Konami, Konami, Konami, so we meet again. You are, quite frankly, the shining example of how to take a successful business (one with lots of good reputation among the gaming community) and flush it all down the toilet. Now, don’t get me wrong, you’re making a killing in the mobile market, so much so that you have abandoned the core gamers. You know, I don’t really begrudge you for that, after all, that’s where the money is apparently. Even so, I’d love it if you made more core games though, the “Castlevania”, “Metal Gear Solid” and “Zone of the Enders” games would be nice, but still, it’s fine. However, going so far as to blacklist your former employees (“Ex-Kons” as they’re called) is just too much.

Well, that and denying health coverage for current employees, which is totally disgusting.

See, a director of Konami is also the guy who heads an insurance company called ITS Kempo, which is supposed to provide insurance for people in the gaming industry. I mean, it’s not fishy or anything that ITS Kempo doesn’t give “Kons”, as they’re called, insurance or anything. No? Well, it most definitely is fishy as hell. It’s against the law for the chairman of an insurance agency to unilaterally decide if people from a company get a health insurance or not in Japan.

We know the history of Konami’s relations with Hideo Kojima (one of the people who helped put Konami on the map), so I don’t think I need to get into that matter here. However, if you’re curious to know more about Kojima’s departure from Konami, then you could always read through the following articles:

How Konami lost it’s ways
The downfall of Konami

And then there’s the whole blacklisting thing. Anyone who’s struggled to find work, ever, can tell you, the mere THOUGHT of being blacklisted is scary enough, but finding out that a company goes out of its way to prevent “ex-Kons” from finding further work in the gaming industry is just deplorable. It’s so bad that some “ex-Kons” have tried taking up work in other fields for a while just to try and throw Konami off their trail.

Even if it’s not illegal to have black-lists (though I personally think that it should be illegal) it’s highly unethical and flat-out disturbing to see a company that published such awesome video games like Contra, Gradius among others, do stuff like that to their former employees. I would also like to point out that anyone who played the card game “Yu-Gi-Oh“, should have seen this coming for years. As Konami screwed that game up in ways that shouldn’t have been possible.

Personally, I quit playing “Yu-Gi-Oh” back in 2011, and from what I’ve seen, it’s a good thing I did. The real question we should be asking is this: “How long has Konami been doing these crappy practices?” After all, they’ve had the same person in command of Konami since 1973.

***Second opinion by Robin Ek***

When I wrote my “The downfall of Konami” OP back in 2015 (August, 2015 to be exact). I honestly didn’t think that Konami could possibly become much worse than they already are. Well, I was wrong. So in less time than two years Konami has gone from a really bad state to an even worse state (that alone should be humanly impossible), and on a personal level, this sure hit home with me. “And why is that?” So you might wonder.

Well, I’ve grown up playing a lot of Konami’s old games (titles such as “Castlevania“, “Super Contra”, “Life Force“, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, “Silent Hill” and “Metal Gear Solid”). Furthermore, I have also sold quite a lot of Konami games over the years when I worked in retail in Sweden. So I got to know a handful of people from Konami (sales and PR folks), but back then (mid 90s and between 2004 and 2009) Konami didn’t have the problems that they do today (at least not to my knowledge).

alpha omega sin fuck you konami

I can’t say that I feel much different about Konami today.

Nevertheless, the fact still remains that today’s version of Konami is just a shadow of its former self (the old Konami has been dead for years now). So I truly believe that Hideo Kojima (Hideo left konami by the end of 2015) and Akira Yamaoka (Akira left Konami in 2009) did the right thing to leave Konami. As it has now become very crystal clear that it’s a pure horror experience to work at Konami (you can read about some of those awful experiences in the “Konami exodus” post by asia.nikkei.com).

norman reedus trolls konami after kojima productions death stranding announcement

Norman Reedus and Kojima trolled Konami a whole lot with this picture last year (2016, June).

So one might wonder for how much longer Konami will be able to stay afloat? Because not only are they bleeding talent, but their bad reputation has caught up with them as well…And I hardly doubt that they will be able to live off their mobile money forever. Especially not if people don’t even want to work for them anymore (no workers, no games, or at best, very poorly made ones, due to horrible working conditions and lack of bonuses and whatnot), and who could blame them really?

Because the following is said to be true about the relationship between Konami and it’s ex-employees:

1. Denying pay owed to Kojima
2. Colluding to deny health coverage
3. Blacklisting ex-employees
4.  It’s said that ex Konami employees can’t put their years of experience with the company on their resumes, because if they do, then Konami will sue them

takuya kozuki ceo of konami

If you want to blame someone for Konami´s bad decisions, then Takuya Kozuki is your guy.

So I think it’s safe to say that there is no chance in hell that Konami is going to win the “best employer of the year” award anytime soon. In other words, it would be a very good idea for Konami’s current employees to leave the company as soon as possible (that’s what I would have done). As for Konami itself, the company is pretty much dead in my eyes, because most of the people that I’m a fan off left the company years ago. So I can’t really show them any support on my behalf anymore, because not only do they treat their employees like trash, but they also treat their fans badly as well.

And with that said, what’s your take on this matter? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section down below!

Robin Ek – Editor

The Konami exodus (via asia.nikkei.com)
Mark Kern
Best Mom Eva
Former Konami employees blacklisted across industry

More information:
The downfall of Konami
How Konami lost it’s way – Part 1
Norman Reedus trolls Konami
Hideo Kojima is rumored to leave Konami after MGS5
Konami and Square Enix are greedy to the max

tgg author avatar Phil Weigel
Phil Weigel
The Gaming Ground
Twitter: @SilverScarCat

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18 Comments ON " An open letter to Konami and its fans – The ... "
  • Funtime Happysnacks

    I just want to clarify that what Konami did to Kojima (wiping his name from all his games after he got on bad terms with the company) is actually standard policy for their company. If you fuck up or do something Konami doesn’t like, you don’t get to have your credits on your game.

    Murayama-san, the brilliant mind behind Suikoden 1-3, chose to leave Konami around the time of the third game’s release (early 2000s), stating that he felt like two major successes and ten years at Konami was enough for him. He still contributed heavily to Suikoden 3, however he was not allowed to be credited due to his choice to leave– he claimed this didn’t bother him “as it was just policy despite others disliking it”. Murayama was actually requested to return to Konami on at least one occasion around 2010, and mused on his site about it;

    “I received an offer from a certain company.
    Although I’m extremely thankful, the idea left me very troubled, personally. Should I accept it or not?
    Even now, it still concerns me.
    What’s to be done about this…?
    They say the Rubicon is a very small river. I wonder what it felt like to cross?
    That’s my current mood.”

    Obviously just through this you can see the extreme hesitation he had to return, even as someone who didn’t end his relationship with Konami on a bad note.

    • Thank you for adding this information, because I did not know about the part that concerned Murayama-san and his decision to leave Konami.

      • Funtime Happysnacks

        He has clarified in an interview that he and the other former members of the Suikoden dev team still “meet for beers” from time to time, at least.

        • I’m glad to hear that, because most of these Konami horror stories don’t always have a happy ending.

    • Niche’s Commenting Regulars

      Hypothetically speaking, had he went to picked up the reward would he been blacklisted from game development? What kind of pressure could they mount on him? I know Johnny and Associate’s being a ruthless monopoly for boy bands and that is a foundation on my theory that had Kojima accepted the award he would have difficulty hiring people, getting office and ad space and other things because he is considered a “renegade”

      • Funtime Happysnacks

        He couldn’t physically go to the VGAs because he was literally locked in an office POW style at Konami.

        • Niche’s Commenting Regulars

          Not really, he could have just say “I quit” and do the classic burn all bridges. But that is what is going to happen is he can say goodbye to working in the games industry for good.

          You should read this book, this isn’t at all unfamiliar with how Hollywood works


  • Jon Harvey

    Can you sue someone for putting “worked at Company X from Y till Z” on a resume? Is that legal in Japan? I mean, I understand not wanting unannounced projects leaked etc but they seem to be doing it for even mentioning the company name. Do we know their BS justification for this?

    • I have mailed my lawyer about that, because I don’t think that’s legal to do anywhere in the world. My guess is that it would make it much harder for the said person to get a job in the games industry. So it’s done because Konami fears that info about them might be leaked or used by a competitor in the same industry as them.

      • Jon Harvey

        Any existing law has to be for company secrets, unannounced projects etc I’d assume, not for “I worked on a game that’s already released. You can buy it and see my name in the credits”. They’re probably just relying on the fact that you’d need DEEP pockets to fight with them in court. They know that they can tie a person up in alot of expensive legal BS that the “Ex-Kon” (that title shows a mindset as well) can’t afford, especially if still looking for a new job.
        Kinda glad I haven’t bought many Konami games lately!

        • Yes, but I hardly doubt that every single ex-Konami worker could be tied to that one. Most likely, as they know more than well that very few of them have the money needed to stand a chance against them in court. Exactly…I have only bought the old Silent Hill and MGS games + Some really old-school titles.

    • Nanya

      Who knows? I mean, if we knew Japanese laws better…

  • Kishnabe

    Frustrating to see. I thought they were turning things around lately….when I heard that were blocking former Employees for a job. How petty and pathetic can you be !?

    • Yes indeed, and it’s also pretty darn serious for those who are affected by this…Very pathetic I would say.

  • KSE1977

    I imagine the next step will be for Konami to see their IP. Hopefully somebody like Rockstar or Take 2 buys them up, I would hate to see Metal Gear or Castlevania go exclusive to anybody. I just want to see more great games get released in those franchises and at the rate things are going, selling off their IP may be the only way we see another Silent Hill again.

    • I bet that they will sell their IP’s, because they can’t handle them all that well. Yes, because Konami is into mobile gaming now…

      • KSE1977

        Be nice to so Kojima get with a studio that has big dollars and buy the Metal Gear IP. Keep it at home with him where it belongs.

        • That would be the best outcome if you ask me. So I shall pray to the Gaming gods for that to happen for real 😉

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