GameSpot's The Lobby: Why Konami is leaving AAA developmentWith the exception of PES, it seems clear that publisher Konami has decided to drop out of console development. Our sister site GameSpot asks why, and what it means for their many franchises.
Gentlemen, it's been an interesting couple of weeks for Konami. They put out two games. They put out Metal Gear Solid, The Phantom Pain, ten out of ten on gamespot.com. They put out Pro Revolution Soccer 2016, nine out of ten on gamespot.com. Yes. I've been playing it over the weekend, enjoying it quite a lot. Still prefer FIFA, but it's really, really good. But obviously there was a report came out last week saying that Sort of what we'd all feared was that Konami were pulling out of AAA development, apart from Pro Evolution, which is a sort of an easy bank. It makes a lot of money for them, specifically in Japan and Europe, mainland Europe, a lot of. Peter, I guess first of all, There's since been another report saying this isn't the case but that's like from a customer service rep or something. Somebody put in a support ticket to Konami's customer support line saying are you guys no longer making triple A console games and their response was of course we are! We're still making Castlevania, Metal Gear, like Pez. I would not put much credence behind this support ticket response. Yeah. One, that's no sort of official answer. Two, that person may not even be at the company. They could just be a hired third party, who like has a blanket slate of things to say, and is just, yeah [LAUGHS] So Yeah, the line that says I can promise you that we're definitely not leaving messenger behind or anything like that. I know some blogs were claiming that online this morning. But I'm not really sure where they're even getting that information from. I dunno, two years of looking at Konami? [LAUGH] We're definitely still working on console games and franchises such as Metal gear. Not Metal Gear Solid. They're gonna bring back the MSX games. Silent Hill, Castlevania, PES, and all the rest. Okay, so that's four they named, and all the rest, let's assume that's three. No, there's Silent Scope, and Bomberman, Act Zero, and Dance Dance Revolution. And you have [UNKNOWN] and you have other HUDs and properties, whatever, anyways the point is, is that where the hell are they making these games? Yeah. Because they have like two different studios now? And they were working with, they had a third party that I can't remember the name right now, but they were working on the [UNKNOWN] games They've shut down. They're no longer doing that. David Cox, the guy who was the head of Castlemania left. The person who was in charge of Silent Hill and Metal Gear is bound to leave any day now. Yeah. Who are making these games, where are they getting made, and why the hell should we believe that they're being made for consoles. There's no evidence to support it. And if there's not an official statement, like These are the games. These are where they're being made. These are the consoles. Like, we can only really logically assume that these are not happening. So there was a quote. I can't remember who exactly it was. But somebody replied to [UNKNOWN], one of the executives earlier this week as well that was basically them saying, oh, no. We're going to use these properties, but we're not going to use them in the traditional way. Right. We going to have mobile games, but we going to go And like different directions towards where especially the Japanese market is spokes to the moment. Yeah so you basically said this is our main platform now. But then you said if it makes sense down the road then we'll continue making user consoles. But that doesn't mean anything. It's not incredibly wrong, Mike, because currently have It would be one thing if they stopped making games, but the idea that they're going to be sort of almost like Disney not releasing DVDs. They've got this massive chest of IPs that people love, but they're gonna be, presumably, releasing mobile games and maybe pachinko machines about them. But not actual, real console games. Yeah cause just last year I remember thinking, wow Konami's got a lot of good stuff now. P.T. had come out and then they said this is actually going to be Silent Hills and then you're really excited about that and then you know they're bringing on Guillermo Del Toro. And they're going to have Norman Reedus if that matters too much, but every time I kept thinking to myself this is going to be awesome, the Phantom Pain is coming out next year, Ground Zeroes was great. It turned out that's not going to happen. There was the Silent Hill's controversy, and then all that Kojima stuff started happening. And you kind of realized a lot of these were just, maybe not initially false promises, but they developed into that. And then it became, I feel like, they were just Kind of in a condescending way, saying yeah, we're still having all this coming out, but I just didn't see any evidence to support that, which sucks. Isn't that weird, cuz it is kind of a hard swing, Peter, when you think about what Mike was saying last year. Like there was a lot of stuff happened over new franchises being announced. Seems to in six months, they decided oh no, actually we're going to completely pull out of console development entirely. Well, they have completely shifted the people at the head of the company. And that sort of came, like I love Metal Gear Solid 5. I respect a lot of what Hideo Kojima does. I think the sentiment online is probably accurate when people say that he spent so much time and money making this game that he probably doomed the chance for Konami to Make console games in the future. Specifically, when you're trying to compete with something like this, how are they going to match this game? Yeah. What game can they release that will stand up to this? This game had astronomical budget, huge ideas, it was in development for five or six years, which is not unusual these days. The sequel to a longstanding, beloved franchise, as well. Right, so it had that packed into it, and so when you look at mobile development, they can spend Hypothetically, three months making a game, it catches on in Japan because that is where the biggest fan base is. People are used to spending money on micro transactions. They're gonna make money hand over fist. Why would they want to support a team that is so large, a project that's so ambitious that it could fall apart. So I think it makes sense For Konami to do this. And while I will miss the presence of these series like on shelves and hearing things online and stuff, I don't think Kojima's going to stop making games. So if you're a fan of his work, you're gonna be able to look forward to stuff. How could you not keep going. But also, I think people need to wake up and stop demanding that we get Another Medal Gear or another Castlevania. I think it's up to creative people that if they want to support these franchises, or at least the ideas and themes they represent, to take the source material, use it as inspiration, build something new from it and move on. Like, we can't keep living in the past. I mean I love old games, I love old series. Like they're really important to me. But at the same time, we need new things. And just because they don't carry the same title doesn't mean a new game can't reflect the things that are wonderful about games like this from Konami. Yeah, look what Ega's doing with blood stains. It's very much gonna be a spiritual predecessor to Castlevania. For all intents and purposes, sounds like it's a Castlevania game without the name. Absolutely. [CROSSTALK] Same thing with it. Yeah. Although the quality of that will [CROSSTALK] Yeah, so it's just It's interesting to see you go into kickstart. Not assuming anything with Kojima, but what's to stop him from doing the same thing? Yeah, and I don't necessarily want those creators to do what they have always done. Actually, I'm glad to get that game from Iga now, but I'll be interested to see what he does next. It's the same with [UNKNOWN]. I think Recore is a really good example of him. I mean, it's still taking the mechanic of augmentations, like opening up new doors and abilities, and that's great, but it's still a very new universe and it's a new style of gameplay. I want to see Hideo Kojima do something different. That was, I think, the promise of Silent Hills, was that it was a totally A turn of direction for him, and that's wonderful. So I would like to see new talent tackle new series. Mercury Steam is the name of the company. They did really well by Castlevania, I think. It wasn't the old games we loved, but it was a really interesting take that emphasized things about those games that hadn't been utilized before. Like the world, the music. it seems represented so well. You could say the same thing about Revengance as well. Absolutely. I love Revengance and people get upset because oh well, it's not a real Metal Gear game. But it's like, okay, but it's still a wonderful game. You're looking at it through a lens that isn't necessarily the same for everybody. It's very subjective. So I would like to see these talents do new things and maybe create a spin off stuff that we love from the past. All right, last question on this I remember a couple of years ago, when the success of mobile games was really kicking off. Angry Birds was making money hand over fist. it was before a lot of free to play stuff came into the market, but a lot of gamers, especially online, especially on message boards and stuff, talking about how oh, mobile games are gonna be Death now for consoles, or this is a dangerous thing, or like being aggressive towards mobile gaming. What we're having here though, is we have a company like Kanomi, who is like an old name within video games who is essentially leaving console direction because of the card on the sick that mobile games is. Is that something we should be worried about looking forward? Well, I think there's going to be a lull. Like we're going to hit a valley where we see the big-name companies not investing as much in console games. But there's a demand for big console games. That's not necessarily going away in United States and in Europe. In Japan things are changing, but in a lot of the Western gaming markets, that's still up, and it's on the rise. So I think, even if it's not Konami, we're gonna see other companies do it. But we still have plenty of old companies making great games. A lot of them happen to be Japanese, at least that come to mind, like Capcom and SQUARE ENIX. Those guys are still doing really impressive work in some areas. So I think console gaming will be fine. Mobile gaming will have an impact on it, But it's not going to be, I don't think, a death knell for console gaming, or PC gaming, as it were. Cool, hope not. Thanks very much gentlemen for coming on, talking about that. Let us know what you think about the sad demise of Konami, at least in the console space. Are you sad, will you be happy for Kojima to do something new. Let us know in the comments below. [MUSIC]