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Konami Allegedly Taking A Big Brother Approach with Staff

Clearly, all things are not well in the house of Metal Gear. Announcing that Hideo Kojima would be departing from Konami seemed strange enough, but things at the once championed company may be even worse off than originally speculated. According to Japanese media outlet Nikkei, an average day at the office includes plenty of monitoring and even shaming. Creative distractions is the least of the employees’ worries.

The report claims that changes to the business approach at the company changed in 2010 when the mobile game, Dragon Collection, became a surprise hit. The social title for phones made a whole lot of money, while not requiring much financial investment, which was great as opposed to the bombastic AAA behemoths. This triumph lead the corporate bosses to steer the ship in a different direction. This of course, isn’t a huge surprise considering the fact that Japan is dominated by mobile devices.

The surprising and honestly terrifying part of the report, is the current work conditions that the poor souls at the company must endure every day. Here is the slew of allegations, all according to the reputable source, Nikkei:

  • Cameras that are located in certain hallways are not there for security reasons. Instead, they are used to track employees.
  • Kojima Productions is now known as “Number 8 Production Department”, where none of the computers are connected to the internet. Apparently, only internal emails are allowed to be sent.
  • Only staff that is required to speak to the outside world, such as PR, have their own permanent email. Everyone else has their email address randomized every few months.
  • Employees that leave the offices for their lunch break are observed through time cards. Those that take too long on their break have their names announced to everyone in the company.
  • Developers within the company who are no longer useful are reallocated to different positions, such as, security guards, cleaning staff at their fitness clubs or pachi-slot machine factories. This treatment isn’t exclusive either, people who have worked on well known titles have been moved around in this manner.
  • A certain employee who got the reallocation treatment, announced his departure from the company on Facebook, and everyone who “liked” the status was further monitored, and then moved.

Whether all of this is true or not, Konami has yet to chime in. We are still dealing with speculation on what really happened on a corporate level that lead to the departure of their most decorated personnel. Current rumors have cited a fiscal dispute as the main cause for the unexpected exit of Kojima. The company needs to say something, anything, because the once pristine name is being dragged through the mud.

All of this just seems too shady to be made up. The way they have also attempted to erase any trace of the name, Kojima Productions from the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V hints at an extremely childish, mess of corporate culture. Honestly, none of this seems too far fetched. It’s incredibly disheartening to watch everything unravel in this manner, and doesn’t bode well for future video game projects from this organization.

What do you think about this almost 1984-esque “Big Brother” state of the establishment? Let us know in the comments section below.

HT: Kotaku, Nikkei

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