Happy Saturday awesome people who visit this blog, spam bots, and foreign hackers who are about to realize that they are totally wasting their time by looking at this. It’s the weekend! That means everyone has more time to spend time with their family, go on outings with their friends, maybe go on a nice date with your significant other, and maybe even give back to the community with some kind of charity work that not only benefits the less fortunate, but also gives you some sense of personal fulfillment. OR, you potentially have 48 uninterrupted hours to play your favorite, or the newest video game! Although, I guess if you wanted to strike some kind of healthy balance between these two options, that would probably be the healthiest choice, buy you do you. Anyway, this is Game Grind! The weekly post where I talk about the vast, wonderful, and beautifully rendered world of video games.
Sadly, not a whole lot happened this week in the gaming industry. Well, at least nothing that I’m super invested in. That’s to be expected, though. Gamescom, an event that is similar to E3 but is more focused on the developers, was last week. This means that all of the juicy stuff and glimpses into the future are old news by now. Actually, as I’m looking at 2015’s release schedule (Game Informer has a handy one right here ), the only game that I find myself getting really excited for is Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which comes out September 1st. Some new footage actually just came out and I can already tell that it is going to be one of my favorite games of the year.
However, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the game because of conflicts between the games developers and director and Konami, the games publisher. These conflicts have become more and more high profile as they have gone on because Metal Gear Solid’s director, Hideo Kojima, is arguably the most well known video game creator, outside of the bigger name at Nintendo, and because Konami has been noteworthy in the video games industry since the 80s.
This conflict first began back in March when it was reported that Kojima had left Konami and that Konami was reportedly hiring people to work on another MGS game, without Kojima being involved. These were quickly labeled as false rumors by Konami and Kojima’s twitter account went inactive for an extended period of time. Konami then made, what I would personally describe as petty and spiteful, decisions to remove Kojima’s name from MGS5’s box artwork and cancel another highly anticipated game that Kojima was working on, a new Silent Hills game, and remove it’s beloved “Playable Trailer” from purchase on Playstation’s online store. Konami then announced that the company would focus on the development of mobile games, rather than console titles. No announcements have been made regarding what Kojima is going to do career wise after the release of his latest game.
A side effect of this controversy is that many former and current employs of Konami are secretly coming out of the woodwork to describe the borderline tyrannical working conditions they are subjected to by Konami. Some of these working conditions include heavy monitoring of staff through closed circuit camera, lengthy processes to receive a computer and internet access, detailed records being kept of each employee’s browser history, and employees being required to tell Konami security where they going anytime they leave the building. It is being speculated by many that these practices are the reason why Konami has had difficulty finding employees and why the company is shifting to mobile games, as it is easier for inexperienced developers learn the skills to make these types of games quickly.
So that’s where the situation is currently. I personally think that the conflict and tension between Kojima and Konami is extremely unfortunate and I am more inclined to take Kojima’s side in the dispute. His work has helped validate the video game industry and has proved that video games can be used as a medium to express complex and dynamic stories. I have no idea what Kojima is going to do after MGS5 is released. I would personally like him to leave the company and either start his own video game developing and publishing business or go work for a company that treats their creative staff better.
It should be noted, though, that while Konami’s practices regarding their staff may seem excessive, similar practices are somewhat common throughout the video game industry. Employees are working with highly sensitive information in an extremely competitive market and any leaks of business strategies or information on projects could prove extremely detrimental to a company. In fact, earlier this week the video game giant Nintendo fired an employee for going onto a podcast and talking about his job with the company. What’s unusual in this situation is that the employee seemed to be more upset with himself than Nintendo for his termination, and the fact that he expressed that he knew it was wrong of him to appear on a podcast. This leads me to believe that Konami’s treatment of their employees are exceptionally bad, even for the industry, as numerous former and current Konami employees have gone out of their way, and potentially risked their future in the industry, to inform people about Konami’s unseemly practices.
I for one eagerly await Konami solely making video games for mobile platforms. This is because I play few mobile games and I would no longer have to deal with the company’s monthly scandals. It’s really more sad than anything that a company that used to be a huge player in the arcade scene mismanage itself into a company that cannot even keep their highly talented and renowned employees.
That’s all I have to say about this issue for now, at least until the company does something else stupid or morally despicable. If you happen to have an opinion on this matter, go ahead and leave a comment or head over to BaddBing BaddaBlog’s Facebook page and start a discussion over there. While you’re on Facebook, maybe go ahead and like and follow the page so that you can be notified when new posts come out. If you don’t want to go that route, you can also receive notifications by email, by signing up from the right side, dropdown menu. You could also follow me on Twitter, I’m @LucasDeRuyter . Thank you so much for reading and have a kick ass weekend.