Ask any video game enthusiast today what their thoughts on Konami are and the result will be almost identical no matter who you decide to ask. You’ll likely hear something about how great their games used to be, and a lament about their recent epic downfall. Perhaps you’ll even be treated to a reference to the infamous #FucKonami hashtag. And looking at the once-titanic developer’s recent offerings, it’s not hard to see why.
Look past the yearly PES entries and the smattering of retro re-releases and what you’re left with is nothing short of paltry. The mediocre (at best) Metal Gear Survive, which released last year, is Konami’s most recent AAA release – unless you consider Super Bomberman R a AAA game. Even beyond that, this generation’s suffered a distinctly lacking presence from Konami, and fans have noticed. This is all without even touching all of the big K’s pachinko and mobile game shenanigans.
What happened to Konami?
Fans’ disdain for Konami has long been rooted in their apparent lack of passion for their beloved IPs. This reached a fever pitch 4 years ago when the hotly-anticipated ‘Silent Hills’ was cancelled following a fallout with games industry legend and former Konami poster boy, Hideo Kojima. After a disappointing run of Silent Hill efforts some years prior, a return to form for the series was something that fans had been clamouring for, so the cancellation was predictably controversial (the fantastic P.T. showing how things could have been only made the ordeal hurt more). This, along with the Kojima debacle as a whole, very much put Konami in a villainous light. Some might say they’re beyond redemption, but what if they tried? What if we saw a Konami renaissance? Well, according to an interview with gamesindustry.biz, they might just be gearing to give it a go.
The interview saw Konami Europe’s Masami Saso speak about Konami’s state of affairs, especially in regards to their recent low profile on modern consoles. Saso assured gamesindustry that “Even with new platforms coming out, we believe high-end console games are the most important.” Seems like an uncharacteristic statement from Konami, right? Why the change of heart?
Konami’s Change Of Heart – Is There A Reason?
Well, some perhaps more cynically-minded fans have been making connections. In a tweet that has gained a considerable amount of popularity, twitter user @MetiNTBG pointed out that Konami’s statement could come in the wake of fairly recent news that Pachinko – an industry that Konami has been thriving in recently – may be subject to anti-addiction regulations in the near future. This link seems to suggest that Konami may be jumping ship back to Console in preparation for Pachinko no longer being as profitable.
Even though Konami have been lambasted for their seemingly anti-consumer business practices, they have been enjoying steady profit growth as a company, so the change in attitude certainly does demand some sort of explanation. With this aside, however, what might a Konami Comeback entail? Well, Saso also mentioned in the interview that we might be seeing some new projects from Konami’s fan-favourite IPs soon:
We also plan to increase our portfolio…we plan to work on projects with other globally known IPs in the near future.
Perhaps when the next generation of consoles rolls around we’ll be rolling in new Castlevania, Silent Hill and Suikoden news. But, for now, all we can do is speculate. Perhaps we’ll even see something at Tokyo Game Show this year – they’ve already confirmed that they’ll be present.
What Konami IPs would you like to see revived? Do you think Konami has good intentions, or do you think this is a more cynical move? Leave your thoughts in the comments!