Our chums at Eurogamer are lending their trusted backing to recent claims that publisher Konami are beating a swift retreat from big budget land for a while, even though everyone and their D-Dog seems to be playing Metal Gear Solid V. Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 is out now and Metal Gear Online is still due for release, but if reports are to be believed everything else is getting dropped like a very expensive hot potato.
The rumours arose from French site Gameblog, which claims both that “all current console projects have been stopped or canceled by the new management” and that worldwide technology director Julien Merceron (lead on MGS’ excellent Fox Engine, also used by PES) has parted company with Konami due to an increased focus on mobile games. No new Metal Gear game is in the pipeline, allegedly, which the reports claim are less to do with MGS lead Hideo Kojima leaving Konami and more to do with money. MGSV is alleged to have cost some $80m, which isn’t as much as some games – especially given how well it turned out – but is nonetheless an eywatering sum, a not insubstantial amount of which would have gone towards MGS’ arguably overblown cutscenes and other frippery.
Wesley at long-time RPS allies Eurogamer writes that “he understands both reports to be true”, which is endorsement enough for me to not go sprinkling quite as much salt on this as I do most rumours. IGN also claim that their sources confirm the rumours.
Not long ago, the Kojima-led Silent Hills was cancelled (though a PC version was never announced), which may well be a reflection of these changes. (Although they did, rather bittersweetly, release a Silent Hills pachinko shortly after the cancellation announcement.)
Konami did publicly acknowledge earlier in the year that mobile would become their “main platform”, so this isn’t an enormous surprise in some ways. It’s also worth nothing that the majority of Konami’s revenue doesn’t come from either home or mobile gaming – the likes of coinslots, Pachinko machines and health and fitness tech make up around half their cash. But mobile seems to be where they’re looking to for the future, even noting back in May that “We hope that our overseas games such as MGSV and Winning Eleven continue to do well, but we are always thinking about how to push our franchises onto mobile there too.”
As a new convert I don’t like the idea that MGS is potentially going away for a long, long time, but I guess everything depends on exactly how well MGSV does over the months to come.