When Konami announced Metal Gear Survive, many were surprised. Somewhat, perhaps, given of a concept, that brought movement and zombies to a array famous for secrecy and politics. But also given a destiny of a array had been unclear.
Following a open split between Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima and publisher Konami, as good as Konami restructuring a association and Kojima holding some of his staff with him to a new studio, it was tough to tell either there was many of a Metal Gear organisation left.
For certain fans, a initial doubt was, “Who’s creation this?”
A year and a half later, it’s a doubt many still have difficulty answering. While Konami has supposing a few elementary sum on a team, it’s mostly kept a staff out of a open eye, selecting to concentration on a diversion itself.
The association has set adult really few interviews to foster a game. It’s left staff credits out of trailers. It’s renamed a organisation internally to sound like partial of an open line — Production Studio 8 — and outwardly to go by a same name as a rest of a company: Konami Digital Entertainment. Even a press recover announcing a diversion featured a quote from a boss of Konami’s European multiplication rather than a member of a growth team.
The story everybody tells about Metal Gear Survive is that it’s a initial Metal Gear diversion following Hideo Kojima’s departure, nonetheless we haven’t listened many about a other side of that equation: a organisation that’s taken his place.
And now that a game’s out, we have a list of staff credits. So we dug by them to see what we could learn.
Before we get to a credits and what they show, it’s critical to demeanour during a context surrounding them.
Part of a reason Konami’s miss of graduation of a Survive organisation stands out, after all, is given a before reside is maybe a singular many manifest growth luminary in a diversion industry, and has spent utterly a bit of time compelling himself, his games and his organisation Kojima Productions (both in a bizarre incarnation as an inner Konami studio and in a stream incarnation as an eccentric studio).
Hideo Kojima is a singular diversion developer who can post a print of his lunch and beget some-more trade than many Twitter users see in their lifetime. And while he was during Konami, that celebrity went palm in palm with a energy he held. Kojima’s Metal Gear games came with a personal reason and outlook that’s singular in a universe of games finished by hundreds of people. So when he left Konami, a impact landed harder than a singular developer withdrawal competence have elsewhere.
In many other situations, players wouldn’t have blinked during a publisher stability a array after a creator or studio changed on. When Jason Jones and Bungie left Microsoft, Halo kept going. Fans competence not have been furious about a changes, nonetheless they didn’t doubt their existence to a grade that they have with Metal Gear. For a lot of fans, Kojima’s impress was so closely connected to Metal Gear that it felt bizarre to see Konami stability a array nonetheless him.
All of this has put Konami in a singular situation, where there’s a notice that a association is starting over with Metal Gear, even nonetheless — as it turns out — a poignant apportionment of a organisation consists of Metal Gear veterans. It’s usually not all veterans who used to reason a same roles that they do now.
Ryan Payton has been examination this exhibit from a sidelines, with a story that has let him see this arrange of conditions from both sides. He worked with Kojima as as a author on Metal Gear Solid 4, and afterwards was partial of a initial organisation that Microsoft hired to take over Halo after Bungie changed on. He says that what he schooled from that knowledge is that it’s improved to travel before we run, observant that he would have favourite to see a rebuilt organisation during Konami start with a smaller plan like a director’s cut chronicle of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain (as he calls it, a “Substance or Subsistence” version), given a bizarre Phantom Pain finished adult shipping in an deficient state.
But, he says, “I can know a ambition. It brings me behind to my early days on a Halo 4 plan — we were a new organisation with something to prove, and in retrospect, competence have benefited from remaking a initial Halo diversion before holding on such a large try as a supplement to Halo: Reach.”
We don’t know given Konami has selected to downplay a staff this time around. Konami didn’t respond to Polygon’s ask to criticism for this story in time for publication, so we can usually speculate.
Strategically, it could be to keep a messaging on a diversion itself rather than lay by talk after talk of questions about Kojima. It could be that a association sees some-more value in other forms of promotion, or that a organisation doesn’t wish a attention. It could be a hesitance on Konami’s partial toward lifting a form of a other developers and saying them benefit a same arrange of prominence Kojima had.
Another intensity cause in all this is Konami’s 2015 reorganization. Around a same time that reports flush about Kojima leaving, Konami restructured a staff into what it called a “headquarters-controlled” and “centralized prolongation division” setup. As partial of this, we know that Konami took government power divided from artistic leaders and internally renamed a Metal Gear organisation “Production Studio 8.” One of a reasons behind doing so was to give Konami a ability to change around a resources some-more easily, relocating staff between projects as indispensable rather than carrying clearly designated silos. All these ideas seem to play into a thought of holding a concentration off of particular developers and teams and putting all underneath a broader Konami umbrella, nonetheless we don’t know to what grade this competence have influenced Survive’s organisation (and a credits).
Ben Judd is a partner during diversion talent group DDM, and says he’s listened that Konami has shifted from one standard selling tactic that studios mostly use to foster their games — utterly in Japan — that is to settle a rarely manifest orator who can seem in photoshoots, on livestreams and during open events, radically apropos an hostess and giving players a face to associate with a product.
“Hideo Kojima leaving, or being finished to leave Konami, kind of signaled […] Konami had finished a preference that a whole ’90s/2000s rockstar face-of-the-game chairman was no longer necessary,” says Judd. “Because they had already left so distant down a mobile income hole, and they had taken their business and they had diversified into sports clubs and [other businesses] to a indicate that they were usually like, ‘We don’t need it. Having a Hideo Kojima indeed is some-more dangerous than it is an advantage, given he’s gonna come behind and wish some-more income and design to do all these things, and we have to put so many income in PR and all these additional things you’re gonna do, when we don’t need that for a mobile game. It’s wasted.’”
So, what can we learn about Survive’s growth from a credits? Looking over a list, we came adult with a handful of specific and extended observations.
To be clear, this is an inherently injured exercise. Credits are mostly formidable and inconsistent, generally on games finished by hundreds of people. People leave games midproject, run into disputes with management, determine to work that goes uncredited and remonstrate on their placement. “I still have nightmares about [the Metal Gear Solid 4] credits,” says Payton, referring to a plea in representing everybody accurately.
But Survive’s credits offer a best demeanour to date during Konami’s team, so we pacifist in meaningful we’d need to sojourn discreet with any assumptions.
At initial glance, a lot of a names seem informed — or during slightest informed to someone who’s been staring during The Phantom Pain’s credits for a week. Both internally during Konami and around outsourcing partners, it’s transparent that this organisation defended utterly a few people — nonetheless in a lot of cases they have opposite titles. Almost all a care roles have incited over, for instance, with a organisation member reduce on a food sequence from The Phantom Pain replacing a organisation member who left.
One bauble that shows adult nearby a tip of a list is that Kiefer Sutherland is listed as doing facial constraint for a game. While Sutherland uttered and did facial constraint for The Phantom Pain, it would be bizarre if he had worked on Survive and Konami had selected not to use him in compelling a game. It seems expected that this credit covers a brief flashback theatre during a commencement of a game, reusing work finished for The Phantom Pain, rather than new work finished for Survive.
If that’s a case, it competence make Konami’s crediting routine formidable to interpret opposite a board, as Survive reuses large tools of The Phantom Pain. It’s tough to know where Konami would have drawn a line.
Another high-profile name that pops adult in a facial constraint territory is Yuri Lowenthal, famous for hundreds of voice behaving roles, maybe many particularly a king in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Like Sutherland, he also has a facial constraint credit in The Phantom Pain, so again it creates us doubtful that he did new work for Survive.
A repute for Sutherland tells Polygon they aren’t means to yield some-more information. Lowenthal tells Polygon that he doesn’t remember doing any work on Survive, nonetheless that he infrequently works on games underneath formula names, so it’s probable something slipped by nonetheless him realizing it.
Scroll by a expel list and a game’s initial growth credit goes to Yota Tsutsumizaki. If a credits paint an accurate picture, he’s a closest figure Survive has to someone replacing Kojima (though clearly nonetheless a same level of managerial control). He not usually tops a altogether list and gets a executive credit, nonetheless appears in mixed places around a list, from being a contributing author to operative on user interface text. In The Phantom Pain’s credits, Kojima appears 14 times. In Survive’s, Tsutsumizaki appears 10 times.
According to credits from before games, Tsutsumizaki assimilated a organisation on Metal Gear Solid 3, starting as a scripter and operative his approach adult to lead planner for The Phantom Pain. He seemed in The Phantom Pain’s credits 4 times. As distant as we can tell, he hasn’t finished any English interviews nonetheless in his career, and we weren’t means to find anyone who could pronounce to operative with him for this story.
Other determined names that cocktail adult on a growth organisation list embody author Gun Snark, who worked on a manga Attack on Titan: No Regrets; and creature engineer Masahiro Ito, famous for operative a accumulation of roles on a Silent Hill array — and for conceptualizing a iconic knave Pyramid Head.
Perhaps a name many obvious to Metal Gear fans, though, doesn’t seem until a really bottom of a credits: a game’s producer, Yuji Korekado. Prior to Survive’s release, he was a one organisation member whom Konami spasmodic put brazen to pronounce publicly about a game, appearing on theatre during a 2016 Tokyo Game Show and doing a handful of media interviews. He even seemed in a commentary video Konami released.
Korekado has been with a array given a bizarre Metal Gear Solid was expelled in 1998. He started as a programmer, operative his approach adult over a march of any diversion and portion as lead programmer on Metal Gear Solid 4. Around that time, he started branching out and holding on additional responsibilities. As partial of a documentary expelled alongside Metal Gear Solid 4, he seemed as a singular staffer severe Kojima, removing into an evidence about either to stabilise a build of a diversion and get absolved of bugs contra tweaking a diversion to urge it. As a programmer, Korekado adored stabilizing it, nonetheless Kojima overruled him.
Following his work on Metal Gear Solid 4, Korekado took over as a author for a movement spinoff Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance — that put him in a open eye around dozens of interviews compelling a game, and gave him some-more artistic input.
“That was a large warn for me,” says Payton. “I remember thinking, ‘Wow, he’s going for it.’ Based on my experience, it’s surprising for Japanese staff to make that arrange of leap.”
Payton also says that one of a things that tender him about Korekado while operative on Metal Gear Solid 4 was Korekado’s zeal to investigate Western games, given one of a team’s goals was to make a diversion interest some-more to players outward of Japan.
“I will never forget a time he invited me and some other organisation members to go out late during night to play Counter-Strike during a pointless PC cafe,” Payton says. “I had to cancel given of jet loiter from a new outing and still bewail not joining. That said, we was happy that he and his organisation were creation a bid to play non-Japanese games given how critical Western sales were for Metal Gear Solid 4. we clearly remember angry about how many of a staffers would line adult adult early in a morning to buy Dragon Quest re-releases on Nintendo DS nonetheless wouldn’t compensate many courtesy to a games we was bringing into a office, like Halo 3, BioShock, Gears of War and Assassin’s Creed. we was on a goal to assistance teach some of a organisation members, nonetheless we never disturbed about Korekado.”
Numbers to take with a difficult sip of salt
For a final partial of a analysis, we changed over people and into sum data. We built a spreadsheet to review a teams behind Survive and The Phantom Pain, looking to see what staff numbers could reveal.
We started with elementary totals — a array of people credited on The Phantom Pain (794) contra a array on Survive (451). For this, we enclosed everybody on any list, from a growth staff to outsourcing partners to Konami’s informal offices, and in any box a growth organisation seems to comment for reduction than one-third of a sum number. The inconsistency between games creates sense, deliberation that The Phantom Pain was an impracticable AAA recover while Survive is a bill pretension that reuses a lot of a same record and content.
Next, we attempted to make a numbers down to a staff that worked during Kojima Productions on The Phantom Pain, and see what fragment of them returned for Survive. Leading adult to Survive’s release, utterly a few fans asked how many of a former Kojima Productions staff remained during Konami following Kojima’s departure. This valid generally formidable to answer, as The Phantom Pain’s credits — in many cases — do not privately list either a chairman worked for Kojima Productions. We did credentials checks on everybody we were means to and finished adult with too many gaps to be means to quietly post specific altogether numbers, nonetheless a best estimation formed on a information we have is that roughly one-fourth returned to work on Survive.
Again, it’s critical to put that array in context. Just given approximately one-fourth of a organisation appears in Survive’s credits doesn’t meant that that’s a array that stayed during Konami, or that a rest went to a new Kojima Productions. Some competence have shuffled around within Konami, and others competence have changed to other companies. Also, staff competence have left midproject, creation things some-more complicated.
Finally, we sorted a numbers in reverse, identifying a people in Survive’s credits who reason roles on a core growth team, and saying what fragment of them returned from The Phantom Pain. This way, we wouldn’t cause in a scale of a projects, and could simply demeanour during a commission of people who worked on Survive who had stranded around.
Similar to a before tally, this sum came in with a few too many anomalies to post accurate sum numbers, nonetheless a severe count suggests that approximately two-thirds of a growth organisation on Survive had formerly worked on The Phantom Pain.
Hitting a ceiling
At a certain indicate when essay a story about a credits list, we strike a ceiling. There’s usually so distant we can take this arrange of conjecture nonetheless meaningful what’s function inside a company, and Konami is some-more sly than most.
We know there are utterly a few Metal Gear veterans still during Konami, nonetheless generally they’re people who weren’t in care roles before to Survive. And we know a organisation didn’t make Survive from scratch, instead reusing a lot of a art and record from The Phantom Pain. This is positively a cheaper approach to make a Metal Gear game, and it comes with a cheaper sell cost to match.
But we don’t know a lot about many of a specific people, a value they bring, either they’re in an sourroundings where they can do high-quality work or either they’ll hang together for a subsequent game. Are these people fervent immature staff who saw an event to take control over a series, or are they leftover folks who didn’t get picked for Kojima’s new studio? As with many things, a answer substantially isn’t clear-cut.
Survive’s credits competence offer a spirit of an bargain in all this, nonetheless for now it seems that a spirit is all we’ll get.
Additional research: Blake Hester