By Jeff Neuenschwander / August 13th, 2015
No, Chris Pranger will not be featured here in this edition. While his appearance on the Part Time Gamers podcast is noteworthy, it’s still not the worst thing that happened last week.
Still, that was quite a crash and burn by Mr. Pranger. The guy insulted a fanbase not only with words but inflection. He said that a game like Xenoblade Chronicles was too costly to be localized, even though Nintendo of Europe under Satoru Shibata — my personal pick to take the reigns of President and CEO of Nintendo — was able to take a chance on the game… and The Last Story… and Pandora’s Tower… and Another Code: R… and Disaster: Day of Crisis… and the Project Zero 2 remake… Do you get the idea?
And if that weren’t enough, he goes on to insult anyone with a brain that has already realized that the Wii U name for Nintendo’s current home console was an albatross, saying that people are only saying it now in hindsight. Which is right… if you forget about all those people that said that confusion led to slower than expected sales of the 3DS and would repeat again with the Wii U after the name was revealed… or the fact that people from the moment the name was announced were confused and only further confused during the E3 2011 conference by the fact that only the GamePad was shown instead of the console.
This coming from a guy that started working at Nintendo in 2012 — which means that he probably missed working on any localization for Xenoblade Chronicles as well as the initial marketing screw-up for the Wii U.
Needless to say, Mr. Pranger got his comeuppance this week.
As some of you may have heard, yes, I was fired yesterday. Yes, it was ultimately my own fault. No, I did not see this coming.
— Chris Pranger (@TheChrisPranger) August 13, 2015
Chris, in case you decide to read this — I don’t know why you would; after all, we probably have too small a fanbase for you to care much — I recommend that you listen to your interview again on that podcast. Because I guarantee that you’ll notice that you were getting fired right around the moment that you… started talking. Also, next time, read any NDAs thoroughly when you go to work for a company.
Anyways, here are this past week’s King and Kong. Take only as seriously as you wish.
This week’s King goes to the legions of PC gamers for their actions against the “game” Journey of the Light. Special royalty treatment goes to Imgur user “dpuza” for compiling evidence against Lord Kres, the developer of this piece of software.
For those that weren’t able to follow the action the past few weeks, here’s what happened. A game appeared on Steam going by the name of Journey of the Light. It was billed as one of the hardest games created with 7 chapters in the main game and a bonus 8th chapter. The problem is this: there were no other chapters in the game after the first.
The game would start, show a few screens to get you going, and then drop you in a snowy forest area. Now, while the chapter looks interesting in design, what’s more interesting are the things you don’t see. For instance, if you go into the files, you’ll find out that files “level5-level11” are the same opening title screen for the first chapter. And to make matters worse, the coding for the game only calls for a few control commands and a switch of the light’s state. Nothing about any levels or puzzle clues.
And once this was all revealed, Steam gamers reported the game to Valve, which in turn refunded everyone that bought the game, no matter how long they played it or how long they owned it — which bypasses the current Steam Refund policy. Unfortunately, I can’t give complete kudos to Valve at the moment as Lord Kres has yet to have a punishment handed down. His other game, an Early Access game called Voxelized, still remains on the store ready to purchase, even though several gamers believe it has similar issues compared to Journey of the Light.
But a win’s a win. Good job, gamers.
As I said last week, this week’s Kong is none other than Konami Corporation. Initially, it would be business practices revealed early last week, but even the people that left Konami say that the things revealed by Nikkei were small potatoes compared to the bigger things. Keep in mind, the minor indiscretions to these former producers — yes, not just random employees but high-level game producers — were paranoid surveillance by corporate, randomized email addresses, not being able to talk with other departments, and janitorial work for those deemed useless.
Those rumors of Koji Igarashi being forced into janitorial work don’t look to be rumors anymore.
While these were confirmed by the former employees, they believed these to be greatly overdramaticized as they state this is common practice in Japan for the industry — with the exception of places like Nintendo. Even so, that seems like a scary work environment to be in. Imagine putting your whole life into a company, rising in the ranks and making it to a leadership role only to have someone higher than you pull the rug out from under you, hand you a broom, and tell you to clean the bathrooms for the rest of your career. That would be if my uncle went from being in management meetings at GM with Mary Barra to being told by her that he now has to mop the floors at the Renaissance Center, GM’s headquarters.
But the bigger issue they brought up — as per anonymous but credible sources (again, take these with a grain of salt) on the latest Jim Sterling rant against the company — is that Konami has no respect for any legacy or franchise under its banner. They also reiterated the silence between departments as part of company policies. While these are things that we’ve either heard or theorized on, it’s about time someone who was within the company said it (even if it was anonymously).
In addition, the company has a history that continues to today (presumably) of taking weeks to approve of anything, even if it is vital to a project or an employee’s well being. One example was a new employee being hired, given no computer to work with because it’s still being approved, being forced to open a temporary account on HotMail in order to send and receive business related emails because your company-approved email address hasn’t been set-up, not being able to have anything approved simply because you’re not in the system, and not being able to sympathize with anyone in the office because you are expected to work without the proper materials.
And people still want to give them money.
Of that, I’ll never understand.
Konami, for your lack of ethics, your lack of historical understanding, your lack of clarity on the importance of your IPs, your lack of utilization of many of your IPs, your lack of time management, and your lack of empathy for your employees, I hereby dub thee Kong. Furthermore, I hereby nominate thee as the first member of the Kong Hall of Shame and the title of Ultimate Kong.
What are your opinions? Did we get this right? Do you have your own choices for King and Kong? Let us know in the comments below.
Hall of ShameJourney of the LightKonamiMetal Gear Solid V : The Phantom PainPC Master RaceSteamValve