It’s been a while since we heard about Konami. They had a huge booth at the show (and a great one at that, very visible from all corners of the main hall) and it attracted a lot of attention. Too bad they did not have anything too exciting to share for PC Gamers… but this may change very soon.
Konami is a company that is known for many different types of businesses. They have sports-related facilities in Japan for example, and another lively Amusement business (Pachinlo and slot machines) - but if you look at their balance sheet you will see that those are actually revenue generators but have very poor margin overall compared to the video games business. And overall, they are doing very well, despite all the flak that they have received (mostly overseas) about the separation with Kojima.
What games is Konami making, you might ask? After all, it’s been years since any AAA game came from Konami - and you would be right. Konami has shifted (successfully!) to mobile gaming for a while now, and they have been growing agressively on that sector, despite the lack of AAA for traditional consoles or PCs:
- PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL SPIRITS on mobile has been driving revenue growth
- eFootball™ 2023 drives revenue growth as well with 600 million downloads so far
- Card games – 25th anniversary project launched for Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and was apparently a success as well.
This year the line-up was pretty poor at Konami’s booth. If you were a PC or even a console gamer there was nothing remarkable, and that’s why we did not even mention it in our article about the upcoming TGS. Nothing? Well there was Cygni, an upcoming shoot’em up set to release in 2024:
Here’s a short gameplay trailer below to give you an idea what to expect. It’s developed by Keel Works. We did not have time to try it at the show.
That’s the closest to an AAA game that could be seen on Konami’s booth. The rest is mostly titles for Mobile, Nintendo Switch, and Playstation.
However, things may be changing very fast in the coming 2 years as Konami is looking at reviving its former AAA business, with the reboot or reactivation of one of its most exciting franchises.
The Big Silent Hill Reactivation
Konami has mostly stopped making new games internally. After its separation with Kojima, the bulk of the internal development workforce was gone (in quality if not in quantity) and there’s probably no coming back in the near future. However, games being the large bulk of the revenues and profits from the company, they can’t just sit and watch their business erode over the years. They took the strategy to contract external studios to work on their IPs, and Silent Hill is the first one to go in that direction, with a truckload a new games in that franchise, developed in parallel. And it’s not just games, there’s a new Silent Hill movie in the works as well (with Team Silent, the original creators of the game). There are currently 4 games in development in the franchise:
Silent Hill Townfall
Silent Hill: Townfall is an upcoming horror game developed by No Code, and published by Annapurna Interactive and Konami Digital Entertainment. It will feature the creative work of Franck Besancon who is well known for his body horror artworks.
Not much else is known about the game at this stage, and the trailer hardly reveals anything so far. We expect it to be the first game released in the new series.
Silent Hill f
This one is directed or co-developed by Ryukishi07 who did the Higurashi when they cry series. His version of Silent Hill will be set in the Showa period of Japan (roughly the mid-1900s) and it seems that the protagonist will be a young girl.
It certainly looks like it’s going to be fairly gory.
Silent Hill 2 Remake
Made by Bloober Team, the team are behind the Layers of Fear series, this is the big one of the lot. Both Akira Yamaoka (composer of the original soundtrack of Silent Hill and mad guitarist) and Masahiro Ito (art director on Silent Hill 2 at the time) are confirmed to be returning for the Silent Hill 2 remake.
This is a good sign, they will be able to exert some kind of creative control over the final game.
The trailer looks very, very good. There was nothing else to see at the show, so it may be a while before we get to play this game… hopefully in 2024.
What about MGS and Castlevania?
The MGS series is as dead as ever for now. Konami can be seen as milking the cow as they presented the release of the older games in the franchise (as is! no remaster) at the TGS 2023. It looks like it’s the games running with some kind of emulator, if I had to guess. It’s due to release at the end of October on most formats, including Steam.
There’s even a board game (!) but no sign of a serious new take on the series.
But who knows? If the Silent Hill experiment turns out to be successful, it may give them a new pattern on how to successfully reboot such licenses. There’s for sure a lot of smaller studios out there who would be delighted to try their hands on a new Metal Gear Solid game, even with Kojima out of the picture.
For Castlevania, the picture is a little less clear for now. There were the reboots of the franchise by Mercury Steam back in the 2000s, but they did not do fantastically well (to be fair they were not very good either) and the talent that could have powered new ideas and new titles is now gone (IGA has left long ago to create BloodStained on his own). The genre is also very crowded right now, which means a new 2D or 3D Castlevania game would face fierce competition even with a well known history.
Konami had a weak show. But its next show is probably going to be as exciting as it used to be about 10 years ago when Kojima was around with the big Silent Hill reactivation. It’s been a long time that I have not looked with hope at Konami. Let’s cross fingers that they don’t miss that wave of experimentation and continue onto greater things afterwards. It would be a shame to sit on such great franchises and do nothing of value with it.