The future of Konami - as you may have read here or elsewhere - is mobile, but it turns out that the company is keen on games that allow for real-world gambling too, according to Game Informer. Nevada lawmakers this week passed Senate Bill 9, which allows for new types of technologies - including video game technologies - to be incorporated into slot machines.
In an interview with IGN to promote his upcoming film Crimson Peak, director Guillermo del Toro expressed his shock and astonishment at how roughly Konami handled both the cancelation of Silent Hills and the removal of the PT demo from PlayStation 4. del Toro, who was serving as the game director on Silent Hills, told the publication that he was surprised by the sudden cancelation of the game.
Earlier this week we reported on George Weidman (YouTube name Super Bunnyhop) being targeted by Konami for posting a YouTube video called "Kojima vs. Konami: An Investigation." Someone at Konami (Weidman notes that it was the fine work of an attorney who works at Konami Japan) didn't like it and filed a copyright claim against the video.
Update #2: George Weidman tweeted that Konami has lifted the copyright claim from the original video:
"Strike resolved, Konami revoked it. I was traveling before & after this incident began&ended. Sent 3 polite emails to Konami PR. It worked."
To put an end to rumors saying that Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima and his company Kojima Productions were all done working with Konami on Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, Konami and Kojima issued a joint statement assuring fans that the game was still on track.
"I want to reassure fans that I am 100 percent involved and will continue working on Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain," Kojima said. "I'm determined to make it the greatest game I've directed to date. Don't miss it!"
No petition required for this game! Some good news for PC gamers wanting to play the latest Metal Gear Solid game from Konami: it's coming to Steam on December 18th. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes will come to the PC with 4K support, and will feature an "increase in the number of simultaneous light sources, the number of models that can be displayed on-screen, and increased shadow resolution," according to Konami.
A fan-made remake of the original Metal Gear game has been shut down by Konami, according to Metal Gear Informer. The shutdown of this project comes months after the publisher initially gave its blessing to the project. The remake was being developed by mod team Outer Heaven, who promised a recreation of the 1987 MSX and NES game. Konami gave its blessing with the condition that the remake was not sold for money.
Halo designer David Ellis thinks the Hideo Kojima-approved "sexy" design for the Metal Gear Sold 5 Quiet is "ridiculous," and says that the industry is full of what he calls "man babies." Earlier in the week Kojima said that he had directed designer Yoji Shinkawa to make the sniper character Quiet more "erotic" so that more people would cosplay her during the Tokyo Game Show later this month. Today during a press conference Q&A, Kojima told Polygon that he meant to say "sexy."
At a Konami press conference today, Polygon asked Hideo Kojima about his Twitter comments that he wanted to make the Metal Gear Solid 5 character Quiet more "erotic" so that people attending the Tokyo Game Show later this month would cosplay her. He said that he had directed designer Yoji Shinkawa to make that happen and then posted a picture (to your left).
Gamers who bought the PlayStation 3 version of Konami's game, Silent Hill HD, got a patch last month that dealt with a number of frame rate and audio-sync issues. Good service. But those who bought the game on the Xbox 360 have pretty much been told to "go pound salt." Konami issued a brief statement this week noting that it wouldn't be releasing an update for Xbox 360 gamers who bought the game. Bad service.
City National Bank has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Konami and developer Autumn Games for allegedly defrauding the financial institution of money it is owed related to a $15 million line of credit. City National Bank claims that Konami and Autumn Games defrauded it of $15 million in credit for the development of Def Jam Rapstar. They also alleged that both parties "lied" to the bank in order to secure the credit line, promising to pay it back with the sales of the game.
Konami announced that it will pull the plug on Metal Gear Online on June 12. The first phase of this shutdown will be the closure of the Metal Gear Online shop on March 21. The only silver lining for fans is that all expansions in the store will become free April 24 until the game shuts down completely in the summer. Also, beginning on April 24, gamers will not be able to register characters.
The Tokyo High Court has ruled in favor of an ex-Konami Digital Entertainment employee who sued the company for discriminating against her. Yoko Sekiguchi alleged that Konami demoted her because she took six months of maternity leave in 2009 and slashed her salary by ¥200,000. The demotion and pay cut happened when she returned from her maternity leave, she claimed.
Konami Europe's top executive says that publishers are taking a shellacking from retailers in the United Kingdom because of their competitive pricing and constant sales battles and he's had enough. Speaking to MCV, the publisher’s European chief Kunio Neo said that the UK market is suffering, while other territories such as Germany are thriving. He blames the constant sales battles among retailers in the UK and he has a message for them: Stop the price wars.
Fans of Metal Gear Solid and Kojima Productions will find the following special auction to help relief efforts in Japan very interesting. The eBay auction, Play for Japan: Metal Gear Solid 2 signed by Kojima offers the 2001 PlayStation 2 game in mint condition and signed by Kojima himself. The auction runs for another nine days and is currently hovering at around $100.
One-hundred percent of the sale of this signed copy of Metal Gear Solid 2 will go to support American Red Cross (a small deduction may apply). Here is the description from the auction:
According to a report on AndriaSang, Hudson's U.S. offices are going to be closed and a large number of employees are going to be looking for new jobs. According to the report Konami will close Hudson's U.S. offices and layoff 40 of its employees. The closure will be completed by March 31. Ownership of the company will be finalized April 1.
Those 40 employees will get severance package, bonuses and help with finding new work. Future Hudson development will take place at the company's Japanese headquarters. At that point, the company best known for the Bomberman series will focus on creating social game content.
Fans of LovePlus, the Konami-developed dating simulator that was released only in Japan, now have a vacation destination where they can integrate virtual girlfriends into their daily activities.
Using augmented reality (AR), Konami and the resort town of Atami, Japan have teamed up to offer 13 “romantic locations” throughout the town, where love struck gamers can pose, thanks to augmented reality, with images of their favorite LovePlus characters, like Rinko, Manaka or Nene.
It was reported by AFP that the girls “have all swapped their usual sailor-style school uniforms for casual summer wear.”
A local hotel offers additional entertainment for LovePlus fans:
The local Ohnoya hotel even offers traditional rooms to the unusual couples, which feature two sets of futon beds and another barcode panel that allows the men to visualise their girlfriends in a flattering summer kimono.
Atomic Games President Peter Tamte indicated late last year that his company was “committed” to finishing the controversial Six Days in Fallujah videogame and it appears he has remained true to his word.
A story on IGN, citing a “source close to the game’s development,” reports that the game has been completed, though a release date for the game, or publisher, was not disclosed.
Konami had initially backed the project and was going to serve as its publisher before a series of negative public reactions to the game became public. The families of military personnel wounded or killed in the Iraqi war, and even some soldiers themselves, believed that it was too soon for such a game to be released, as the war was still ongoing (and indeed still is today) at the time of the announcement.
Other groups expressed dismay over the project due to heavy civilian losses reported in the real fight over Fallujah. Additional reports that insurgents may have helped contribute to the game’s development did nothing to lessen the controversy surrounding the title.
Konami eventually bailed on Atomic Games and Six days in Fallujah in April of last year, citing negative reactions to the game.
"We're surrounded... We have been badly wounded..."
Those were among comments released by Six Days in Fallujah developer Atomic Games as it announced layoffs today. The company is apparently in financial distress due to the game industry downturn as well as its inability to secure a publishing deal for the controversial Iraq War game.
Gamasutra has more from Atomic's press release:
In the words of Marine officer Chesty Puller, 'We're surrounded. That simplifies the problem...
We wish to assure the dozens of Marine veterans who have collectively invested hundreds of hours in this project that, while we have been badly wounded, we will fight on. The stories of your brothers' courage and sacrifice in Fallujah must be shared with the world.
So far, it is unknown how many of Atomic's 75 staffers were let go.
The controversial Six Days in Fallujah video game project has drawn reactions from military veterans, families of war dead, peace groups, and pundits. But EALA's Borut Pfeifer is the first actual game developer to weigh in on the Six Days flap.
Writing for his Plush Apocalypse blog, Pfeifer, whose credits include Scarface: The World is Yours and Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom, questions a Konami exec's claim that, "We’re not trying to make social commentary. We’re not pro-war. We’re not trying to make people feel uncomfortable. We just want to bring a compelling entertainment experience.”
The notion that you can make a game set in modern day Iraq without making a political statement is complete nonsense...
If you set out to avoid commenting on the war, in the best case you’d end up with a theme closer to Black Hawk Down, that the horrors of war are survived only through the brotherhood shared between the men fighting...
Such a theme can still influence someone’s political opinion. Perhaps people interpret it as highlighting the need to support our troops more... Or perhaps it is interpreted that the toll on human lives is unacceptable and must be stopped no matter the ramifications...
If you set out to be as unbiased as possible and truly include all perspectives, that is also making a hefty statement in American political culture...
Via: GameBiz Blog
It has only been a few days since publisher Konami bailed on the controversial Six Days in Fallujah, but the CEO of developer Atomic Games discussed the situation at the Triangle Game Conference in North Carolina this week.
As reported by the Raleigh News & Observer, Peter Tamte (left) said:
Every form of media has grown by producing content about current events, content that's powerful because it's relevant. Movies, music and TV have helped people make sense of the complex issues of our times.
Are we really just high-tech toymakers, or are we media companies capable of producing content that is as relevant as movies, music and television?
This is what brought us close to many of the Marines who fought in Fallujah. After they got back from Fallujah, these Marines asked us to tell their story. They asked us to tell their story through the most relevant medium of the day -- a medium they use the most -- and that is the video game.
'Six Days in Fallujah' is not about whether the U.S. and its allies should have invaded Iraq. It's an opportunity for the world to experience the true stories of the people who fought in one of the world's largest urban battles of the past half-century.
GP: Setting aside the issue of whether it's too soon for a Fallujah game, frankly, the P.R. surrounding Six Days was incredibly bungled from day one. There is no precedent for a game project to crater with such velocity. A mere three weeks passed from the initial article about the game in the L.A. Times to Konami's sudden withdrawal from the project.
Here are a few questions I'd like to see Peter Tamte to address:
By now everyone knows that Konami has dropped Six Days in Fallujah like it was radioactive.
But One Last Continue has assembled a remarkable time line on the IP, indicating that the idea for the game was submitted for trademark less than four months after the battle ended. According to Austin Walker of OLC, Destineer - which later acquired Six Days developer Atomic Games - applied for the mark on February 4, 2005. There's no mention of Konami until April 5, 2009 - more than four years later - when the company was announced as the pubilsher of Six Days.
What we find fascinating about these bits of info are their contrast to claims that veterans of the battle came to Atomic, essentially demanding that they create a game based on their Fallujah experiences. Such claims were used to some extent to buttress Six Days against charges that it was insensitive to Iraq War veterans and their families. Moreover, claiming that real combatants were behind the game would surely be a marketing plus as well.
For instance, in the very first article on the game - just before the controversy exploded - the Los Angeles Times reported:
The idea for the game... came from U.S. Marines who returned from the battle with video, photos and diaries of their experiences. Instead of dialing up Steven Spielberg to make a movie version of their stories, they turned to Atomic Games, a company in Raleigh, N.C., that makes combat simulation software for the military...
Today's warriors are more likely to pick up a game controller than a paperback. "The soldiers wanted to tell their stories through a game because that's what they grew up playing," said John Choon, senior brand manager for the game at Konami Digital Entertainment in El Segundo, the publisher of Six Days in Fallujah.
But if the game was already in the planning stage shortly after the battle concluded on December 23rd, 2004 who's kidding who?
News has come from Japan that Konami is dropping plans to publish Six Days in Fallujah, the controversial Iraq War game based on the bloody 2004 battle.
Quoting an unnamed P.R. rep, Asahi Shimbun reports that negative reaction to the game in the United States drove Konami's decision:
After seeing the reaction to the videogame in the United States and hearing opinions sent through phone calls and e-mail, we decided several days ago not to sell it. We had intended to convey the reality of the battles to players so that they could feel what it was like to be there.
North Carolina-based Atomic Games is developing Six Days in Fallujah in association with some veterans of the war. It seems likely that the firm will now seek a deal with a new publishing partner.
Six Days in Fallujah was plagued by negative publicity from the moment that it was announced last month. Family members of war dead denounced the game in both the U.S. and U.K. And while some gamers who are Iraq War veterans expressed an interest in playing Six Days, others were outraged. Dan Rosenthal, who publishes the GamesLaw blog and who fought in Iraq, told GamePolitics:
In order to make the game fun... it simply has to sacrifice some amount of realism for fun factor. When you do that with a war game based on a real war, with real people, you run the risk of dishonoring their memories and sacrifices, and I think that this game has a dangerous potential to do that.
Perhaps the most damning piece of news about Six Days in Fallujah, however, was a developer's cryptic comment that Iraqi insurgents were contributing to the project.
The controversy over Konami's Six Days in Fallujah rages on...
Nick Breckon of Shacknews attended Konami's recent Gamer's Night and offers some observations about the much-discussed Iraq War game:
It was apparent that Six Days is not aiming for a very realistic take on modern warfare... considering the extensive marketing on the point of realism, I certainly didn't expect to see soldiers running out into the middle of the street during a firefight, taking a half-dozen bullets in the chest, and then regenerating their health safely behind cover...
In fact, from what Konami showed us, Six Days is far closer to Gears of War than America's Army. It has the same Gears D-pad weapon selection, the same style of cover system, and the same action-oriented gameplay...
Meanwhile, Joystiq reports that the flap over Six Days in Fallujah may keep it from being released in Europe:
During Konami's Gamer's Day in Frankfurt last week, unnamed representatives for the publisher told GamePro.de that they were waiting to see how Atomic Games would portray the brutal battle for Fallujah before deciding if the game would see a European release. Representatives also told De Telegraaf that it was unclear what the level of violence would be in the "documentary-style" shooter.
Just when you thought Six Days in Fallujah couldn't get any more controversial...
The developer of Six Days in Fallujah told attendees at Konami's recent Gamers' Night event that Iraqi insurgents are contributing to the project along with U.S. Marines and Iraqi civilians.
Joystiq's Randy Nelson has a detailed report, including the startling remarks by Atomic Games president Peter Tamte:
It's important for us to say, you know, that there are actually three communities that are very affected by the battle for Fallujah. Certainly the Marines. Certainly the Iraqi civilians within Fallujah, and the insurgents as well. We are actually getting contributions from all three of those communities so that we can get the kind of insight we're trying to get.
I need to be careful about the specifics that I give... I think all of us are curious to know why [insurgents] were there. The insurgents [came from] different countries. And I think we're all kind of curious about you know - they went there knowing that they were going to die... And I think that that's a perspective that we should all understand.
[Insurgents are] involved in the creation of the game as well, as are Iraqi civilians. That's important to us. It's true. The game -- the influences for the game came from the Marines that returned from Fallujah. But quite frankly in talking with them, it's um, many people would just like this to be a recreation and we can't recreate that without getting the perspectives of all the people who were involved.
Although Tamte doesn't give a straightforward answer to whether or not Atomic has actually communicated with insurgents, his comments indicate that some type of input has taken place. It's unclear whether that input was direct or indirect.
The news that there is an insurgent perspective is likely to provoke renewed outrage among some Iraq War veterans as well as families of military personnel killed and wounded in the conflict. Dan Rosenthal, a veteran of the war who now operates the gameslaw.net site, reacted strongly to word of Six Days in Fallujah's insurgent perspective:
Absolutely unbelievable that Peter Tamte and [creative director] Juan Benito would try to make an "entertainment" experience about a war that we're actively fighting, while soliciting advice and input on how to best kill Marines in game, from people who have worked to kill Marines in real life. The hypocrisy and double-speak coming out of Atomic's leadership is beyond unbelievable.
The game is a "communications tool".....a communications tool for who? The insurgency? And then out of the other corner of their mouths, they try to pass the game off as a "telling of stories"; but that's a rude slap in the face to the approximately 100 Marines who died in the battles of Fallujah when the "story-telling" game includes Halo-style health regeneration. I'm pretty sure I don't remember that being standard issue when I was in Iraq.
GP: We're struggling to recall another game that generated this much controversy this early in its development cycle.
Since the controversy over Six Days in Fallujah broke earlier this week, GamePolitics has reported on reaction from military veterans as well as from family members of soldiers killed in the Iraq War.
But the video game press has begun to weigh in as well. U.K-based gamesindustry.biz spanks coverage of the game by British tabloids, but reserves some criticism for Konami's VP of marketing, Anthony Crouts:
Crouts [told the] Wall Street Journal... "We're not trying to make a social commentary... We're not pro-war. We're not trying to make people feel uncomfortable. We just want to bring a compelling entertainment experience. At the end of the day, it's just a game."
What a thoroughly depressing attitude for a senior executive... At its most basic level, it raises questions about how well some people in this market actually understand the concept of a "compelling entertainment experience". Compelling entertainment is compelling exactly because it does make people uncomfortable - because it challenges their perceptions in intelligent ways, because it makes them think...
At Sector Earth, scribe Mike Antonucci writes:
There is an obvious tone that is dismissive about a video game in a way that we'd be unlikely to hear if "Six Days in Falljuh'' were going to be a movie, play or even, say, a graphic novel... much of the criticism of video games comes on two levels: There's always a specific flash point -- in this case, the Iraq factor -- and then there's also an underlying (and wrongheaded) contempt for video games as being without artistic or social value.
The Raleigh News & Observer quotes Alexander Macris, who heads the group which publishes The Escapist:
I think games are entitled to the same level of respect as other entertainment media. [Developer] Atomic is driving the dialogue forward by creating a game like this. It is showing that games can be relevant. The fact is, the consumer of this is not a young kid. The consumer for something like this is going to be someone interested in current events and interested in realistic military war gaming.
I don't think Atomic is engaging in exploitation. I think it is a serious attempt to cover the fighting in Fallujah through a game.