The Phantom Pain: The eulogy of Konami.

Everyone I know today is rejoicing, or holding their breath in anticipation for their next payday, for at midnight last night Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain got released. Well lets call it what it is, HIDEO KOJIMA presents Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, after all seems only fair that credit is given where credit is due.

It seems to me that this is the final mighty deathrattle of a once brilliant and respected company, one last game that truly got gamers excited to boot up their platforms and dispense some venom snakey justice, it deeply saddens me that whilst this game is undoubtedly going to do well and it deserves to as from what I’ve seen the mechanics seem incredible, I mean attaching someone to a beacon to get instantly airlifted had me in stitches, all the profits are going to fund a company that seems to have lost touch with a majority gaming community and who don’t actually seem to give a single fuck.

The F.O.B mode seems to be a very polished version of any Fee to Play IOS game and doesn’t deserve a place in a full price release. It reeks of the new direction that Konami said they were going in, that of mobile gaming, and while once again Kojima seems to have put together a very well constructed narrative in the single player game, It seems like Konami seized all control of the PvP elements and decorated them with pay walls. I cannot wait to see the condition of the online mode later this year, I hope i’m wrong, i hope that it’s all free and a pleasant experience but seeing Konami marketing tactics degrade to cannibalistic levels I doubt that i am. Granted that Konami have said that it’ll be free but I don’t take their word for shit not after PT and how they treated Silent Hill.

That’s not meaning to say that I don’t like the idea of F.O.B mode, the idea of defending my own mother base from other players whilst using troops that i captured in the main game gives me a hearty glow in my gentleman area, its just micro-transactions they shouldn’t be there and its a foreshadowing of what we might be able to expect in future releases. I can see some people defending this by saying that the currency can be earned in game but no i’m sorry, there is no justification for micro-transactions in a full price release. I can understand DLC content for cosmetic items or missions that were developed after release but to pay money to buy something locked on the disc or to decrease a timer is never something I can support.

Whilst, as I’ve previously said, this game is well deserving to be successful, this article was never really about the Phantom Pain. It’s about Konami. Notably about some of the questionable things that they’ve done pre-launch. One of those things is the now infamous “Boot Camp” in which, for fear of spoilers, Konami invited a bunch of journalists to a 5 day gathering, tied them to strict NDAs (Non Disclosure Agreements), and let them play for 40 hours from 9 – 5 each day, under strict supervision. This might not affect some people if they were just doing first impressions, as 40 hours into a game i often have a solid enough idea of if i enjoy an game after that time, but given the size and scale of this game easily clocking in at 50+ hours I have to wonder if that was enough time to make a clear and complete analysis of the game seeing as you’re in a room filled with distraction and not in your office/home where you would normally get to grips with a game and keeping to your own schedule without outside influence.

Bias is also called into question here, it is harder to be critical in a room that has been optimized for that game to shine, that has been filled with PR people from the company, that caters to your every whim and treats you like a celebrity. It is hard to be objective when by the end of the review event you feel indebted to those people or believe yourself to be friends with people at the company, it also serves to tie your memory of the game to an enjoyable experience. Hell i would even find Colonial Marines enjoyable if Sega put me in a 5 star alien themed hotel. Well perhaps not….

Another there is the big “fuck you” to PC gamers by not actually selling a physical copy of The Phantom Pain but only putting on a 8mb steam installer from which you can then download the 28GB game. For many that won’t be an issue, however if your internet is as messed up as mine is then that download could take hours to complete, it just seems like another way for Konami to do the bare minimum for gamers and this just leaves me with this conclusion.

The Phantom Pain is a fitting tribute to the Konami that I once knew and loved, a company that made some of my favorite games of all time such as Silent Hill 2 and Castlevania, but with them vocally stating that they are going to move into the mobile market and prioritizing micro-transactions i can say with confidence that after Phantom Pain, I will no longer support their future releases. With them severing ties so completely with Kojima to the extent that they ask for him not to be brought up in interviews, as well as the apparent abuse of employees at the Konami offices, sending talented staff to work in Konami owned gyms, not just programmers but producers and directors as well, locking them away to work on the soulless pachinko machines, I doubt that even the core fans will either.

Oh those pachinko machines…I hate you so very much. I wouldn’t have a problem if it had just got released alongside the new Silent Hill game, but to cancel it, then remove PT  AND then to announce the pachinko machine. It is shit in the face of all the fans. The games had such promise, Norman Reedus was perfect casting for a survival horror game, it was going to be incredible but I quickly digress as the phrase “PULL THE LEVER” still haunts my dreams burning itself into my retinas.

When The Phantom Pain earns millions, which it will, it will allow Konami to reach its final form. The anti gaming FucKonami, I predict mass lay offs and hierarchy shifts as it caters to its bottom line by producing cheap mobile games that it can then pile with transactions

To Hideo Kojima, I congratulate you and your team, The Phantom Pain looks like one of the best games I have ever seen. I wish you all the best and look forward to what you can do unshackled by corporate bureaucracy. Guillermo del Toro said in an interview back in July that he was working on a new project with Kojima. I wish them godspeed.

To Konami, The Phantom Pain is your eulogy, It is a testimony to everything you used to stand for before the money started to mean more than the games. I was once a dedicated follower, hell I still play Yu-Gi-Oh on a weekly basis, boot up Silent Hill and still get terrified by the atmosphere created, delve into Castlevania for my sexy vampire fix. However now I only have the words “Fuck Konami”. Fuck your dried out corpse.

Now it’s time for Square Enix to answer for its horrible “Augment your preorder” nonsense for Deux Ex: Mankind Divided.

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