Nikkei report paints bleak picture of life at Konami

The troubles at Konami could run deeper than just a rift with the creator of Metal Gear Solid, if new reports from Japan are to be believed.

Kotaku has translated a story in business paper Nikkei that claims a decline in relations between Konami and its staff began in 2010 following the success of mobile title Dragon Collection. Its huge profits and low development costs caused management to rethink the appeal of the traditional games market.

It also reckons that the development costs of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain have now reached $80m.

The report goes on to claim that Kojima Productions has been renamed ‘Number 8 Production Department’, reiterating reports we’ve heard before about the team’s computers being cut off from the internet. There are also allegations about monitored lunchtime usage, and claims that the names of those who stay away from the office for too long are announced to the whole company.

It also makes the remarkable allegation that cameras have been installed throughout Konami’s offices that are designed simply to monitor the movements of staff.

That’s not even the worst of it, however. The report says that the company reassigns developers to seemingly random tasks such as security and cleaning – and that this has happened to senior producers, too.

And apparently one worker who announced their plans to leave Konami on Facebook started to have their internal post monitored, and all those who had ‘liked’ the post were reshuffled into other roles.

It all seems pretty sensational, but Nikkei is not known for exaggeration. It isn’t always right, of course, but has at timed been criticised for too eagerly accepting company messaging – making these claims all the more remarkable.

Konami has previously stressed that, despite rumours, it is not becoming a mobile-only gamed company. The specifics regarding the fallout between Hideo Kojima and the publisher remain unknown.

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