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Straight from the Source: Koji “Iga” Igarashi (Bloodstained)

We sat down with Koji Igarashi at BitSummit Vol. 6 to talk Bloodstained, being independent, and meeting high expectations. The interview was conducted by PushDustinNirbion, and MasterofBear.


-At this point, the Kickstarter campaign finished up around three years ago and a lot of information and footage for Bloodstained has been released. During development, did you encounter any unexpected roadblocks that you wouldn’t have faced if the game was developed traditionally rather than as an indie title?


Koji: A big difference is that at Konami I needed to think about the company. Now I can do what I want and don’t have to get permission. The company did provide a lot of support in different areas though so now that responsibility is on me. Now that I’m independent, I have to think more about management and contracts which are things I didn’t really have to think about at Konami.


-How did you balance the new creative freedom of being independent versus meeting fan’s expectations for what a spiritual successor to Castlevania should be?


Koji: Even though I have a lot more freedom now, it doesn’t change much because I always had to work to meet the high expectations of the fans. This is slightly unrelated, but one of the biggest changes is not having the company as a buffer to back me up when making big decisions. Now it’s just up to me.


– As a fan of Castlevania 3, have you seen the new Castlevania series on Netflix? If so, what did you think?


Koji: I saw it and thought it was really well done. There are some areas that I might have changed if I was the producer, but overall it turned out very well.


– As a creator that was so influential in creating the Metroidvania style side-scrolling adventure genre, how does it feel to come to events like this and seeing the genre flourishing knowing that a lot of it is directly inspired by your work?


Koji: I’m glad there are so many different people deciding to make games in this style. They aren’t exactly the same though and a lot of the content between the games are quite varied. On the other hand, I also have the thought of, “don’t come into my territory,” and the two thoughts conflict, but overall I think it’s a good thing. (laughs)


– How will Bloodstained push the genre even more?


Koji: This is a question I get asked by a lot of people. One of the things we have to do is take things that worked and that people liked in previous games and reuse them along with adding different aspects. It’s not necessarily about going a step further, but making what already exists properly. And to make sure that people enjoy the game and bring them back to what they were familiar with.


– From a story perspective, do you see Bloodstained as the start of a series or is it a standalone title?


Koji: I don’t think there is a developer out there that wants to stop at stand-alone projects. If possible, we would like to continue creating the games and make it a series.


– Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon looks like a fantastic retro title and a great companion to the main game. Did you have a lot of input on the design of this title, or was it largely left to Inti Creates?


Koji: Curse of the Moon was really created because of the Kickstarter, and unlike Ritual of the Night, which is more about exploring, Curse of the Moon is an 8bit 2D linear action game. I left the gameplay for Inti Creates to design as they have all of the skills and technology needed to create it. For the story, I was in charge to give it structure. Originally, it was supposed to take place 10 years before Ritual of the Night but it didn’t mesh so well with the main game so I made the story a little different. So while it’s part of the series, new players can enjoy it as a stand-alone game as well.


– What lessons have you learned from the development of Bloodstained?


Koji: Working within a company like Konami and working outside of a company like that are two very different ways of making a game.


– What do you want fans to know about Bloodstained?


Koji: I’d just like the fans to know that the 2D side-scrolling games like what I worked on before are coming back and I hope you enjoy it just like you did back in the day.