A Look at Konami's Baffling Game Awards Behavior

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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A Look at Konami's Baffling Game Awards Behavior

It may have been perhaps the lowest blow seen in the Video Game Awards, but word from Video Game Awards host Geoff Keighley is that Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima was required by Konami to not only not accept any awards for "Metal Gear Solid 5", but also to not attend the awards show at all.

Keighley managed to point this out during the event, noting that Kojima had planned to attend, but was instructed not to by a lawyer representing Konami. Keighley noted that Kojima was still under an employment contract, and though this was "disappointing," it was what it was. Keighley then directed those watching his presentation of the Video Game Awards to instead send love via Twitter, which by some reports, was done in large numbers. Fans also, according to video of the event, roundly booed Konami for this move, as Keifer Sutherland accepted instead, doing so "on Kojima's behalf."

A tweet from Konami congratulating Kojima, meanwhile, turned into a river of flame directed at Konami itself. User Sarfaraz noted "Want to thank him? Put his name back on the damn box!" Justin Winmann S tweeted "NO one likes you anymore, konami. :(" and that was only the start of responses. 

The actual motivations behind this may never be known in the end, but either way, this was a move that could not have ended well. First, how exactly Konami forbids someone from attending an event on his own behalf--if not necessarily on Konami's--is preposterous by any measure. What kind of employment contract forbids event attendance? Even if it was contractually possible, it looks absolutely terrible in the court of public opinion. The river of flame on Konami's Twitter feed bears that much out, so the inevitable followup is, what was Konami so afraid of? What could have been so bad for Kojima to attend and accept an award that Konami was willing to engage in this kind of behavior to prevent? It had to know this wasn't going to be well-received with the gaming public, so what could possibly have made this look like the BEST of a bad situation?

Clearly Konami would not have voluntarily decided to keep Kojima out of the presentations for the sake of sheer caprice. Not with the kind of reaction it had and Konami must have known would follow. So why block Kojima from a major award show?

We don't know, and we might well never know. Even several days later, I've spotted no update by way of explanation. When this is combined with earlier news about Konami's fortunes as a game studio in general, the picture looks increasingly disastrous for Konami. It's taken one of the biggest names in the industry and turned him into what amounts to the Man in the Iron Mask for one of gaming's biggest awards shows, canceled several promising projects, and in general done a whole lot to antagonize the community. It's nothing less than baffling, watching what's going on here, and possible explanations don't come to mind.

In the end, this is likely to hurt an already badly-hurt Konami, at a time when it most needs the support of the gaming community. Konami, I don't even understand why you pulled a ridiculous stunt like this. This kind of heavy-handed contract enforcement is baffling, and frankly, I'd love nothing more than for you to offer some kind of explanation, because I've been clutching my head and muttering "Why?" for the last few days now.

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