Some disturbing details have surfaced regarding the working conditions at Konami Japan, as reported by Japanese economy paper Nikkei. Here is a summary of what they had to say (translated by Kotaku).
- In 2010 Konami shipped Dragon Collection for the mobile platform, which was made on a low budget but earned huge profits. This was a turning point for the company, resulting in a shift from traditional games to cheaper social games.
- The budget for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has surpassed 10 billion yen ($80 million).
- Kojima Productions is now called ‘Number 8 Production Department’. Computers don’t have internet access and can only communicate internally. Head of the new studio is Sadaaki Kaneyoshi, who worked on MGS2 and MGS3.
- When on a lunch break, employees who leave the office are monitored with time cards, their names announced throughout the company if they don’t return in time.
- In the offices, cameras are installed to monitor employees.
- Only staff who have to communicate with people outside the company (such as PR persons) have their own fixed email address. For everyone else, their mail address is randomized and changed every few months.
- If a Konami developer isn’t deemed useful enough, he or she is reassigned duties such as cleaning up at fitness clubs or working as security guards. This also goes for developers who worked on big titles.
- One employee announced on Facebook he was leaving Konami, his social media was subsequently monitored, and those in the company who ‘liked’ it were reshuffled within the company.
- Nikkei has also asked Konami founder Kagemasa Kozuki to comment on this, but they haven’t received an answer (it seems this person is known to avoid contact with the media and colleagues).
- Apparently, the article also states Kojima fell from grace after MGSV was delayed. The whole project probably got too expensive for Konami’s liking.
Earlier this year GameSpot published an article in which an inside source revealed some of the reasons behind Kojima’s rumored departure, and it seems to add up with this new information. If all of this is true, it doesn’t paint a pretty picture for Konami’s gaming division.