We ran a story a couple of weeks back about your increasing focus on western markets – how do you plan to do this? Do you think licensed products is a key element of this?
We will decide this on an ongoing basis. Ultimately, the games we produce must be of a suitably high quality and if that works within a movie licence or an other endorsed property, then so be it. We are no strangers to working with big brands – Yu-Gi-Oh!, Winx Club, and so on – and are working closely with Guillermo Del Toro for our new HellBoy game, but are always on the look for new areas to work in.
Konami has a relatively small number of games on its schedule – what is the thinking behind this strategy?
Quality is vital to Konami. Games such as Pro Evolution Soccer are built to the highest possible quality. To see the sheer amount of information that goes into making sure each player mimics the movements of their real-life counterpart is incredible, and Producers such as Koji Igareshi and Hideo Kojima are equally determined to get the most out of every title they produce.
Are there particular formats you are targeting at the moment? What is your overall strategy in terms of how your release schedule is weighted towards certain consoles?
We actually have a very balanced schedule, with key franchises released for pretty much all the major formats. We do not favour any particular format over another, but tend to produce games that work best for that system – Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 for Nintendo Wii is a perfect example of this.
We could have produced a fairly simple conversion of the existing Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 code, but chose instead to build a bespoke version that pushed the hardware to its limits, with Wii Remote and Mii functionality.
Likewise, Metal Gear Portable Ops Plus for Sony’s PlayStation Portable couldn’t be done on any other format but the PSP, as it uses elements unique to that specific piece of hardware.
We basically just want to innovate and create strong games that make the most of the host console, with Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of Patriots we are pushing the PlayStation 3 while New International Track and Field has been built to make the most of the Nintendo DS hardware and touch screen abilities.