Konami’s past shows why MGS shouldn’t continue without Kojima

Nobody cares about Konami without Kojima

Not too long ago, Konami went on record stating that MGS could indeed continue without Hideo Kojima. We all know that it technically can, much the same way a brain-dead loved one in a vegetative state can continue to “live” if you keep the ventilator and feeding tubes going, but nobody outside of Konami really thinks it should.

This is because the people that run Konami don't understand how video games work. From their past actions towards their own employees, to the loose grip with which they outsource once powerful licenses, it's painfully obvious that Konami thinks anyone can make a successful video game.

Where are the teams that created and developed classics like Contra, Gradius, Metal Gear, Castlevania, or Suikoden? They no longer exist, and as far as Konami is concerned they never really mattered. Some of them are probably cleaning urinals in Konami fitness centers, because their game design talents are useless in Konami's eyes.

Castlevania and Silent Hill, two of Konami's more recognizable franchises, have both been driven hard into the dirt by the Japanese publisher. I'm sure Konami was showing the utmost of care to their important IPs when they outsourced them to MercurySteam and Vatra Games. No offense to the developers at those studios, but…who? Why?

Priot to being called upon to co-develop Castlevania: Lords of Shadow with Kojima Productions, MercurySteam had American McGee Presents: Scrapland, Clive Barker's Jericho, and a generic zombie game for early Nokia smart phones under their belts. Not a very impressive lineup to say the least, but Lords of Shadow turned out to be a pretty decent game. It earned them the right to develop the next two entries of the Lords of Shadow spin-off on their own. Incidentally, as soon as Kojima Productions was taken off of the series, it promptly declined until it fell into the toilet.

Silent Hill: Downpour

The Adventures of Generic Man in Spookytown wasn't a great game.

Look at the history of Vatra Games and tell me what they've done to deserve the right to work on a franchise that was once regarded as the best in in the survival horror genre. The only previous release by the studio was Rush'n Attack: Ex-Patriot, a terrible download only title for PS3 and 360. Surely these were the people that would guide Silent Hill back to the forefront of the gaming scene with Silent Hill: Downpour, no?

The sad thing is that Konami had the talent in house to fix these franchises, until just recently. Hideo Kojima had Silent Hills positioned to be a return to greatness for the franchise. There was more hype surrounding that game than there was for any Konami product not called Metal Gear, and if the P.T. demo was anything to go by, Silent Hills was destined for greatness. The desire for the game was so great that cancellation of Silent Hills and subsequent removal of P.T. has seemingly given the genre a shot in the arm as developers move to cash in on the void. Now Silent Hills is just dead, another Konami label that's nothing but poison.

The thirst was real for Castlevania as well, as evidenced by Koji Igarashi's spiritual successor to Castlevania, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Iga asked for $500,000 to make it and fans threw $5,500,000 at him instead. This is extra sweet because that money could have gone straight to Konami's pockets if they weren't such assholes to their employees and gave fans what they wanted: A well made “Metroidvania” styled Castlevania.

From the outside looking in, Konami won't hesitate to cut corners to try and increase their bottom line. They would rather outsource the production of games, even games in their most iconic franchises, to cheaper foreign studios than invest in and maintain their own development studios in pursuit of higher quality. While cashing in on name recognition is a safe solution in the short term, it's unsustainable. Players aren't going to keep buying in on an obviously declining series.

In Konami's hands, that's the kind of end we can expect for Metal Gear Solid post Hideo Kojima: A slew of sequels produced by a string of relatively unknown developers, with no real successes under their belts. A rapid decline in quality and profitability, until the name is nothing more than a nostalgic moniker attached to an erotic violence pachinko machine.