So, with E3 2014 all wrapped up and the final articles coming in, I felt the need to reflect on the past week. From what I can tell, there is no clear-cut winner. Gaming’s big three showed off some great stuff, but it felt like each lacked something.
The same can’t be said for who lost E3. The company that lost needed a strong E3 to make up for mistakes made over the past year. It needed to rebuild confidence in the brand after consumers were burned by one of the worst blunders any company could’ve made. Most importantly, it needed to show that they had more than one game (two if you count their yearly sports game) in their line-up.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this year’s biggest loser at E3 is Konami.
Why not EA or Ubisoft? Well, to be honest, I enjoyed EA’s conference, even though it was filled with prototype footage instead of actual gameplay. As for Ubisoft, while I thought it was the weakest of the Monday conferences, they at least showed up. Say what you will about that presentation, but they didn’t dupe gamers and journalists alike into thinking they would show something.
In case you missed it—although really, there wasn’t anything to miss—Konami had a website that was counting down to something. It appeared to be a presentation of sorts. Unfortunately, for most of North America, the timer was counting down to 6 AM EDT/3 AM PDT. So in order to cover it, we would either need to wake up earlier than normal—or stay up later for those on the west coast (or us night owls in the east)—or have someone outside the United States and Canada follow the event—which we did.
Just one problem—the event never happened.
I’m pissed off by this. I found the countdown and shared it with the rest of the staff. I saw it and thought we would be getting some sort of recorded event like the past two years.
And it’s not just me I feel sorry for. Charlotte Buckingham, my fellow Editorial Head, took it upon herself to lead the staff in following the “event.” We had at least five people following this, which included all our PAL region staff and one or two in North America. They had their time wasted. They could’ve been doing other, personal things during that time. Instead, they were sitting around for as long as 90 minutes for Konami to show something. Nothing happened.
And furthermore, I feel sorry for our readers. We told them about an event that didn’t come to pass. I’m not sure how many of you decided to show up during that time or went to the site after waking up to see what happened, only to find Konami showing nothing.
I apologize for this, because, quite frankly, Konami has shown over the past year or so that they don’t deserve our free time. I would say shame on them, but clearly the shame is on us.
I forgave them for Lords of Shadow. The Castlevania franchise was stagnating and needed a shot of something, even something that wasn’t initially developed for the franchise. It wasn’t great, but it was an interesting wrinkle on the lore.
I even forgave them when they told us they wouldn’t be localizing any of the games involved with us and Language Automation, Inc. Localization comes with a risk, particularly when it’s for games that don’t draw in large audiences. Even with websites like ours pushing for the games and bringing them to the forefront, it still wouldn’t guarantee a profit. I still wish they’d reconsider.
So what was the first thing they did that made me stop giving them the benefit of the doubt? Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. Selling what is clearly a demo for half the price of a regular game (even after lowering the price from $40 before release) is unforgivable. Claiming a 30-minute game (even if you’re terrible at it) is a product worth any money is ridiculous. When numerous reviewers say not to buy the game, even after saying it had great gameplay, you clearly did something wrong.
Then, there was the trailer for The Phantom Pain Konami showed off on Sunday, a day before it was shown at Sony’s conference. I’m sure SCE Group CEO Andrew House was thrilled about that. He probably was wishing he had something to show for The Last Guardian at that point to switch it out with. And in retrospect, that was a dick move by Konami.
It wasn’t the worst move they made. That would be that countdown that led to nothing.
We’re used to people being tricksters during E3. We know there are people out there who will look to make others look foolish with their rumors. That’s why so many people were brushing off the Mario Maker image that appeared before E3 (and why we don’t trust anonymous Russian sources like a certain major gaming site did). Heck, there were even people disproving Mario Maker’s existence, showing off how the hand was exactly like a hand from a different trailer. Mario Maker turned out to be a real thing, but that doesn’t mean we were wrong in questioning it.
You expect individuals to be dicks during E3. You don’t expect a major company, however, to do the same thing.
That is why we’re mad at Konami and, ultimately, why we should stop trusting them for now. They haven’t given us any reason to trust them. And more importantly, they haven’t given us any reason to follow them.
Konami has become a one-trick pony. Silent Hill hasn’t been good for almost a generation. Castlevania hasn’t had a solid game in a long time. PES is getting beat by FIFA at every turn. DDR is just sad nowadays. And they don’t seem to want to do anything with Hudson’s old IPs. All they have left is Metal Gear.
Konami, you have become the laughingstock of the industry. If you want us to ever take you seriously again—if you want us to watch your events or feature any of your games—you need to rebuild trust with everyone starting today. No more jokes, no more tricks, no more price gouging, and no more uploading trailers other companies are looking to showcase before they get to do so. More importantly, you need to be clear and upfront about your intentions.
We’ve been fooled by you too many times. You get no more free passes. Stop it!