Konami used to be one of the apex developers of the gaming world. Silent Hill is still a beloved series, though now dead. Metal Gear Solid was the pinnacle of video game storytelling, but they booted its creator, Hideo Kojima, from the company. Castlevania has been haunting consoles since the NES, but has remained in limbo for some time now. As of late, the former glory of Konami has faded, and all that remains is simply a shell of the former gaming behemoth, left cold and empty. Where did everything go wrong? Should we ever trust them for entertainment ever again?
Konami had a powerhouse in the form of the Castlevania series. Having been around since the 80s, the series was beloved by many, including my father and myself. I used to watch him play it for hours way before Twitch was even an idea. The complexity of the later entries was magical and changed how we game. There’s something special about a series that remains 2D for so long.
Castlevania 64 attempted to shift the franchise into the 3D realm with little success. It was a bland game that fell short of its lofty aspirations, but it still warmed my heart to see. I loved the game so much that I even bought the sequel, Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness.
But nothing could prepare anyone for the next step in the Castlevania series — in 2010, a third party made a Castlevania entry alongside Hideo Kojima himself. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow entered into my life and it was very “meh.” Kojima was not enough to transform Castlevania from a beloved 2D adventure into a 3D God of War clone.
This was my first indication that things were not as they seemed within Konami.
Where do I start with the great series, Silent Hill? How about with the last true entry into the series, Silent Hill 4: The Room. Unlike the 2003 film The Room, this game’s story was less memorable. Silent Hill 4: The Room was the last of the series made by Team Silent, which disbanded after its release. This truly was when Konami‘s survival horror title died.
In the coming years, third party development teams would spew out raw sewage passed off as Silent Hill games. It was just more nails to drive into the coffin of the once terrific (in both senses of the word) franchise. The final nail in the coffin was the release of the Silent Hill Pachinko machine. This was a slap in the face of fans, seeing the game mutated and degraded into a Pachinko machine.
However, the biggest upset actually came just before the Pachinko machine. Silent Hills was meant to be the latest entry into the series, brought to us by the one and only Hideo Kojima alongside legendary film director Guillermo del Toro. Silent Hills came to us first as a “P.T.” (“Playable Trailer”) demo, locked away behind various puzzles. Konami killed it in 2015, right before they brought out the Pachinko machine. The cancellation was the result of the split between Konami and Kojima. This was like your parents getting a divorce, and we all went with the cooler parent. Let’s all hope Death Stranding is everything we would have gotten from Silent Hills.
The biggest let down from Konami is not just how they handled the fall out with Hideo Kojima, but his magnum opus, Metal Gear. Of all the games that you could list for top ten of all time, I am sure at least one of the series’s games would be on that list. There is something quirky and special about Metal Gear Solid, my first Metal Gear game. The creativity behind the game is off the charts, and there’s no other game quite like it in my mind that best represents the PlayStation era.
Over the years, we have gotten Metal Gear after Metal Gear, all great titles that are fun to play. The amount of love poured into each game shows — all except for one. After Kojima’s departure from Konami, Metal Gear Survive reared its ugly head.
Metal Gear Survive is a zombie survival title that took everything we loved from Metal Gear and threw it out the window. Speaking about this game makes me angry. You have to buy save slots and pretty much every upgrade with real money, ’nuff said.
Konami had an announcement planned for E3 2019, which had gamers on the edge of their seats. The announcement could have been anything! The stage was set for another Silent Hill, or another entry into the Castlevania series, which last saw a mobile game announcement. The company literally could have dropped any game, new or existing IP, and had fans be curious and want it. What we got was far less interesting.
I am a pretty old-school gamer, and being in my thirties I’ve seen quite a few consoles in my time. Let’s be honest and ask: who even knows anything about the TurboGrafx-16? It was crushed in the console wars during the time of 16-bit consoles. The TurboGrafx-16 had only a handful of titles worth owning. The only TurboGrafx-16 game I had was Keith Courage in Alpha Zones — it was included with the system, and it was not a very good one.
The big announcement from Konami was the mini version of the TurboGrafx-16. Yeah, that was the highlight. Hopefully it doesn’t come with another copy of Keith Courage in Alpha Zones.
Konami‘s beloved IPs have been hugely neglected, and they cut ties with Hideo Kojima, who honestly provided them with their best games. They failed to save the Silent Hill franchise, actually cancelling what should’ve been it’s revival. The final straw was trying to milk a mini console with a very poor selection of games.
I am not saying that Konami as a whole is bad, they just need to take their most loved series back to the drawing board and listen to what fans are asking of them. For now, anything they try to toss our way should most likely be ignored, excluding their very popular Football series, PES.
Here’s hoping that Konami gets it together and starts giving fans what they want. (But also leave Metal Gear alone, please.)