Die, monster! You don’t belong in this world!
Konami, I used to love you. Really, I did. Wanna know how many of your games I love the tits off of? I’ll give a quick few titles off the top of my head, and these are just some of the ones I own - Silent Hill 1-4 (and Homecoming, I’m the only one that likes Homecoming), Rocket Knight Adventures, Metal Gear 1 and 2, MGS 1-4, Gradius 3 and 5, and TURTLES IN TIME, SON.
And again, that’s just off the top of my head. Once upon a time, you guys were making some of the best games in the hippo-hugging universe. But then, I’m assuming somewhere in the late 00’s, something went horribly wrong.
Team Silent was disbanded, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. The history of the Silent Hill series is well known - it was something of a happy accident, made possible because of a few highly talented (though underperforming) creative types that were assembled to come up with an answer for Resident Evil. Your corporate overlords gave them a concept to work with, and they were struggling with it. Instead, they came right back with their own idea: “We want to make what we like.” And somehow, completely contrary to the Konami of today, someone in the corporate hierarchy said, “Go for it.” And as a result, we have one of the most beloved horror franchises in gaming. On its worst days, its legacy stands toe-to-toe with that of Resident Evil. On its best, it surpasses it. Your B-Team answered the call and made something amazing.
So what did you do with the legacy they created? You broke up its creators and whored their franchise out to a bunch of third-rate western develops who understand Silent Hill worse than alcoholics understand restraint.
Metal Gear is an amazing series, too. It has some lacklustre spin-offs, sure, but the core series is nothing short of incredible. Hideo Kojima single-handedly kept your company afloat while you let a pack of buffoons organize a press conference everybody laughed at, and he did it on the back of Metal Gear. But Kojima is an auteur, and a true artist in every sense. Every bone in his body wanted to end the series, at multiple points, but out of sheer loyalty, he stuck with the franchise. To compensate his efforts, surely you gave him prominence in the company similar to what Nintendo has given Miyamoto, right?
Not so much. While nobody outside the Konami Pachinko and Slot Machine Corporation knows the full story, the impression most of us have is that he pissed in someone’s Wheaties, and that someone threw a temper tantrum so bad, they’ve decided to dismantle everything Kojima and his studio built.
But the Metal Gear franchise must be going strong, right? Well...
How many MGS collections have been released? There was that PS2 collection that inexplicably did not have the MSX versions of MG1 and 2 that were originally included with Subsistence. Then we had that HD collection, released on the same day as Modern Fucking Warfare 2, that nobody could find a burger-flipping copy of anywhere. I was working at EB Games when that launched - your trained monkeys sent my store ONE copy, despite us having five pre-orders for the Limited Edition and three for the base version. We received ONE copy of the Limited Edition over two weeks after launch. And then after that, you release ANOTHER HD Collection, as a slap in the face to the people who bought the previous release just a year or two prior.
[Author’s note: My brother tells me that the PS2 collection DOES come with MG1 and MG2, but I’m pretty sure he’s remembering wrong, and that he actually played my copy of Subsistence, not his. But if he’s right, then I am wrong.]
And after all that, what do you do? You have the gall to release a $40, 90-minute demo of a game with a TBA release date. A fifth instalment of a series its creator no longer has any desire to make. You shuttlecocking what?
And at that point, I decided I was done with your company. I have no issue supporting the resale market, especially when it comes to games made while your company didn’t remind me of roadkill, but I vowed never again to buy a Konami product with the current direction you seemed to be headed in.
But it got even worse.
Now, my chronology of events is a little muddy, but I need to bring up the Silent Hill HD collection. The sheer lack of understanding in regards to the making of that collection is just baffling. I implore you, Konami, read any article worth a damn that details what made Silent Hill 2 so great. Make sure to read the complaints, too. Now, go back, and let me know how many said, “The voice acting is bad, and the fog? That’s gotta go.” Wait, none of them? Strange. So why’d you replace the setting-appropriate voiceovers with actors that didn’t really want to be there, and why did you replace the imposing fog with unfinished textures? Guy Cihi may not be dead yet, but may his ghost forever haunt you. (PS, Guy Cihi is evidently better at voice acting than Kagemasa Kōzuki is at running a business).
Then we got super-excited! You announced a thing called Silent Hills, and you released something called P.T. that the internet universally loved! Everything was going great! We were all drooling dollar bills, ready to pre-order the heck out of it!
And then you fucked up.
You cancelled Silent Hills, without even so much as a soft fart claiming to be an explanation. You scraped “Kojima’s Office” off the door to Kojima’s office. You pulled the best piece of interactive entertainment you have made in nearly a decade off a storefront that would have happily hosted it for years to come. The sheer thought of any human being having any kind of enjoyment so greatly offended you, you had to do this.
And then Super Bunnyhop comes along. He’s a great guy, you should check out his videos. He’s one of the few journalists in gaming that neither embraces Dew and Doritos trafficking (IGN and Gamespot), nor self-righteous social commentary that is only mildly concerned about the thoughts and feelings of people outside their own social circle (Kotaku and Polygon). He’s got a great number of videos, featuring some phenomenal journalism, and while his viewership is pitiful next to the TotalBiscuits and Caddicarisesueses of the internet, he still puts out top-notch stuff with negligible financial benefit to himself. He had the nerve to share the insight of a colleague of his regarding the clusterfuck that is corporate Konami...
And you hit him with a copyright claim.
Not an automated, “Dat’s mah shit!” robot design to troll the internet for potential copyright abuse, no, we’re talking an intentional, “That’ll show HIM!” takedown written up by a cowardly human being with a spine made of Jello.
So to wrap this whole thing up, Konami, I’m sad to see you go. You’re dying a slow death, making a lengthy slide down the incline your corporate snail once climbed. You are complacently gliding down the same trail of snot you created. And for what? For what benefit? For the prestige of casino games with decrepit invalids attached, and for mobile games nobody asked for? What a way to piss away a fine legacy.
I will remember you, of course. It might sadden you to hear this, but you can’t delete my cartridges and discs from existence. Alas, at this point, your name is but a voice on the wind. You will be like Seibu Kaihatsu, something I remember fondly, but something I know I will never see again.
But before you go, I beg of you... Please, Konami... Please sell your properties to someone that knows how to make video games. Sure, write a clause in the deal that lets you slap Simon Belmont’s face on a slot machine. Go for it. But at the end of the day, when you die your inevitable death, I don’t want Castlevania and Silent Hill and Contra going with you: I want them safely in the hands of Nintendo, Atlus, 2K, and other developers and publishers that are still relevant and talented.
Oh, and fuck Konami. <3