Konami is rumored to be bringing back some of its most classic—and long dormant—series, including Metal Gear and Silent Hill, with multiple new titles set to be revealed in 2022.
The embattled Japanese publisher and developer has been largely inactive since pivoting to focus on mobile games in 2015. But as reported by VGC, it allegedly has several large-scale projects currently in production. Anonymous sources told the news site that a “reimagining” of Castlevania is being made internally in Japan with help from “local external studios,” while outside developers are working on new entries for Metal Gear and Silent Hill.
Could it be true?
Beyond Konami proper, the Metal Gear project is alleged to be a remake of 2004’s Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, headed up by the Singapore-based outfit Virtuos. The auxiliary studio has recently worked on the Switch ports of Dark Souls Remastered and The Outer Worlds, and it otherwise offered development support in various capacities on hit series like Uncharted, Call of Duty, and Battlefield. (Last November, rumors began circulating that it was actually Bluepoint Games that was working on a remake of 1998’s Metal Gear Solid, which continued until the studio confirmed this week its next project will be an original game.)
Remastered editions of classic Metal Gear Solid titles for modern consoles are also being planned, VGC was told.
As for Silent Hill, the outlet’s sources said that multiple games are in the works externally, with one of them outsourced to a “prominent Japanese developer.” If true, this seemingly verifies the smoke from fires lit by multiple industry leakers over the last year claiming that Konami’s beloved horror series was being primed to return.
The publisher also revealed in a June statement that it had entered into a strategic partnership with The Medium developer Bloober Team (a game with a soundtrack co-written by Silent Hill veteran Akira Yamaoka), though thus far no games have been officially announced from this alliance. The series has not had a mainline entry since 2012’s Silent Hill Downpour, which had been outsourced to a western studio and was poorly received.
A tarnished legacy
The recent whispers about Silent Hill have been a particular sticking point for fans. Konami’s perceived ambivalence for its own games—with a track record of inactivity and lackluster releases that goes back years—has left its reputation in ruins. And really, the company’s trajectory over the past six years has arguably been one of the wilder falls from grace in modern video game history.
The inflection point happened in 2015. In the wake of a bitter falling out with Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima, Konami removed the director’s name from the soon-to-be-released Metal Gear Solid V and cancelled his in-development Silent Hills revival. After several botched attempts by western studios, Kojima’s name lent weight to the notion of rescuing Silent Hill from its limbo state—and players were especially taken after P.T., a terrifying proof-of-concept teaser he had developed for PS4, released as a free download on the PlayStation Network in August 2014.
Shortly after it confirmed Silent Hills had been cancelled in April 2015, Konami also removed P.T. from PSN. The demo has since taken on almost mythic status as a piece of video game history, confined to PS4 consoles with it already on their hard drives. The move sent prices for the consoles with the demo installed skyrocketing on ebay and even led hobbyists to resurrect it in other forms.
In May, more bad news hit that Konami was winding down major game development in favor of mobile titles as part of a corporate restructuring, information that the publisher itself then pushed back on in an open letter to Ars Technica.
The following year saw a resuscitation of sorts for Metal Gear, but not in a form that anyone asked for. Instead, it released a trailer with lavish, remade scenes from Metal Gear Solid 3—which was being repurposed as a pachinko gambling machine. (Pachinko and health clubs are among the more diverse business elements of the company’s multi-pronged business overseas.)
A month later came an announcement for a “sequel” to Kojima’s critically-acclaimed MGSV, except it was multiplayer-focused, took place in a non-canonical alternate dimension timeline, and featured melee combat against hordes of crystalline zombies. Fans were not pleased with these developments.
Over the summer, the publisher announced it would skip E3 2021, citing a number of projects in active development that weren’t ready to be shown. Should VGC’s report prove accurate, Konami plans to reveal its rumored roster at major industry events next year, barring COVID-related complications.
If any of these rumblings bear fruit, they could mark the beginning of a huge comeback for Konami. It feels entirely possible that someone over there has been closely watching the recent rise of Capcom—which has had hit after hit since it rebooted Resident Evil in 2017 with Resident Evil 7, a game that seemingly changed the company’s then-flagging fortunes—and hopes to learn from it.