It Must Suck To Work For Konami US Right Now

It Must Suck To Work For Konami US Right Now

Imagine, for a second, that you work for the US branch of Konami. It’s a cool job — you get to handle marketing, social media, or maybe business relations for a big company that publishes some cool games. Until suddenly you find yourself entangled in one of the worst PR disasters in video game history. And it’s totally out of your control.

Last week during the 2015 Game Awards, host Geoff Keighley spoke up about Metal Gear Solid designer Hideo Kojima, saying that Konami had barred their most famous creator from accepting an award for his most recent game, Metal Gear Solid V. “It’s disappointing and it’s inconceivable to me that an artist like Hideo would not be allowed to come here and celebrate with his peers and his fellow teammates,” Keighley said.

The news came after months and months of rumours involving Kojima and the company he helped build. In March, Konami removed Kojima’s name from their website and the MGSV box art. Reports emerged that Konami treats its development staff like prisoners, and that Kojima would be leaving the company as soon as his contract expired later this year. Konami also cancelled Kojima’s other project, Silent Hills, and even pulled the playable demo PT from the PlayStation Store. It’s been a non-stop barrage of bad news.

So when the world found out that Kojima couldn’t even go to an awards show, people went nuts. Hashtags like “#FuckKonami” popped up all over Twitter. Other big-name developers spoke out in support of Kojima. When Konami tweeted about Metal Gear Solid V‘s awards later that night, the response was all rage, and the vitriol continues today. No matter what Konami says on Twitter, they’re swarmed by people who are angry about how they have treated their star developer.

None of this rage is unwarranted. There’s little to like about Konami these days. We may still not have the full picture of what happened between Kojima and the company that once employed him, but everything we’ve seen so far paints a nasty picture of the once-lauded company, and they have lost any and all good will they have ever had. Put frankly, Konami sucks.

Yet. Yet! The people who run Konami’s Twitter account are not the people who installed security cameras at Kojima Productions to monitor developers’ activities. They’re not the people who decided to ostracize a beloved game designer and ban him from attending an awards show that would have celebrated his work. In fact, many of the people at Konami might very well be hearing this news at the same time as the rest of us. Japanese companies are not known for their communication skills.

Konami is based in Tokyo, Japan, but they have still got an office in Los Angeles, where employees handle all sorts of American publishing, distribution, and, yes, social media. There are some good people there — without them, we would have never gotten Suikoden II on the PlayStation Network — and I can’t help but sympathise when I see them have to be the face of Konami’s PR disasters. Morale must be low enough over there as it is.

Just imagine it: You have this cool job at Konami, helping keep the US gears moving for a major publisher of beloved video games. Suddenly, because of decisions made thousands of kilometres away, everyone on the internet hates you. You can’t even do your job — tweeting! — without being exposed to non-stop vitriol because of the horrible things your company has done. It’s gotta be emotionally exhausting, if not straight-up psychologically damaging.

What I hope is that Konami’s Japan braintrust is getting the message, that they’re seeing what they’re doing not just to Kojima and crew but to their poor employees outside of Japan, who have to bear the brunt of this nonsense. It’s a bummer all around.


  • They don’t care about the employees that work in the same building, why would they care about their foreign ones?

  • Reminds me of working on the front lines enquiry number for Telstra for a while, when they were a favourite target for the media. (Back in the days when more people had landlines than mobiles.)

    Yeah. That’s gotta suck. Kinda reminiscent of the TSA employees in the US having breakdowns over the static people were giving them for their pathetic security theatre. It’s not the decision-makers who have to face the consequences of their decisions. Unless the bottom line starts being affected, in fact, decision-makers don’t seem to give a shit about their customers at all.

    I wonder if this unpopularity will affect Konami’s bottom line…

    • Worked in Telstra Enterprise and Gov for a couple of years, all I can say is TSA SUCK so bad, they have plenty of people in Australia, but it doesn’t make those people any less brain-dead to work with…

      • It’s gotta suck though. How much would you hate your job if you knew that all you were doing was making everyone’s lives miserable for the sake of a shitty lie?

        • I’ve had 2 jobs like that, and quit them both within the first fortnight I’d rather be financially bankrupt than morally bankrupt.

  • You all still bought the biggest and most important game Konami ever put out.

    The only boycott that has ever worked in this industry is the one against Nintendo, I thought people would have learned their lesson with the Silent HIlls nonsense but perhaps not.

    There’s a lot of laughs to be had at Konami’s expense, but we should spend more time analysing the sorry state of affairs like this article does.

    • Nah, I didn’t buy it, because of the mess they were making with their staff.
      I don’t think many people held off buying it, but some did.

    • Problem is, if people don’t buy MGSV then that pretty much plays into the hands of the fucktards who are running Konami at the moment. They’ll point to that and go “See?! These console games don’t sell enough to be worth the investment. We were right to ditch them and go make bullshit pachinko machines!”.

      I bought MGS5 (when it was on sale for half price), but it’s my last one. I won’t be buying any post-Kojima ones if they do end up making any.

      • I see and agree with your point, but really, it seems like it would be best for the gaming community all around to just leave :/

    • I didn’t buy it because I ranked it fairly low against a backdrop of 2015 AAAs coming out this year, but if it helps the cause, I’m happy to put it down to a philosophical objection to how they treat staff.

    • No, I think the Xbone vs PS4 E3 reveals showed how quickly corporate panic can yield results.

      PS4 preorders were fucking slaughtering xbone pre-orders and the outrageousphere was all about always-online DRM, ‘deal with it’, mandatory kinect and game-trading.

      Pretty sure that hip-pocket bloodbath immediately after the reveals is why Microsoft backpedalled themselves to sanity.

      • Always online DRM has crept in anyway. We just didn’t notice it. Each game (as-a-service!) has rolling and constant updates that ensure we are always connected.

        The Deal With It bloke is about to release a hyped game isn’t he?

        Kinect = VR (ie we don’t know how the take up rate yet)

        Game trading – I got nothing. That was hilariously bad.

      • It makes sense that it worked that time though… I mean, since the Xbone and those controversial features were only just announced, Microsoft had nothing but goodwill and pre-orders to sell. The console is literally the gateway to more profit through games and stuff and saying no to that was no to all.

        The games on the other hand is the end-point of this all: I can only buy it once the damaging decisions have already been made and it will only ever send the message that I in particular, wanted it or not (even if I really did want it and there was many more factors affecting my decision to not buy it).

        • This is basically why I’ve always argued that ‘piracy-as-protest’ is a shitload more effective than a boycott, because with a boycott you have no way of knowing if the shitty sales are because some people talked some shit on the internet, or if the game was simply unpopular – because we all know that no-one actually does what they say they’re going to, re: boycotts.

          But with piracy, that’s a solid vote – whoever pirated the game wants it at least enough to download it. Even if not necessarily play or enjoy it, let alone would’ve spent money. Equating it to a lost sale is the other end of the spectrum of ignorance, but it’s something. Words are nothing.

          • I completely agree. It’s unfortunate then that piracy is, of course, illegal and therefore easily written off as ‘not customers’. For publishers it will likely always be stuck in its own little statistics reports, separate from financial forecasts, consumer interest/feedback, sales figures etc.

            I’ve always said:
            Game sells lots : Pirated little – Amazing consumer confidence
            Game sells lots : Pirated lots – Excellent product communication
            Game sells little : Pirated lots – You messed up
            Game sells little : Pirated little – Do people even know it’s released?

    • I didn’t buy MGSV, even though I’m a huge Metal Gear Solid fan. This game just didn’t feel like a proper MGS game to me at all (even from the onset). From what I hear there is close to no cut-scenes or narrative to speak of, and that is a big part of what makes MGS for me. MGS 3 literally had about 5 hours of cut-scenes if played back-to-back in the theatre mode (they were amazingly thought out and told such an incredible story). Something about MGS V just feels incredibly flat and out of place in comparison to the rest of the series. But that’s just my 2 cents 😛

      • I’ve played all the Metal Gears and I bought 5. I agree with you that it’s certainly lacking in the narrative department (especially in the 2nd half of the game).

        I do suggest playing it though because it is hands down the best MGS game play wise. For the first time ever in an MGS, it actually feels like you’re controlling Snake as he’s meant to be controlled. Instead of the wiggy, hard to control, limited vision we had in MGS 1 – 3, you have fluid movement, smart camera and very easy controls that make whatever way you want to play (whether its run and gun, sneak and stab, or using horse poop to crash cars) extremely enjoyable. The game does suffer from lack of cut scenes, and while I was playing it I did have that nagging feeling that it was missing a certain Kojima’ness about it, but gosh damn… Amazing gameplay.

  • You have to wonder what good the #boycottkonami hashtag in that last tweet is going to do. Do they actually have anything left to boycott? About the only game they still seem to be making is PES… everything else is gone. And it wouldn’t surprise me if they pull the plug on PES pretty soon, too – I suspect releasing a free to play version is the beginning of the end.

    I guess we can boycott their pachinko machines if they’d release them over here for us to boycott.

  • I’m just hoping Konami won’t go full retard in retaliation, like pulling all Kojima games from PS Store, pulling all patches so that disc based games can no longer be updated… it would be nasty.

  • At this point i won’t be surprised if they cancel mgo for pc,or if they don’t, i bet they will leave out steam works integration.

    • NO! MercurySteam ruined Castlevania!

      Lords of Shadow 1 was a great game. I still have no idea how they ended up with that steamy mess in LoS2

      Plus the 2 CV games on PS2/Xbox are underrated classics! Monster buddy system all the way!

  • It’s not like this is a new thing. A better story would be about how gamers lack the conviction to act on anything they say.

    Yeah fuck Konami, I have morals. Oh wait! New game… Sorry, what was I saying?

  • Like most Japanese Companies. They couldn’t give a fuck what happens outside of Japan. They will just keep going the way they have been, because guess what they are racking in the money in Japan, with shitty F2P games, Slot machines and Pachinko Machines. None of this effects them in Japan so why do they need to care.

  • While I quite liked this article, it could have been improved more with interviews with the people you’re conjecturing about.

  • Really don’t understand why everyone who isn’t related/friends with Kojima is in an uproar over the Konami ruse shenanigans.
    Tiring same old shitty news is tiring.

    • So you should speak out against bad actions by companies if you’re personally effected or know someone that was effected?

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