Hideo Kojima hires several more former Konami employees to the Death Stranding development team, including a senior character artist and a cinematic artist.
Late last year, headlines were made when Hideo Kojima hired Shinji Harano, a former Konami president to Kojima Productions, where he is developing his next game, Death Stranding. Death Stranding is the first game that Kojima has announced following his departure from Konami in 2015 and some found it unusual that the games industry veteran had hired someone who had served as an executive at his former employer.
However, the former Konami president is just one of a handful of ex-Konami developers who Kojima has enlisted to create Death Stranding. According to gamingbolt which points to recently updated LinkedIn profiles, Kojima Productions has just made several more hires, including Masaki Saito and Jackie Tan (two Konami game developers), Chihoko Uchiyama (Konami senior character designer), and Yasuhiro Kawakami (a cinematic artist).
Akio Sakamoto, who helped to design the FOX game engine, is another recent hire, something which could help the Kojima Productions team make the most out of the Decima game engine (which Death Stranding shares with Horizon: Zero Dawn). Counting Kojima, Harano and several other ex-Konami hires made last year, the Death Stranding team now includes at least 10 former Konami employees.
It’s not hard to see why Kojima would want to work alongside so many former Konami employees. Although Kojima had a rough time with Konami, reportedly being locked in a separate room for part of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain‘s development, it’s unlikely that any of these new hires contributed to that environment in any way. Moreover, as Death Stranding is one seriously ambitious game, including photorealistic graphics, it makes sense that Kojima would want to work with people that he already knows.
It’s also not hard to see why so many Konami employees would want to leave the company either, if reports are true. It has been alleged that Konami has poor working conditions for its employees, including aggressively demoting employees and moving them to entirely different departments, as well as closely monitoring their movements as well. It should be stressed that these allegations are just that – allegations – but if that really does go on at the company then few could blame the former Konami employees for accepting positions at Kojima Productions.
As Death Stranding‘s development enters ‘full swing’ this year, gamers could soon see the affects that these new hires have had. Kojima continues to tease the game, including the release of alternate Death Stranding trailers and encouraging fans to come up with theories so hopefully the developer will offer another glimpse at what the team is working on soon.
Death Stranding is currently in development for PS4.