2015 has proven to be somewhat of a chaotic year for Konami. Earlier this year, a rift between Metal Gear developer, Hideo Kojima, and the company developed which only intensified as the year went on and resulted in his name being removed from press reports, promotional materials, and much more. The feud continued to escalate as the months rolled on eventually leading to Kojima’s other project, Silent Hills, being canceled as well.
While Konami has enjoyed enormous success recently with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain becoming the best selling title in the long running franchise, the company continues to find itself embroiled in controversy. Outside of microtransactions in Metal Gear Solid V and the Hideo Kojima feud, Konami is at the center of reports that they’re moving away from AAA games entirely. While the rumor has gained traction recently, representatives at Konami have finally responded.
Just days after reports indicated Konami’s shift in development away from big budget games caused Julien Merceron’s departure from the company, Konami has come out to refute such claims. Initially reported by French site, Gameblog, a customer support representative at Konami has directly responded to the rumors and denies any such shift in development to focus on mobile titles.
“I can promise you that we’re definitely not leaving Metal Gear behind or anything like that. I know some blogs were claiming that online this morning, but I’m not really sure where they’d be getting that from.”
“We’re still definitely working on console games and franchises such as Metal Gear, Silent Hill, Castlevania, PES and all the rest.”
Informal responses from Konami have since continued recently as Communications Manager at Konami Europe, Su-Yina Farmer, took to Twitter to remind people that the reports were only rumor and speculation.
I hope re-purposing speculation and rumour as news, isn't the new standard— Su (@ParodiSu) September 18, 2015
What’s interesting here is that the response came from a customer support representative, not someone from the PR or marketing team. Still, something isn’t adding up as Konami has publically stated earlier this year that their main platform going forward will be mobile only to immediately change that stance in a public apology to fans. With Metal Gear Solid V DLC releasing soon along with multiplayer component Metal Gear Online, it’s clear that Konami, at least for now, is still developing for AAA games. How long that continues however is unclear.
Konami finds itself in the news almost on a weekly basis these days, it’s hard to figure out just what is going on. While fans of the Metal Gear franchise may be relieved to hear that the company still wants to create more games in the series, the recent news regarding Julien Merceron leaving Konami contradicts their denial. Merceron, former lead tech on the Fox Engine, is rumored to have left Konami over their development shift away from big budget games.
What do you make of this? Do you think Konami is just trying to save face with fans or are they really making a push away from AAA games in favor of smaller, mobile based titles? Sound off in the comments below.