Konami, the company behind such games as Metal Gear Solid and Silent Hill, has announced it has launched a new third-party publishing unit in the West and that its first game, Skelattack, is available now.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz,
Konami's senior brand and business development manager Richard Jones discussed how this new initiative will focus on external studios that will build games designed to succeed in western markets.
"The drive is towards publishing more titles from Western studios," Jones said. "So the focus for the European team is domestic audiences. Obviously everyone knows Konami, we have studios and teams in Japan, we have many well-known, well loved IPs. They're all being managed and looked after by our studios in Japan, and what we're looking for is complementary titles, to build the portfolio with things that perhaps [are] new to Konami -- Western titles for Western audiences."
Even though Konami hasn't been focusing on some of its most beloved franchises, save for such titles as Metal Gear Survive
and the Contra
and Castlevania Anniversary Collections,
its mobile games, PES' online mode, and esports have led to years of consecutive profit growth.
These new games, however, will find their way to PC and consoles. Skelattack, while not a huge AAA game, is only one part of the initiative that will also see much larger projects.
"I guess the reason we're talking about smaller titles is because the first title we announced is Skelattack, which is obviously an indie title," Jones says. "I think one of the reasons we're looking to those types of smaller teams is just that there's so much creativity out there with those guys -- you know, teams working on small but ambitious titles. Those guys are the ones daring to do innovative games, and I think that's something very exciting, which we wanted to support as a publisher."
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Skelattack has players taking on the role of a villain who has to defend their land from "the invading human threat," and is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC. The developer behind Skelattack, Ukuza, is one of many that Jones hopes to build a long term partnership with.
"We're in for the long haul," Jones says. "We're only now just going public with this, with the release of Skelattack, [but] I'm sure you can imagine that this has been planned for months. So, right now, we're looking at short and mid-term titles that need funding and publishing support to realise their potential. I think long-term, from my perspective, it's about forming creative partnerships with studios. It's about bringing original projects to fruition. This is something that we're keen to invest in and are willing to put time and resources into."
Jones stated that the team's focus will initially be on studios in Europe, as the team is smaller and it "makes sense if we're working in similar time zones." This strategy doesn't mean other markets will be ignored, just that Europe will presently be the primary focus.
"Our hope is that these things which we can offer might be a good option or a good fit for certain development partners. From the beginning of this process, we've been clear with ourselves that we want to put the developers first. Developers generally want to focus on development. The commercial side is not something which all studios want or need to have in-house. And I think that's where perhaps the more traditional publisher/developer relationship could work, because we can bring our expertise to those guys and allow them to do what they're best at, which is making games."
For more on Konami, be sure to check out our review of Konami's TurboGrafx-16
and the denied rumors that Silent Hill may be making a return in the near future
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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.