Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei published an article on the company, and it sure doesn’t paint a pretty picture of what’s going on, with staff working in terrible conditions, often seeing their positions changed for minor things.
Freelance Japanese localiser Thomas James translated the Nikkei article (which also required an account) to share the details of the post, and things sure as hell don’t look right.
First off, as of April $80 million+ has been spent on the development of Metal Gear Solid V according to Nikkei. This could have something to do with the very publicly known, yet still secretive Konami vs. Kojima fallout, and the breakdown of Kojima Productions. However that is the least concerning issue raised.
Well known creators at the company have been packing up and leaving, with development of many games having been stalled indefinitely as Konami founder Kagemasa is “not keen on increasing budget for console games with diminishing returns.” Employees feel that the turning point was around 2010 with the Dragon Collection for mobile which cost less than $1 million to make but made Konami crap tons of monies.
Continuing, as we have heard before Konami have restricted internet access to employees to, as their representative claimed, give their “undivided attention to development”. With that the Nikkei report says that employees emailing outsiders use randomised email addresses that are changed regularly. It is unknown if this is throughout the entire company, but it is the case with departments like sales.
Employees are required to use timecards when going on lunch, and anyone who exceeds their time are “outed within company.” Any employees who have been “deemed useless” find themselves reassigned from their regular position to other positions such as security guard detail and cleanup at Konami’s fitness clubs. These are not just regular employees either, but producers and creators.
One of the larger “reassignments ” to happen was when an employee posted on Facebook that he was leaving and heading to another company. Anyone who liked it found themselves reassigned.
Nikkei has reached out several times to Kagemasa, to no reply. This in itself is nothing new as Kagemasa is known for keeping behind closed curtains, however he has even been keeping away from other companies who he had close relationships with, such as Nintendo and Sega.
The more we hear, the worse things are looking for Konami, and while we might not want to see Kojima away from Metal Gear, if reports are true then maybe he is best off being as far away as he can be.