When it comes go video game developers, few have the storied legacy of Japanese developer Konami. The company started manufacturing games in 1978 with a focus on arcade cabinets, hitting their stride in 1981 with the release of Frogger. The company continued to produce popular arcade games, but the release of Nintendo’s Famicom changed the video game landscape. Konami would go on to develop some of the bestselling titles on that system, including Castelvania, Contra, and Metal Gear.
The developer isn’t as prominent in recent years, but Konami’s AAA games still have a large impact on the industry. The recent release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain saw plenty of positive reviews, with many sites rewarding the game a perfect score. The game is currently sitting at 93 on Metacritic, one of the highest scores of any game released this year.
However, Konami’s future in AAA game development is unclear. Reports recently surfaced indicating that Julien Merceron, the director of Konami’s Fox engine, had left the company. Additionally, it was revealed that the company has no AAA games slated for development outside of Pro Evolution Soccer 2016. The future of franchises like Castlevania, Metal Gear and Silent Hill seemed grim.
Thankfully, Konami has refuted these rumors. Speaking with Nintendo Life, a representative of Konami stated that the company is not giving up their popular franchises.
“I can promise you that we’re definitely not leaving ‘Metal Gear’ behind or anything like that. I know some blogs were claiming that online this morning, but I’m not really sure where they’d be getting that from. We’re definitely working on console games and franchises such as ‘Metal Gear,’ ‘Silent Hill,’ ‘Castlevania,’ ‘PES’ and all the rest.”
Though the company has once again denied rumors that they’re moving away from console development, there are plenty of indications that Konami is in turmoil. Rumors first began after an in depth examination of the company’s gaming department revealed horrendous working conditions for their employees. Game developers and designers were monitored on all of their breaks and those who were deemed useless or lazy were reassigned to jobs as security guards or custodial staff.
Additionally, Konami has made big changes to their release calendar. The cancellation of the upcoming game Silent Hills came as a disappointment to many excited fans, especially after the success of the game’s incredible demo P.T. The cancellation soured Guillermo del Toro on the prospect of video game development entirely, eliminating the possibility of his future involvement in the series. The biggest change was the company parting ways with Hideo Kojima, the creator and producer of the Metal Gear franchise. Konami removed his name from Metal Gear Solid V‘s marketing material and indicated he would not be involved in future installments, seeming to indicate the end of the long-running series.
Despite the evidence, Konami has remained adamant over the last few months that they are not giving up on console development. As of right now, the company is preparing to launch Metal Gear Online, the online multiplayer component of the recently released Metal Gear Solid V. What the company has planned afterward is unclear, but fans of Castlevania and Silent Hill can continue to hold on to the hope they’ll see new installments in the coming years.
Metal Gear Online is available to Metal Gear V: The Phantom Pain owners on October 6th, 2016.