We’ve learned that conditions at Konami may in fact be as bad as we’ve all thought, if a report from Japanese outlet Nikkei is anything to go by.
The report covers a wide swath of the current state of the publisher, however the most shocking bits are the pieces of info covering the inner staff, most especially the staff at Kojima Productions.
If true, this report corroborates the previous Gamespot rumor, in which the employees were essentially on lockdown:
- The company has shifted from a focus on traditional, hardcore games, to cheaper, mobile titles – back in 2010. This shift was a result of Konami producing the cheaply made, yet massively profitable mobile title, Dragon Collection.
- The budget for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has exceeded 10 billion yen (roughly $80 million).
- Kojima Productions is now internally known as “Number 8 Production Department.” Its employees’ computers have no internet access, and can only send messages between computers within Konami.
- Employees that vacate the office during lunch break are monitored via time cards. If said employees are late to return, they get made an example of by having their names announced to the entire company.
- Konami has installed cameras in the office corridors to watch and monitor the movements of their employees.
- The majority of Konami employees don’t have a permanent email address – instead, they have their emails randomized every few months, to avoid head-hunting by other companies. Staff who deal with outsiders, like PR, are some of the few with permanent email addresses.
- Developers within Konami who are deemed useless are relocated to non-game positions, like the cleaning staff, the fitness clubs, security guards, or even working at their pachi-slot machine factories. This even includes producers who have previously worked on bigger titles.
- Cited in the Nikkei report is a 2013 report from Asahi News in which a former Konami employee went into manic depression, due to being reassigned to a pachi-slot factory.
- This same former employee announced on Facebook that he was leaving Konami for a new job, upon which Konami monitored his social media post and had any current employee that “liked” it shuffled around in the company.
Lastly, Nikkei has reached out to Konami founder Kagemasa Kozuki for a comment, but hasn’t gotten a response yet. Kagemasa is known to avoid the public, both the media and his corporate rivals.