As of late, there have been many reasons people have gravitated towards the hashtag “#F**Konami” (I trust you can figure the rest out yourself. If not, the plan worked). There has been their gradual drop of output, their half-hearted disregard for the many classic gaming franchises they’ve created over the years, their wholehearted disdain for their own employees (including those who made some of those huge titles), and most recently, their treatment of Hideo Kojima leading up to his departure from the company, and how his final game for them — Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain — suffered in the process.
Oh, and Castlevania pachinko.
For me, personally, the sentiment goes back further — a few years back, really, and while I didn’t feel contempt for the entire entity known as Konami at the time, they certainly left a very bad taste in my mouth with one move of theirs, one that has only worsened with time.
A tweet from m’boy Joe D. reminded me that today is the anniversary of the day that Konami announced they were absorbing longtime video game development icon and mainstay Hudson Soft, who has produced many a classic title ranging from Adventure Island to Bomberman to Bonk to Mario Party (for Nintendo, of course) and more. They were absorbing them…
…and then they were shutting them down a few months later.
It was an ugly, ugly announcement to bear witness to, as Konami had bought the company less than a year prior, and were now basically shutting them down and filing away a major game developer and publisher as just another piece of history. Never did Konami touch Hudson’s library again, and as they effectively sunk their own ship/went into the night (anything but quietly), they took Hudson with them.
In a way, this whole turn of events feels almost as thought it had been oddly prophetic, kicked off by the cancellation of the latest (and purportedly finished) game to feature their one-time mascot, Bonk, known as Bonk: Brink of Extinction:
If you’re interested in more of that one, by the way, there was some preview footage that got around before cancellation, as well as IGN’s hands-on, which teased a possible return for the futuristic Zonk as well. If it looked as nice as Brink of Extinction, I’d have loved the chance to see that.
Bonk was only one of many titles cancelled in the wake of Konami’s acquisition of the company, however.
It’s all just a sad, sad thing to see. If Konami wanted out of the video game business? Fine, that was their choice. It’s disappointing, but the kind of disappointing you kind of learn to live with.
But taking Hudson with them? To absorb them into the company and basically smother the entire thing to death, rather than sell them off to another company (I’m hard pressed to believe that no one else would want Hudson)? That just makes Konami’s entire M.O. feel like some sort of angry murder-suicide that has long been difficult to forgive them for.
Was this Konami’s most heinous act? With such a list that seems to grow all the time, it’s hard to say, but I think it’s a definite contender.
David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.