If you’re a video game fan at all, you probably already know that things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows between Hideo Kojima and his former employer, Konami. Between Konami’s shift to mobile games and Kojima’s declaration that he was ending the Metal Gear Solid franchise, things got messy fast. …And they just keep getting messier.
First, Konami appeared to bury Kojima, removing his name from The Phantom Pain. There was a sort of Schrödinger’s Cat situation for a while, when no one was sure whether Kojima had left Konami or not. Then Kojima Productions appeared, and his former employees at Konami were funneled over to the new studio. The line was that they were “on loan” and weren’t being headhunted.
As it happened, Kojima’s old team — and Konami as a whole — were undergoing some changes that made working there undesirable. From having their internet connection completely severed to having their break time heavily critiqued, employees were finding that their time at the company was getting less and less enjoyable.
But their time away from it has started getting just as bad. “Ex-Kons” can’t speak to press about their treatment without legal action, and Konami has also told them that they may not put their time at the company on any résumés once they leave. Allegedly this is true across the industry, but Kojima employees in particular appear to be getting burned.
Two months ago, according to Japanese newspaper Nikkei Asian Review, an ex-Kon working for Kojima was denied health care from ITS Kenpo, which focuses on gaming industry employees. Allegedly, it is because a Konami board member is also an ITS Kenpo board member.
Konami has not responded to the various recent allegations.
Of course, it’s unfortunate that we’re losing a lot of potentially cool games — but it’s even sadder to see how employees are being affected.
What are your feelings on this situation? Let us know in the comments.