No one has been able to quite figure out what’s been going on with Koanmi of late. From the departure of Hideo Kojima, the cancellation of Silent Hills and a new President who seems focused on the mobile platform, we just haven’t been quite able to make sense of what is going on behind the company’s doors.
The Japanese publisher has finally emerged though and is trying to explain the seeming turmoil the company has been in the last few months. In a letter to Polygon, which featured parts of an interview with President of Konami, Hideki Hayakawa from an interview with Japanese outlet Nikkei Trendy Net, it was explained that while the publisher will have a focus on mobile, that doesn’t mean its console games are going anywhere:
We often hear the term ‘mobile first,’ and I want to specify that Konami’s idea of mobile first is not at all to focus purely on mobile game. Our aim is to continue to build up a comprehensive portfolio of console, arcade, and card game titles for each IP while also making the best possible use of the mobile devices that accompany our customers in their daily life.
He then went on to explain that a lot of the personnel changes at the company were due to changes in the way production is going to work now, with a clear line between creative and management.
Until now, in addition to game development duties, our creators were handling a wide range of responsibilities including managerial roles. This can be a helpful approach when a studio concentrates on progressively specializing in a specific style of product, but we have found that a sudden market shift can render that specialization invalid and leave the studio unable to keep up.
We faced difficulties in taking advantage of market shifts in areas such as licensing, with expansion of IPs outside of the games themselves, and also in leveraging IPs between different devices such as from consoles to the mobile platform.
Based on these lessons, we have changed our approach to instead have managerial staff thoroughly focus on strategy and how their individual skills can be best applied, with that strategy then being executed together with the creative staff.
Basically, what Hayakawa is saying is that, the company still plans to make console games with it’s IP, but it’s interested in expanding them into other things like films and apps for mobile.
I can’t say that is overly encouraging if you are a traditionalist and a fan of, say, Silent Hill console games. But hey, at least they aren’t abandoning the consoles all together as some predicted.
At least the company has come out, addressed these concerns head on and explained what has been going on behind the scenes. This seems more like a huge shift in company focus as opposed to the sky falling. That is encouraging at least.