If you’ve been following Japanese game publisher Konami over the past year then you’ll know that its public image is suffering right now. Could VR help it get back on top?
The company’s recently updated financial reports for the year make two very enticing mentions of the technology. The first cites increased “business opportunities” now that the VR is becoming “full-scale”, suggesting that the group is interested in getting involved. The second mention is much more direct, stating that the company intends to “create and provide “Valuable Time” to customers”, a part of which involves “the production of new game that utilize virtual reality”.
In other words, yes, Konami is making VR games. What games and when will we see them? That’s still up in the air.
A few years ago this might have been an exciting prospect, but the publisher has been through a laborious few years to say the least. Last year the company fired long-time employee and celebrated game developer Hideo Kojima, months before the release of what was to be his final Metal Gear game, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. It was a shocking and unpleasant move that also led to the cancellation of a new Silent Hill game, which many VR fans had hoped would incorporate VR after a playable teaser, literally called P.T., showed promise.
Kojima is now working at a newly reformed Kojima Productions, and seems to have taken a liking to VR himself.
Since then we’ve seen reports that Konami would scale back on the production of console-based games and focus more on the mobile market. This is a move that’s seemingly reflected well in the updated report; Konami earned ¥249.9 billion ($2.28 billion) in revenue in the fiscal year ending March 31st 2016 and Net profit for the period was at ¥10.5 billion ($96.2 million), both of which were increases year-over-year.
In that case, can we expect any VR projects from the company to release on the mobile side instead of the likes of the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR? Either way, Konami has a number of IP that we’d love to see leveraged in VR. Metal Gear Solid is the obvious choice, but don’t forget that the company is also behind franchises like Castlevania and Contra, which could also present some interesting opportunities for the tech.