Japanese economy newspaper Nikkei has gone up with a report on the current state of affairs within Metal Gear Solid and Pro Evolution publisher Konami. And it all sounds pretty bad.
There’s a lot to digest, but here’s the summary:
- Culture at the company shifted from traditional, hardcore games to cheaper, social titles in 2010 when Konami shipped a mobile game called Dragon Collection, which earned huge profit at a low budget.
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain‘s development budget has surpassed 10 billion yen ($80 million).
- Kojima Productions is now known as “Number 8 Production Department.” Its computers have no internet access and can only send messages between internal computers.
- Employees that leave the office during lunch beak are monitored with time cards. Those who return late have their names announced throughout the company.
- There are cameras in the office corridors to monitor the movements of Konami’s employees.
- Most Konami employees don’t have their own permanent company e-mail addresses. Staff who deal with people outside the company, such as public relations, do, however, everyone else’s e-mail is routinely randomized and changed every few months.
- Konami developers who aren’t seen as useful are reassigned duties such as security guards, cleaning staff at fitnes clubs, or roles at pachi-slot machine factories. This includes producers who worked on big titles. In 2013, Japanese newspaper Asahi News reported on a former Konami employee who allegedly went from development to working in a Konami pachi-slot factory, which led him into severe depression.
- After announcing on Facebook that he was leaving Konami for a new job, Konami monitored said former employee’s social media post and reshuffled those within the company that “Liked” it.
Nikkei has repeatedly reached out to Konami founder Kagemasa Kozuki for comment, but never heard back. Kagemasa is apparently known to avoid others, both among media and his corporate peers. He and others at companies like Nintendo and Sega allegedly used to help each other out, but has apparently since become very distant.