Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night is a throwback to Castlevania games like Symphony of the Night. Judging from our hands-on time with it at E3, it’s shaping up into a pretty fun game. I had a chance to talk to Koji Igarashi, Castlevania’s producer and now head of Bloodstained’s development to talk design, female protagonists, and wine.
On leaving Konami and adjusting to the pressure of Kickstarter:
Koji Igarashi, Bloodstained producer: With Castlevania, I’d been working on a long-running franchise where fans knew more about the games than I did. With Bloodstained, the pressure that we feel isn’t much different. There’s still hardcore fans who know more that we do. That’s a good kind of pressure, not bad, and something that we always feel and have gotten used to.
One thing that was challenging was creating material to show to backers for a new title. What we’re used to, especially in the Japanese industry, is sharing promotional material around three months before the release date to create hype. There isn’t always much hype after that. It can feel like you’ll run out of material to show people, and that’s been a challenge with Bloodstained.
On differentiating Bloodstained from his work on Castlevania:
Igarashi: Well, the core concept of Bloodstained is having that same gameplay experience as games from the past. The story and the characters and plot are quite different, but what we really did want to capture was having the same experience from the past and being able to play it now.
On Yoko Taro’s comments about wanting “less competition” from developers:
Igarashi: I feel the opposite and want more people to make games. I want more and more games and to keep working. I want to go back to the time of the SNES, when so many developers were creating new types of games.
I really loved the chaotic feeling during that time when everyone was creating games. Right now there’s a lot of AAA titles, but it seems like the indie games are where the passion is, and I’d like to see more of that.
On creating a strong, female protagonist for Bloodstained:
Igarashi: It actually happened accidentally when we were planning the Kickstarter. We started with a male character at first, and as we thought about how to have a successful project and what was going on in the games industry, someone said, “Let’s make it a female lead. That would be a good start,” and then we thought of ways to rework it. It didn’t change too much, but that is how it started. We didn’t plan it, but it was a very happy accident.
On monster design and fighting creatures of the night:
Igarashi: I don’t want to face any of the monsters.
Heather Alexandra, Kotaku: You don’t think that you could beat up Death?
Igarashi: No way! I don’t even want to fight against monsters that I program in games.
On his wine preferences:
Igarashi: This is a bit of a secret, but everyone’s been misunderstanding me because I like white wine more than red wine. Every time I’m around fans and people who know about my projects, they always serve red wine!
On recreating older game genres for a modern audience:
Igarashi: This kind of genre, this old style of game, is fun even when you play it today, and I really hope that not just old fans but newcomers feel that this is a fun game even without knowing the genre. It’s still fun, even today.