Konami has announced the formation of a new publishing branch which will focus more on third-party, Western developed titles.
“The drive is towards publishing more titles from Western studios,” says Richard Jones, senior European brand and business development manager at Konami, in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz. “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.”
This new initiative somewhat quietly started recently with the release of Skelattack: a retro platformer published by Konami. While Skelattack is essentially an indie title in terms of scope and funding, Konami suggests that this new publishing program will not be limited to smaller games.
“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,” says Jones. “[But] I think the criteria we’re looking for really is similar across all-new IP regardless of size. Maybe some of those criteria become amplified with the smaller projects. I’m thinking specifically of people coming with fresh ideas, and teams that are pushing existing genres in new ways, or coming up with something genuinely unique. There’s just so much going on in this flourishing indie scene at the moment that I think it’s only natural that we’re looking at small teams and small titles, as well as other titles.”
Jones also notes that Konami is “in for the long haul” in terms of continuing to try to bring Western IPs to the market via this new publishing initiative.
On the one hand, this is hardly a complicated business decision. Many Japanese studios of Konami’s size have been expanding their reach in the West in recent years by publishing more Western games and expanding further into the PC market. Konami obviously sees an opportunity here.
On the other hand, It’s kind of a big deal whenever Konami announces their doing anything related to releasing video games. The studio has been slow to release major titles since around the time of Hideo Kojima’s departure from the company. While this new program theoretically has no bearing on the company’s desire to release new games in some of their most notable franchises, it does indicate that Konami could become more aggressive in terms of publishing more games in general.