JEFF’S MUSINGS: How Konami Lost E3 2014—and Our Trust

Friday, June 13th, 2014

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E3 2014: The Future Revealed

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.

Konami Press Conference

The recap heading we had set up for Konami, never to be used for its purpose.

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.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

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.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain - Logo

The Phantom Pain, apparently the only game Konami has going for it.

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!

About Jeff Neuenschwander

Jeff has been a supporter of the website and campaign since the beginning. Joining in for E3 2012, he worked his way up the ranks quickly, making it to the Editing Manager post at the beginning of 2013. Jeff has a wide variety of tastes when it comes to gaming and pretty much likes anything that is quirky, although his favorite genres are Action, Platforming, and RPG. Outside of gaming, Jeff is a musician, being trained as a trombonist for Jazz and Classical music, and holds a degree in Sound Recording.

  • Josh S.

    Preach on, dude! I couldn’t have put it better.

  • ハボック バスター

    And they still don’t give 2 fucks about Suikoden. Jesus when will those ignoramuses at Konami listen to the fans’ requests? And MGSV:PP being 200x larger than ground zeroes, I wonder if Konami focused their investment too much on that game alone and deliberately spent like $50-$100 million for its development. Are they attempting to make a GTAV wannabe and expect millions of copies to be sold? If they do, they’re just putting the final nail in their company’s coffin but I hope it’s not.

    • Zachary Cantrell

      Suikoden isn’t going to sell enough to develop a new game. If this was a question of localizing a Suikoden VI we never got I might sympathize with you but making a new one? There’s no market there, even amongst the RPG loyalists it still feels like a barely vocal minority at this point. If they brought it back now it’d be as an iPhone game at this point. Besides, Suikoden hasn’t even been good since Suikoden III. Everything that could have been done with that franchise has been done. Murayama left after III and IV and V were jokes. V gets a good word because it was better than IV, but only just. The series needs to stay in bed and just put the old ones out on the PSN.

    • Gatsu

      Zachary I don’t think Suikoden III was good at all to be honest it was too linear to be a Suikoden game just like I feel FFXIII was too linear for Final Fantasy. Yes IV and V weren’t the greatest in the franchise but they were in my mind superior to III. The DS game was the joke, in my mind at least, and I think there are points that die hards of the franchise never got closure on. We in the states never got our hands on the Harmonia games which would have been fun. I for one have all those nagging ideas in the back of my head as to what happened to everyone who was a bearer of a true rune considering they all left their perspective countries afterwards. The game franchise is still in my top 3 rpg franchises Up there with Dragon Warrior and Persona. I like most RPG franchises but those ones produced some great content. As for it being worth the cost, no it is not and that to me is unfortunate. I would love a SuikodenVI or a game that would even come close to what I loved about the Suikoden Franchise. However if Konami is going to pull crap like this they just need to keep to their table top games and just quit game development.

    • Giordan

      FFXIII had a good story, though.

    • Jeff Neuenschwander

      Yeah, game production is getting mind bogglingly big. If I heard right, GTAV cost in the neighborhood of $265 million. Compared to movies, that puts it easily in the Top 10 versus most expensive movies.

      And I just found one even bigger. Apparently, Destiny will cost half a billion before it launches.

    • Giordan

      Suikoden hasn’t done well ever.

    • Shasarazade

      It’s because Konami never properly marketed the games. They never advertised for the games in magazines or on television and the only way anybody really found out about them was word of mouth and reviews. I remember opening up an issue of EGM and seeing a huge spread they did for Suikoden 1 and my first thought was “Holy Shit, I can choose to play from over 100 characters?! I need to play this game now!!” But Konami unfortunately has never shared the enthusiasm for the series as its fans have.

      It’s like they never even tried with it. For the love of God, Suikoden 2 was released the SAME MONTH as Final Fantasy 8 and Suikoden 2 is now considered the best in the series. But it’s not really surprising that this game didn’t sell well when everybody and their mother was anticipating FF8.

      I think if they gave Suikoden even a FRACTION of attention that they give to the MGS series then it could do well with fans.

    • Giordan

      I think it’s considered the best in the series because it’s so rare. Granted, I still haven’t played it and I don’t plan on it due to its huge price tag, unless Konami decides to rerelease it on PSN, which may never happen. I did try out the first Suikoden, though.

    • Shasarazade

      I played Suikoden 2 and it deserves it’s reputation. I don’t consider it the best in the series but it’s definitely an awesome game. But I spent over $100 on my copy so I don’t expect that many other people have enjoyed the game.

    • Giordan

      Probably not.
      Which is why the series isn’t around anymore. It just didn’t pull the sales numbers Final Fantasy was pulling.

    • Shasarazade

      You can’t compare Suikoden to Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy is Square’s flagship series and they promote this series to the moon because it saved them from bankruptcy twice. Konami has NEVER given Suikoden the attention it deserves but the series does have its fanbase. It’s much larger in Japan than in North America, but it exists. The failings of the series rest with Konami and their inability to properly promote and market this series.

    • Giordan

      I can because they’re both the companies’ flagship RPG series.

    • Giordan

      Also, Suikoden II was never reprinted.

  • Kroisos

    I wonder how significant it is that until this article I didn’t even notice that Konami was absent from E3. Their only property I truly care about is Metroidvania, so as long as they insist upon Godofwarvania, they’ve got nothing for me. I’m much more curious in learning what Igarashi’s new studio is doing.

    • ハボック バスター

      Well Iga already left Konami since March in case you don’t know. I hope he makes a spiritual successor of his 2D Castlevanias.

    • Giordan

      Oh god, enough with Metroidvanias…

  • Aiddon

    Konami is a goddamned mess right now. They clearly have no clue what to do with themselves except for keeping the MGS series going despite Kojima CLAIMING he wants to end it (seriously, he needs to do some new stuff)

  • Tara

    I didn’t even know about all this. I was sorta keeping an eye out for a new Castlevania (Metroidvania or other) but was quickly distracted by other great things. I would have liked those Bloody Roar rumors to be true, but I know that’s not gonna happen, no matter how much I want it to (which is a shame, really). I otherwise didn’t really notice there wasn’t anything much by them. I also thought the Phantom Pain trailer looked kinda… bleh. I dunno, it just didn’t do it for me.

    Since Konami seems to care so little about the things I do care about that they own now (Suikoden, Metroidvania-style Castlevanias, Bloody Roar) I honestly could care less what they choose to do. If I decide I want Ground Zeroes and Phantom Pain later, I’ll wait for the bundle that they *claim* won’t happen, but everyone knows will… and even then, I won’t care until it’s in the bargain bin. I honestly don’t expect the other things I like to be back.

    Maybe I’m just getting old and cynical about gaming.

  • F Stubbs

    Hopefully they hurry up and go out of business so some other company gets their negected IPs.

    • ハボック バスター

      I wonder if Namco Bandai will buy it if that happens.

  • Giordan

    Really? They only had what, one game? How does that make them the “loser”?

    • ハボック バスター

      And what makes you think they’re the winner? MGSV:PP? Seriously that’s it? That’s all they’ve got to show?

    • Giordan

      I never said they were the winner. I just questioned why they’re considered the worst.

  • Brash Smith

    I think we need to #novitanobuy @konami on the suikoden thing. Atleast square is bringing FF type 0 in some form to america.

    • Giordan

      no. Just no.

  • Granfalloon

    I think I can tell by both their actions in the past and especially now; they checked out. Hanging on to their biggest earner till they completely putter out and die is the only future I can think of for Konami.

    RIP Suikoden. Murayama please make a kickstarter alongside IGA.

  • Granfalloon

    By the way, if RPGs about social-links this day and age can thrive it wouldn’t take a genius to figure out Suikoden would be a great candidate to revive right now among the many other things it has to offer.

  • Thanatos2k

    Konami is a pathetic disgrace at this point. The only thing they have left is Metal Gear. They don’t localize their games, they fuck up the localizations of the few games they do release, Silent Hill is a soulless farce at this point, Castlevania is all but ruined after LoS2, and Suikoden has been buried in a shallow grave.

    They need to go bankrupt so someone else can do something with their IPs.