According to a report in the Nikkei Asian Review, Konami is apparently blacklisting all ex-employees across the Japanese games industry. The emphasis is being placed even more so on those that went to Hideo Kojima’s studio, Kojima Productions.
In the report, the outlet spoke to ex-Kon’s which is apparently the name giving to ex-Konami employees with one reporting he was surprised at learning that Konami had instructed an employee at a television company not to deal with its former employees. In another case, a former Konami executive was apparently forced to close his own business due to pressure from Konami.
A former employee also detailed how they aren’t allowed to put Konami experience on their public Résumé or CV.
If you leave the company, you cannot rely on Konami’s name to land a job.
If an ex-employee is interviewed by the media, the company will send that person a letter through a legal representative, in some cases indicating that Konami is willing to take them to court. This was the case faced by Kojima himself when Konami prevented him from initially receiving his award at The Video Game Awards 2015. He did get his award although had to wait a year before getting it.
The news of Konami blocking Kojima from receiving his reward didn’t go down well when the news came through. Jump to the 1 hour 40 minutes and 41 second mark in the video below to see events unfold.
While some high profile developers have left Konami to do their own thing, some aren’t as lucky according to the report. A staffing agency told Nikkei Asian Review that they notify games companies if a prospective hire is from Konami. That is apparently due to the fact Konami files complains to companies who take on their ex-employees.
One developer even took a job in construction after leaving Konami before they applied for another game development position in the hopes of throwing people off the scent that they had been at Konami.
As for Kojima Production, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for them either, apparently when an executive for the studio applied for the company to join ITS Kenpo, a health insurance society for game developers, the application was denied. This was apparently because the chairman of the board who must approve all applications is also a director at Konami, Kimihiko Higashio. This means that if the accusations are accurate, Konami is putting the health and well being of non-employees at risk by refusing health insurance.
Why Konami has such influence in the games industry in Japan isn’t clear.