directors.  What the Kozuki family wants, they get.  The pettiness and vindictiveness they’ve displayed is appalling.  Clearly, Konami doesn’t care about the creators making them money or the historical legacy of its franchises.  Konami has been exceptionally cruel to its employees.  Konami arrogantly thinks it can do anything and face no consequences.  Such display of hubris and nepotism has caused the downfall of a once respected publisher.  Hopefully, someone who cares about games buys off Konami’s IPs.  Otherwise we’ll never see games from those series again.

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  1. Remember back when we thought Capcom and Square fell from grace until they actually started listening to their fans? Those two companies have nothing on how hard Konami fell. Up until the mid-2010s, they were one of the best developers. Now, they’re a pariah. It’s really unfortunate what they became.

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