Famed music producer and composer of several Konami games,which includes Metal Gear Solid 1-3, responded to the news from the French website Gameblog regarding the alleged confirmation of Konami ceasing all AAA console game production. It rose a few questions among gamers if she was quoting a directive that was told to a select few or if it was based of her long history and knowledge of the industry.
We caught up with Muranaka at Touhoucon held in Anaheim , California and asked if she could clarify.
Ayala: You sent out a tweet this morning saying that you were sad about things in general and how you were going to have to find a AAA game company to write music for. I was wondering if that was a confirmation of the rumors that have been going around about Konami shutting down AAA game development or is it just a reaction to the news that everyone has been hearing.
Muranaka: It's news, but I know that Konami is no longer making AAA video games. They’re going to empathize online mobile games
Ayala: You know for a fact the Konami is moving away from AAA game development?
" I can’t say it’s definite ,but I just know when you start thinking about a business, profit wise, and the times [have] changed; when we started doing Metal Gear Solid 20 years ago times were different."
Muranaka: I believe so, that’s what they were stating too
Ayala: Just to confirm, are you basing this off of what Konami has announced publicly and your years of experience or does this information come from someone higher up in Konami? A, “Yes, we’re definitely moving away, no more AAA game development "
Muranaka: I can’t say it’s definite ,but I just know when you start thinking about a business, profit wise, and the times [have] changed; when we started doing Metal Gear Solid 20 years ago times were different. There was no PlayStation, the first game. The first one sold 7 million, now I don’t know if we could sell 7 million. So when you start thinking, we only had 20 people [for Metal Gear Solid] … [Hideo Kojima ] had 300 people, 80 million dollars [for Metal Gear Solid V]. Opposing to the first one. We didn’t have 80 million dollars. So when you start thinking profit, they’re running a business. So I’m just assuming, you know, that they have to run a business.
Ayala: It sounds a lot like your tweet was based on a reaction to the business practices, seeing from experience where things are going noticing...
"...that’s a billion dollar game company,a huge company, they have to support all those employees. Business sense, they have to support all the employees. "
Muranaka: Times change. It’s just videogames change. Steam games, doujin community, Touhou games. Everything changed. Before, we didn’t have mobile games you know? We didn’t have online games like that so everything was about consoles. First it was Sega, before it was Panasonic, it was about making the console and then it switch to software. Now, rapidly, not even in the past 10 years, independent companies making more money in online games and mobile games. It’s a lot easier, a lot faster, less money, and they’re making more profit. So how are you going to compete with that? So you got videogame companies like Konami, that’s a billion dollar game company,a huge company, they have to support all those employees. Business sense, they have to support all the employees. They didn’t want to make that choice, but they have to because the profit. They want an IPO, they got to please stock holders. They have board executives, they have hedge fund people and whoever wants to invest.They need to make a profit. It’s sad, they can’t make the profit and the creativity. If you want to be creative you go to do your own. That’s what I’m doing right now. I’m putting my own money, I’m making my own videogames, I’m making my music, TV shows, radio programs.
"He wants to make a creative, best game, but his best game costs money because he’s like a maniac, he’s a perfectionist, so it’s going take forever! "
I’m doing my own. I don’t have 100 or 200 people. Konami has 6 or 7 thousand people, I don’t have that. Just me and a few other people who are developing. So when you don’t have overhead, you can be creative. Hideo had 300 people he had to support. How are you going to make the right decision [in creativity]? He wants to be creative, but the business, producers, the company say, “Hey you need to make a profit.” So that’s where he’s in between. He wants to make a creative, best game, but his best game costs money because he’s like a maniac, he’s a perfectionist, so it’s going take forever! Who knows, if he didn’t stop [developing Metal Gear Solid V], he would have gone another 3 years. It would have taken 10 years to make Metal Gear Solid V. That’s just how he is. When I was working with him, he said 2 years. It took 5 years. That’s just how he is. When you start having a person like that, he doesn’t care about the profit.
He [Hideo] just wants to create. He’s a creator. He’s an artist. So you got to stop him, someone in business has to go, “Hey, stop it Hideo, we need to make a profit, we need to release it so we make a profit.” That’s just how it goes. It’s just sad because not a lot of people can afford him. That’s just how it goes in the business world. And times changed. So you got to move on. Little kids, the kids making the mobile games, that didn’t cost a whole lot of money and they’re making more money. Unfortunately. It’s a stupid thing like in YouTube. You got the stupid things like Jackass, billion hits. My fans are getting more hits than me. I post it, I’m only getting 7, 8 thousand hits. When my fans post it they’re getting 4.5 million. C’mon. It doesn’t make sense. This world doesn’t make sense. I’ve talked to a lot of people in videogame companies and they say, “No matter what…you can’t compete with the kids.” Because they’re going to talk about to their friends about it. A high school kid made a software, a mobile app, and he told all his friend about it and they all start playing and all of a sudden it’s a hit. And he didn’t even advertised. It’s just an idea now. So if you can get 2 or 3 million hits on YouTube, you got a hit. Times changed
Ayala: Definitely, everyone has to evolve and change with where things are going.
"I’m just sad because I want to continue to make videogame music for Konami. They told me they don’t have the budget for me"
Muranaka: I’m just sad because I want to continue to make videogame music for Konami. They told me they don’t have the budget for me. They can’t afford to hire me. Now, I don’t know where to go to find another videogame [company] who can give me the budget that I need. I’m like Hideo, I need to have the money to produce music. I don’t like to do samples, I need real musicians, an orchestra. I need a certain engineer, I need a certain microphone, I need certain studio, I need real musicians. That all adds up. The same way Hideo too. “Oh I need this graphic, I need this machine, I need to create an engine.” When you start creating your own engine… c’mon.