Hideo Kojima’s relation with Konami went sour. Pretty much everyone knows this. Today’s report tries to tell us what happened.
Major Japanese financial paper Nikkei, wrote a new report [Japanese/paywall] about how Kojima’s relation with Konami deteriorated and what it’s like to work for the Japanese publishers these days.
According to Thomas James‘s translations, as of April 2015, Metal Gear Solid 5’s budget reached over $80 million. James, who works as a freelance game localiser, said that Love Plus creator has left the publisher and that development on Tokimeki Memori and Suikoden has been halted.
The report claims the reason for this fallout – apart from Kojima’s seemingly endless need for more production money – is to do with Dragon Collection. The mobile game was made on a sub-$1 million budget and brought a lot of money to Konami, which is one of the reasons why the publisher started reconsidering its strategy, particularly when it comes to console games.
Another reason for that is Metal Gear Solid 5’s delay, which meant even more money being spent.
What’s even more disconcerting is the article’s telling of the work conditions Kojima Productions staff have to suffer. Individuals are given randomised email addresses that are their only way of communicating with outsiders. These emails get changed routinely (which Kotaku notes isn’t a new practice for Konami).
Employees are also given time cards to use when going on breaks, and those exceeding their breaks would be “outed” publicly. Nikkei adds that employees who were “deemed useless” would be given assembly line jobs at Konami’s pachinko factories, security guard duties, or cleaning at the company’s fitness clubs. Higher-profile staff were said to not be exempt from this treatment.
In addition, Konami staff were monitored, with the publisher going as far as penalising staff members for liking a Facebook post of a former employee saying he had found another job.