In 2015, when it was revealed that Konami had some allegedly terrible working conditions for some of their employees, not many would have thought that the cruel treatment would extend all the way up the ladder to a legend like Hideo Kojima, who has since famously parted ways with the publisher in order to focus on his own Kojima Productions.
Currently, Kojima is working on his first game since leaving Konami, an open-world game called Death Stranding. We can only imagine that working conditions are pretty good for him now, and none of his employees have to worry about the abusive treatment that they may have experienced while still under the Konami banner.
Some of the accusations lobbed against Konami in a 2015 report included re-assigning anyone from junior employees to big-name producers from their normal roles and making them perform jobs like working in a slot-machine factory, working as a security guard, and wiping down fitness equipment. Also, employees who were late in returning from their short lunch breaks would be publicly shamed across the company.
Allegedly, a lot of changes took place after Konami hit a big success with a lower-budget mobile series called Dragon Collection. They looked at the 80 million they were dishing out for the latest Metal Gear title, and tensions started to rise between Konami and Kojima.
It’s a wonder the game was finished at all, let alone that it was nearly perfect.
For the last 6 months of development on MGS5, Konami separated Kojima from his team, and kept him locked away on his own on a different floor of their office building. He wasn’t even allowed to communicate directly with his team. If he wanted to get a message to them, or hear from them at all, it had to go through a separate party. He had no direct line of communication with the very people that were working on bringing his vision to reality.
Hideo himself is legally forbidden from talking about any of the details, however his friend Geoff Keighley, of The Game Awards, had no problem coming to Kojima’s defense when he revealed just how bad things were, in an interview with Glixel.