During a conference held at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris, that DualShockers attended, former Konami Worldwide Technology Director Julien Merceron talked about the divorce between the publisher and Hideo Kojima.
Merceron mentioned that the success of Metal Gear Solid V taught one lesson, and that is that you must believe in Hideo Kojima, contrary to what Konami has done.
It’s a fact that the development of a game lasts for a long time, so who knows if it’s going to turn a profit? Who knows if it’s going to achieve the promised quality? It’s important to have trust. The development team all trusted Kojima-san, even if he was one of the few who really knew where the game was going. The team was fully behind Kojima-san.
According to Merceron, Kojima-san believed in himself and in the team. The result is that the game has become profitable just in a few weeks, with a Metacritic score over 90. The first lesson learned from this, is that you must believe in Kojima-san.
The second lesson is that the world of Japanese development can achieve a success of this magnitude. It’ll give wings to developers that are asking themselves a lot of questions. While it’s true that the mobile industry is on the rise, it will help developers reach a balance between mobile and other games. Metal Gear Solid V shown that there is a way.
Merceron continued by explaining that he lived the crisis between Konami and Hideo Kojima in real time. In March there was an argument between the Management of Konami and Kojima-san, which brought about the news that everyone saw, including the fact that the studio would be renamed and that Kojima-san’s name would disappear from the game’s boxes, the removal of Kojima-san himself from the staff, and his new status as a contractor.
At that time the staff was at GDC (The Game Developers Conference in San Francisco), and that’s where Merceron learned about the situation. When he returned to Tokyo, Kojima-san talked to the team, saying “Don’t worry, we’re going to finish our game, we will give everything we have to give, and then we will see.”
According to Merceron, Kojima-san did not change his way of working. He didn’t change anything at all, and behaved like before. Merceron can’t imagine how Kojima-san was able to cope with the situation, but he was really strong. He gave his team a feeling of confidence to go on and finish the project.
The members of the team asked themselves a lot of questions, they hoped that the game would be released and be successful, and that it would cause Konami to go back on its decision, so that the team could start working on a new Metal Gear.
Merceron hoped to continue working with Kojima-san for years at Konami, also on other franchises. He hoped to revive Silent Hill and more. Without Kojima-san there might be others in his place, but it won’t be the same. He was the one who brought Merceron to the company, so he could not stay at Konami after the creator of Metal Gear Solid had left.
The Video Game masterclass event in Paris was organized by Jeux Vidéo Magazine and Cité des Sciences.
[On-Location Reporting and Translation: Morgane Bouvais]