“It was painful.”
In an interview with EuroGamer, Castlevania executive producer Dave Cox gave a frank and honest answer as to why he left Konami to work with MercurySteam after the relatively poor reception of the recent Castlevania games.
“Konami decided… let’s just say it wanted to go in a different direction in terms of development. It’s one of the reasons why the studio I was heading up closed down. They wanted to move more into mobile. They wanted to do more development in Japan. At that time it was simpler to make a clean break, for me personally and for the studio.
“I don’t think Konami knew at that time what they wanted to do or where they wanted to go. They still obviously had Metal Gear in development. They still had PES in development. But there wasn’t a vision at the top of the company about where they wanted to go or what they wanted to do,” he said.
He added: “It was painful for me from a personal point of view, because it was clear there wasn’t a role there for me any more. So I decided after talking to the senior management there that it would be better if I moved on, which was very difficult for me after being there for 17 years and achieving so much. I started off as a lowly assistant product manager, and ended up producing a successful Castlevania series. So that was very difficult.”
These comments paint a picture quite similar to the situation Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima found himself in last year. Kojima has also since left Konami and is now working with Sony. Cox went on to reveal that there were plans for Konami and MercurySteam to create a new Contra game together, but it didn’t work out.
“We talked to MercurySteam about that, and we did have early discussions about Contra. But it just wasn’t to be. The planets weren’t aligned, essentially.
That was, essentially, it. But also the guys at MercurySteam didn’t want to move on with that relationship as well. So it was mutually agreed that we wouldn’t move forward with it. We had discussions about it, absolutely. And there were concepts, and a basic idea was drawn up. But that’s as far as it got, sadly.”
It seems Konami has made the decision to focus more on mobile gaming and Pachinko machines for the most part. However, the Pro Evolution Soccer series still seems to be going strong and work is currently being done on a new Metal Gear game called Metal Gear Survive.