Rumor got out yesterday that Konami had shuttered Kojima Productions Los Angeles, the studio responsible for much of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and today, the company confirms that it has indeed happened. Kojima Productions Los Angeles is no more, leaving even more questions about where Konami will be heading into the future.
The studio had only been open for two years as a result of Konami looking to branch into Western game development. Now, Konami will be reorganizing its resources more centrally, which has been its position throughout the controversy it has been in all year. Losing Hideo Kojima, cancelling Silent Hills, focusing less on its classic franchises and more on mobile gaming.
If you’re a gamer, you’ve heard about it this year, no doubt.
Konami has made the decision to close its Los Angeles Studio, effective immediately, due to the product development resources being restructured into a more centralized unit. This facility contributed to the recent Metal Gear Solid games. Konami will continue its operations to support all Metal Gear Solid titles, including the recently launched Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and Metal Gear Online. Metal Gear Online is still scheduled to release for PC Steam in January 2016.
So, it seems like the vast opportunities and expansions westward that Konami originally saw are no longer happening. 2012 and 2013, back when Kojima Productions first opened, was a much different time, though.
The older consoles weren’t as expensive to develop for or as risky as they are today. Capcom hadn’t yet proven the uphill battle of trying to break into western development. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 hadn’t bombed yet. The mobile gaming scene didn’t have Japan on lockdown, and the Japanese console market was in a bit of an identity crisis with everyone trying to be more like “the West.”
Nowadays, Square Enix, Bandai Namco and Capcom have proven that sticking to proven Japanese formulas works, and they seem a bit more confident in their traditional approaches than they did two or three years ago. Meanwhile, Konami has tasted the sweet nectar of mobile profits and pachinko machines, and it wants to pursue that instead of AAA development. A lot changes over two years.
Kick, scream, and point fingers all you want. This is the path Konami has chosen. Sucks for gamers, but that’s just how the Snake uncoils.