Over the past few months, Konami has found themselves in a PR nightmare fueled by a rash of unexplainable and seemingly insane decisions. First they removed Hideo Kojima's name form Metal Gear Solid V, much to the gaming world's disdain. This decision sparked rumors that Kojima might have been fired from, or resigned from, Konami's development group. This decision was quickly reversed, with Kojima's name returning to the game.
Next came the cancelation of one of the most anticipated games, Silent Hills, another Kojima title and the latest entry in the Silent Hill franchise. The game was to be a partnership between Kojima and Gullermo del Toro. The game also featured The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus as the main character, both in voice and appearance. This cancelation led to more rumors about Kojima's departure from the company, a rumor which Konami has not refuted.
In a letter to Ars Technica in an attempt to explain what has happened, Konami PR Director Jay Boor said,
Konami, as a company, underwent a major structural reorganization in March this year. The aim of this reform has been to guarantee that, in the quickly-changing digital entertainment industry where new game designs and platforms constantly alter the market environment, we can accurately observe new customer demands and market trends, and apply our long-established technology and knowhow quickly and effectively with a range of targeted responses.
While this explains what is happening to the structure of the company, it doesn't explain the future of the two franchises in question. Boor addressed this as well, saying,
We have nurtured them with care over many years since their inception, and will continue to produce products for both franchises, but we are not currently at a stage where we can announce the path these future titles will take.
Continuing, Boor included a full translation of the article that led many English publications to believe that Konami was abandoning console and arcade gaming in favor of a "mobile first" focus. The clarifying statement says,
Recently we often hear the term 'Mobile First,' and I want to specify that Konami's idea of Mobile First is not at all to focus purely on mobile games. Our aim is to continue to build up a comprehensive portfolio of console, arcade, and card game titles for each IP while also making the best possible use of the mobile devices that accompany our customers in their daily life, thus expanding the limits of entertainment and appealing to more and more customers.
The issue now becomes whether or not this is actually Konami's intentions. It could be that this is an attempt to fix a PR disaster that is damaging the perception of the people who will keep their doors open: gamers. If they lose the respect or trust of the gamers through odd or unexplainable decisions, there could be no recovering. Hopefully this is more than just a dodge - hopefully either this was all a big misunderstanding or Konami has learned from their mistakes and is righting the ship. It is likely that E3 this year will give us a better picture of the real future of the company.