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Japanese report says Konami is a deeply unhappy workplace

scathing profile by Nikkei portrays Konami as a workplace riven by suspicion and terrible morale, and where the sizable development cost of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is the final straw in the company's shift to cheaper and more profitable mobile games.

Some of what Nikkei reports has been heard before, Kotaku points out, but most of it highlights a workplace where employee movement is monitored by camera and developers are reassigned to menial jobs if they're considered no longer useful.

Of Metal Gear Solid 5, Nikkei says Kojima Productions is now internally named "Number 8 Production Department," and that the game's development has gone past $80 million. Konami began reorienting itself toward mobile games development in 2010, Nikkei said, after the mobile game Dragon Collection became a huge hit. Seeing that it was making plenty of money without high development costs, Konami's bosses started moving the company away from traditional console and PC-based games.

Konami and Hideo Kojima, who has worked at the company for nearly 30 years, are widely believed to be splitting publicly once Metal Gear Solid 5 launches Sept. 1. The company has been scrubbing Kojima and Kojima Productions' names from all official company presences, including the box art for Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Silent Hills, the next edition of the horror franchise to be developed by Kojima Productions, was abruptly canceled in April, and P.T., the game's "playable teaser" was removed from the PlayStation Store, with no means of redownloading for those who had already acquired it.

Officially, Konami has said it has undergone a major reorganization and that it remains committed to console and PC game development. Comments by the president of Konami Digital Entertainment, to Nikkei, in April said the company had adopted a "mobile first" posture, judging it to be the dominant platform for the future. Hideki Hayakawa, the new Konami Digital president, said he came to that realization in 2010 while he was the executive producer for Dragon Collection.

The Nikkei report is full of other harrowing details, including a workplace where employees who linger on lunch breaks too long have their names announced throughout the company. The article linked is in Japanese; fluent speakers at Kotaku and elsewhere have translated its relevant contents.

E3 2015 trailer: Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain

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