To any gamer, Hideo Kojima is an icon. He was the creator behind the Metal Gear Solid franchise and Silent Hill, both of which have been seen on the PS Vita in recent years. He joined Konami, one of the world’s biggest video game development companies, in 1986. After 30 years of fruitful partnership, the company let him go for undisclosed reasons.
Video games for consoles such as the PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and Xbox, are not like online casino games. In online casinos like B Bets, the games you play come from syndicated developers who license them out. These entertainment systems do not take a lot of creativity because they run on simple principles. Take a slot machine, for example. The programming only requires a software that determines pay lines and bonuses. Video games for consoles require more than that.
Now that Kojima is out, Konami is facing a huge problem: creativity crisis. How will the company continue a great man’s legacy?
Rebranding the Company
Konami is a big name in console video game development. But the times have changed and its executives know this. The creative crisis that the corporation is facing is only temporary. As it ditched its top game developer, Hideo Kojima, it is also in the process of doing a 180-degree turnaround from its roots.
It has to start looking for creative talent outside the realms of high-end console gaming. As it shifts its focus to mobile games and online casinos, it has to market itself as a game developer for the general public and not for a niche. Talent will not be hard to come by. And with the expertise of several people joining the ship as compared to one, the corporation is in a better position to create a diverse portfolio of games.
This transition is currently turning out to be a positive move. The executives of Konami are laughing their way to the bank. Its recent releases of mobile games and casino machines proved to be more profitable than when they released Metal Gear Solid V. And no matter how much fans sulk about it, it has to embrace its new face.
Restructure the Team
Truth be told, Kojima is the man behind the huge success of the digital games development group. But his departure from the company does not spell the end of the franchise. The game has been around for 20 years. Despite the fact that the gameplay, storyline, and engines were all lead by the same person, it is very unlikely that no one can fill in his shoes.
It is also unlikely that no one will take interest to continue what he has started.
Sure, there may be differences in how the next Metal Gear Solid game will look like. Its gameplay may change. New storylines may be added. But all this will come into place as more talents contribute to the franchise.
An option is to have Konami and Kojima working on a consultancy basis. In this set-up, the company will still continue the franchise and only take Kojima as part of the creative team. This should fill the creativity gap now that Kojima is going to be involved again. This is unlikely to happen given the freshness of the break-up. But in business, no one really knows for sure.
Currently, Kojima is working on a big game in a studio he had built recently. He once said that if this game fails, then maybe there is no future for his own company to talk about. If this happens, then maybe he might consider consultancy work.
This is not the first time that an important employee had to leave a company. And though Kojima’s contributions are invaluable, we need to keep in mind that Konami is a big company. If ever the company decides to stop the Metal Gear Solid and Silent Hill franchises altogether, the dent in their pockets will only be short term.
Both are still making money for Konami even without new releases. The original games in both franchises are still selling through the PlayStation Store as PSOne Classics for PS Vita owners. It is anticipated that Metal Gear Solid may even make an appearance on the upcoming PlayStation Classic console. Other games in both series continue to sell well digitally as well across all platforms including the Vita exclusive Silent Hill: Book Of Memories so there’s still a loyal fanbase with or without Kojima.
As mentioned earlier, the company has been turning profits from their recent game line-up. In 2016, Konami’s revenue was down by 8.5% but still managed to turn a whopping 70% in profits. This happened a year after Kojima left. Its success is primarily linked to games like Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links, which has amassed 25 million downloads. If this continues, there may even be no need to continue what Kojima started.
It is the same with Castlevania. Despite Koji Igarashi taking a lead role in steering the franchise for well over a decade his departure didn’t bring the series to an end. While he continued work on his own Casttlevania inspired title, Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night, the next official chapter is due to land with us later this year in the shape of Castlevania Requiem.
What many people do not get is that a corporation is not an artist. It will not die a natural death just because someone left. The executives of big companies will definitely employ the services of experts who can help them overcome this problem. A corporation is a breathing machine, with hundreds or thousands of employees who will help steer the ship in the right direction. And all of them will contribute because the failure of a corporation means the failure of everyone in it.