The last few months have been incredibly controversial for games publisher Konami. The company recently went through a very public fall out with Hideo Kojima, one of its most influential developers and a well-known name within the industry and they also caught flak for poor work conditions, when it was alleged that the company tracks and monitors all of their employees. But few stories got gamers riled up like the announcement that in future, Konami would be more focused on mobile gaming than console gaming.
The company first caught flak for its mobile gaming stance when Konami CEO Hideki Hayakawa did an interview with Nikkei Trendy, telling the Japanese publication said that the publisher’s main platform would be mobile as that’s “where the future of gaming lies”. Although Konami apologized, explaining that their mobile games would accompany their console titles, some were still concerned. Those concerns were then validated earlier this week when it emerged that Julien Merceron, Konami’s Fox Engine overseer had (allegedly) left the company as he was unhappy with Konami’s new mobile gaming focus.
Merceron’s decision to quit was initially leaked by French publication Gameblog and the site has now followed that up with another report that suggests that not only is Konami primarily focusing on mobile game development but that the company does not have any triple-A console games in development other than its popular football series Pro Evolution Soccer. Reportedly, all of the company’s console projects (bar PES) have been cancelled by Konami’s new management team and fans should not expect any “ambitious” console games to be released before the 2017/18 fiscal year.
Though this reveal is speculation for now (though Eurogamer‘s sources say that it’s true) and though it may be disappointing for fans of the Metal Gear, Silent Hill, and Castlevania series, this may actually be a good thing for the publisher. With Kojima gone, the future of the Metal Gear series thrown in doubt and P.T cancelled, this down time will give Konami a chance to do right by players and to make sure that they don’t release something disappointing, rushing to try and appease disgruntled fans.
Plus, in August Konami put together a survey asking fans which classic series (e.g Contra, Castlevania, and Bomberman) that they’d like the company to revive, so it’s possible that those games will be released on consoles next.
It’s also possible that Konami is putting all of its eggs into the mobile gaming basket for business reasons. Many people are concerned with the gaming industry in Japan, with some developers suggesting that mobile gaming is so popular within the country that console gaming will soon die off. With Metal Gear Solid 5 having such a lofty budget (of around $80 million) and having been delayed, it makes sense that Konami would try and recoup the costs before they splash the cash on another console project.